As a devote carnivore, the thought of going to a vegetarian restaurant fills me with a sense of apprehensive disappointment. Previous experiences of ‘vegetarian burgers’ which turn out to be a limp mushroom on a bun may have something to do with this. The Warehouse Cafe, however, surpassed all expectations, elevating vegetarian cuisine to new exciting heights.
Situated in the heart of Birmingham’s industrial past, the cafe retains elements of an old factory whilst introducing bright colours to create an inviting and quirky environment. It’s a simple place, light and bright to allow complete focus on the food. The service is equally bright; you’ll be greeted by delightful staff who are eager to serve yet are not over-invasive.
The food is what makes this cafe really special. The fresh British produce is combined with Asian and Mexican flavours to create bold, exciting food. We started with the trio of hummus and the corn and aubergine fritters. Each hummus was rich in flavour and delectably creamy. The caramelised onion hummus was particularly good, transforming the humble onion into an intensely sweet and moreish mouthful. The fritters were equally moreish; super crisp with a punch of chilli and coriander. We ordered a selection of mains, including the zingy Buglar Salad and the ‘Fish and Chips’; battered halloumi with a punchy wasabi pea puree.
On top of delicious food, The Warehouse Cafe has an admirable commitment to sustainability. Everything they use is recycled, and the majority of their produce is organic and fair-trade. This love of the environment is clearly reflected in the food. You can tell every ingredient has been treated with respect, and tastes all the better for it.
A three-course meal for two will set you back around £35 and it’s worth every penny. Yet aside from the very reasonable prices, the charming staff and the delightfully quirky decor, the best thing about the cafe is the fact the vegetarian food isn’t trying to substitute meat. Rather than attempting to transform vegetables into weird meat-like substances, the vegetables are elevated using bold and exotic flavours to make vegetarian food exciting and absolutely delicious. Though I won’t be giving up meat any time soon, I’ll definitely be returning here again.
Where is it? 54-57 Allison Street, Digbeth B5, 0121 633 026