Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Review: Caffe Concerto - Grand Central


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
The trains are almost incidental at New Street station with glamorous shopping & dining hub Grand Central Birmingham above it, it is all about the food there these days!  Or at least that is the way I see it.  With eateries galore, chowing down before you board is now very much part of the journey process and you no longer have to make do with stale pasties and tepid coffee en route to the platform, the choice now is vast.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


One example of which, holding court on the top tier of Grand Central is Caffe Concerto.   An open air, glass fronted eatery, where you can pop in to buy a take-away cake or take your time over a full sit-down afternoon tea.  Mother and I did the latter.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

They are keen to demonstrate the vegetarian element of their afternoon tea range and I too was eager to see what that entailed.    
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

They have a number of standard sandwich fillings as part of the range, but being fussy and wanting to ascertain their flexibility, I made some suggestions of what I’d like at the time of my advance booking. 
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Arriving a fraction early, we waiting for our tea to be assembled, indulging in a bit of people watching from up above over a glass of Prosecco whilst also being nosey as to what other patrons were consuming on their tables.

Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
When our pretty pink vintage-style cake stand arrived, giving it a good look up and down, it was triple tiered with sandwiches, scones and then cakes/tartlets at the top.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

I was really pleased to see that my sandwich suggestions had been taken into consideration and also my specification of no butter on the bread had also been honoured, so thumbs up straightaway for that.  The fillings of Goat’s Cheese & Onion Chutney, Avocado & Cheese, Cheese & Tomato Chutney and Houmous & Red Pepper were all very delicious and were a good variety within, albeit there was still a bit of cheese fest, it was still a welcomed change from plain old cheese or egg which I find extremely predictable.   
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

The scones were warm and crumbly with a good portion of clotted cream accompanied by little miniature jars of jam you would typically see at hotels and the like, but again, that was plentiful to fulfil smothering the scones with.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

The top layer consisted of cakes included:  macaroons, fruit tartlets and cheesecake.  I enquired if the gelatinous topping on some of the cakes was vegetarian friendly and our waitress confirmed it was.  She said that the company observe the halal rules of catering and therefore standard gelatine wouldn’t be used, again that was good to hear.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

With both of us having tea (to drink), I was surprised when the pot we had was only enough for one person, so we had to ask for another.  It also came in a metallic teapot with a tea bag which didn’t fit the rest of the afternoon tea experience.  Whilst I can understand that arrangement for customers that are popping in for a quick cup of tea as it is easy and functional for both parties, but in view of the price point of it and the general leisurely concept of afternoon tea, it would’ve been nice to perhaps have a different style teapot to match the cake stand and to have leaf tea with a strainer, that would’ve complemented it wholly.    This is one suggestion I would make.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
Overall, it is a well-run café with an equally smiley, welcoming team.  The heavy to/frowing of customers either sitting in or buying goods to take-away are testament to their popularity which has been already secured in London.  In fact, their display of cakes and ice creams are a vision you can’t really walk past without at least at stare (art gallery fashion), the presentation of which is immaculate.
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

A very nice afternoon tea service which I would recommend for vegetarians, especially if you ask for ‘different’ sandwich fillings ahead of going and do ensure you bag yourself a good seat for people watching….

~~~

Disclosure:    This post has been written following a kind invitation from Caffe Concerto to sample their afternoon tea.  This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website.      

No comments:

Post a Comment