Yorks Bakery Cafe, Stephenson St

After Yorks Bakery Kitchen temporarily closed for renovation, we’d really missed popping into this delightful brunch spot. A few days ago, we finally found the time to visit the newly renovated Yorks Bakery Cafe on Stephenson Street – boy, the wait was worth it. The new venue felt spacious and friendly, with lots of natural light (except for the basement area, obviously). The interior is industrial in style, however as the focus is on using wood instead of metal, it isn’t harsh and cold. The whole cafe felt very welcoming, as did the staff. We liked that there were some large tables, perfect for large gorups or communal-style eating, as well as plug sockets by the tables for those having business meetings. Another thing that was great to see was the return of their weekly jazz nights. We never got around to going to them in the old cafe, but fully intend to go to these!

Yorks Bakery Cafe boasts a huge range of drinks, both breakfast and lunch menus, and a beautiful selection of freshly baked sweet treats. Their menus have been newly designed with “a strong ethos on nutrition, sharing and a modern way of eating great food”, which really comes across. What we found most impressive was Yorks’ beautiful coffee roaster on site (see below), which shows that the coffee here has to be amazing. It was  also great to see was that the selling local artwork had transitioned into the new cafe!

We settled down to read the lunch menu. It was divided into mezze/main plates, sharing options, burgers and filled breads. The vast majority of their menu was vegetarian, with a wide variety of both vegan and gluten free options. After much deliberation, we decided to order two mezze plates (what appeared to be half portions of a main), one filled bread, a tea and a last minute (panic order) portion of sweet potato fries.

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Her spiced orange tea was the first to arrive. We allowed it to brew for a few minutes before trying it, but I must say that we were surprised at how delicious it was. The only way we could think to describe it was if one made a chai tea fruity – it was an aromatic mixture of spices with an underlying fruity flavour. Frankly, it was wonderful and we would happily order it again. (Still such cute teapots too!).

Shortly after, the waitress arrived with our food. She greeted us by saying “I’ve got quite the feast for you guys”, which was when we realised we may have over-catered when feeding just two people.  Admittedly, it was quite a feast for the two of us, but it was  definitely worth it.

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The first of our mezze plates was an ‘ancient grain freekah salad’. The freekah was served with pomegranate, fresh mint, edamame peas and a toasted masala dressing. Overall, it was beautifully light yet filling. I’m normally someone who would never order a salad as my main meal. This dish has converted me – I am coming back to order this again as a meal!  The freekah was similar to a pearl barley or a large couscous and it was delicious with the masala dressing which packed a kick.

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The next of our mezze dishes were the falafels. They were served with a tomato harissa sauce with a garlic aioli, topped with dukkah. The falafels were beautifully crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside – but not in the slightest bit greasy. The falafels worked wonderfully with both of the sauces and were quite generous in size. At only £3 for a mezze size – it was an absolute bargain.

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Next up was the flatbread. It was topped with freekah salad (admittedly, I didn’t realise we were ordering two dishes with freekah salad – oops! It’s a good job we liked it!), pomegranate, tzatziki, hummus, leaves, tahini dressing and a generous helping of  chicken shawarma. The chicken was delicious and beautifully spiced, but for us the hummus was the star of the dish. It really worked well, combining all of the components of the dish. The dish generally felt very healthy and was delightful. This is certainly  something to have again – the feta and broccoli option looks quite tempting.

We left the fried sweet potato with garlic yoghurt aioli until last. We were wrong to leave them until the end (although if we had eaten them first, we might have not wanted to eat anything else!), they were some of the best – if not the best – sweet potato fries we’ve  ever had. They were beautifully seasoned, lovely and crunchy, but not greasy in the slightest. The garlic aioli worked perfectly with the sweet potatoes, they were an amazing flavour combination. The size of the portion was also a pleasant surprise, at least twice the size of portions we’ve ordered in other restaurants! Honestly, we would quite happily order just a portion of sweet potato fries to eat with nothing else.

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Full disclosure – I clearly hadn’t been very sneaky with my photography and we’re still not sure if it’s related to that or to the pure volume of food we got through, but the waitress was incredibly kind and brought us a portion of Sri Lankan Love Cake on the house. The love cake had honey, whole cashews and a hint of cinnamon. The textures with the crunchy cashews and sweet sticky cake were beautiful, a perfect way to round off a meal. This is something we will have to look into and try making at home!

For such healthy food we were also quite impressed with the price (we paid for our meal, except for the love cake) – £3 for the falfels, £5 for the freekah salad, £6.80 for the chicken shawarma and £4 for the sweet potatoes. We were also impressed with how healthy our meal tasted, while content and full, nothing in our meal felt greasy. It all felt satisfying and nutritious. You can tell that the owners at Yorks have put a lot of thought into their menu and it really shows. As we had over-catered, we were kept pleasently full for the rest of the day and didn’t need to eat anything for dinner!

Amazing staff, amazing food and drink, amazing venue – Yorks Bakery Cafe certainly holds a new place in our hearts.

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5 thoughts on “Yorks Bakery Cafe, Stephenson St

  1. I was in here on the Monday they restarted the Jazz nights. I ordered the Zataar Meatballs on the flatbread (non-random link to menu here:http://www.yorksbakerycafe.co.uk/lunch-later/ !), which came quickly, and there was an excellent mix of tastes and texture.

    Glad to see they had extended into the back (and downstairs), and were displaying traditional Brummie optimism – “Its not raining! the wind chill is only -8! LET’S PUT THE TABLES OUTSIDE!!!!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Firstly, it is a bloody dream to find fellow brummie on wordpress! And not to mention talking about my favourite caff’ at home! I was gutted when I found out it was closed over xmas, but gahhh looka how beautiful it is now! I’ll be back home in June (leaving glorious London, sigh!), and will no doubt spend many mornings/afternoons/evenings here! Oh love!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I believe the Newhall Street location is going to be shut for a year (think October/November 2016) due to the landlord refurbing the whole building. Knowing what things are like, I’m not holding my breath about the re-open date. Next opening is the one on Cannon Street, between Pigeon Park and Corporation Street.

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