Where NOT to eat in Birmingham!

Well, it’s been months since I had a moment to update the site. (I was asked to do some supply work to help a local school in a spot of difficulty and I don’t need to tell anyone who’s ever taught how the job seems to expand into the time available!) Since then, we’ve been away and somehow or other it’s almost September and I’m going to be teaching again this term, though not as much as before.

In the meantime, we were in one of our favourite lunch spots today in the centre of Birmingham and I simply HAVE to make time to write. The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has been a family favourite for years and the Edwardian Tea Rooms have always served good quality dairy-free soup…not any more!! The glorious room has been given an unfortunate refurbishment which has left it skewered somewhere between Edwardian eclectic and New York loft. Yes, there’s a large gulf between those two and that’s how it feels.

The change of style and the anachronisms I could (just about) live with were it not for what has been done to the food. The prices have gone up. (What a surprise. Someone’s got to pay for the refurb.) Range and quality have gone down. Even worse, they now put dairy produce in BOTH soups on offer. “Only butter”, apparently, so those who were lactose intolerant as opposed to milk allergic took some lactase tablets and tried it. There were two choices: 1. Luke warm, rather boring butternut squash soup which must have had roasted garlic in it … judging by the number of bits of garlic skin which had to be fished out. 2. Luke warm tomato soup which had bits of stem for the diner to fish out … to prevent us being bored, no doubt. The soup was accompanied by undercooked, rather doughy ciabatta and served in such large, wide dishes that it’s not possible to fit two dishes of soup, two plates of bread and two glasses of water onto one tray. The plates are so large that it would have been a struggle even if the trays hadn’t also been re-styled and shrunk to below a practical size.

To top off our dining experience, the stunning chocolate muffins (sadly not dairy-free) which were a firm favourite with the kids, have been discontinued, so nobody was happy!!

What can I say? Don’t go there any more!

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