11 April 2023

The Birmingham Caffeine Chronicles: Perch Bakery

Perch Bakery is a beautiful new cafe in Birmingham that serves speciality coffee, creative brunch dishes and exquisite pastries. I indulged in all three of these when I paid a visit to Perch en route to Wolverhampton on Saturday and I was very impressed.

I heard about Perch from Eleanor at Saint Nine, who is always a great source of Brum tips. The bakery is the second location from the team behind the acclaimed Early Bird Bakery in Kings Heath, which I haven't yet managed to visit. Perch is located on the ground floor of Citadel, a grand Victorian building on Corporation Street, which is now home to various office and retail spaces. It was a sunny day and when I arrived, just before noon, the tall windows of the shopfront were reflecting the historic, redbrick buildings opposite.

Inside, it's a rather more modern affair. The large, L-shaped marble counter occupies much of the space, with the display of pastries (more about those later) at one end, near the door, and the coffee machine around the corner. There are a handful of small tables opposite the coffee bar, plus a couple of smaller spots in the window where you can sit and wait with your coffee. The limited seating meant that there was a short wait for a table, but I made good use of my time by ordering a coffee and trying to solve my menu dilemmas.

The coffee is from North Star — there was an Ethiopian variety in the hopper, and I had two piccolos, both of which were impeccably brewed, with impressive latte art. Drinks are served in beautiful ceramic cups and saucers. All the usual espresso-based drinks are on the menu, as well as a special hazelnut hot chocolate.

By the time I'd finished my first coffee, a table became free near the back. It was just the right size for one person and, appropriately enough, allowed me to perch over the slim bench. I approved of the set-up! To order drinks and brunch dishes, there's a QR code to scan, although you have to go to the counter to order pastries (yes, I really will talk more about those soon!).

I'd seen the stunning banana bread with panna cotta on Perch's Instagram — pastry chef Tim C's experience in 5-star hotels is very apparent — but decided to go for a savoury dish so I could also get a sweet treat for dessert. I almost went for one of the Cuban sandwiches, but ultimately opted for the smoked ham hock eggs Benedict. Served with brown butter hollandaise, pickles and pork crackling on a toasted milk bun, it was absolutely delicious. And it looked pretty too, which isn't often the case for savoury brunch dishes.

Finally, I'd earned the opportunity to go and visit the pastry counter. There were so many wonderful-sounding treats, from the tiramisu twice-baked pain au chocolat to the hot cross bun supreme (it was the Easter weekend, after all). But I was always going to go for the chocolate peanut taco, which was everything I wanted it to be and more when I ate it several hours later — no, I don't have that much restraint, but I was still full from brunch. Next time I must remember not to eat breakfast!

Perch Bakery. Citadel, 190 Corporation Street, Birmingham, B4 6QD. Website. Instagram.

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