Travelling by train is still relatively 'new' in Birmingham, especially when it comes to travelling across the city. Despite the 'main' station - New Street - having served the public for over forty years, it is more common to travel between cities as opposed to across town in The Midlands. I am, however, one to embrace the 'new' changes, and on a planned weekend to Solihull with my friends, we decided to take the train.
You can only travel to Solihull from Moor Street Station, so in we went to buy our tickets, but we all stopped in amazement when we entered the station. Freshly baked croissants, sticky buns and just-made sandwiches were amongst batches of fresh coffee. The previous cafe-come-shop had undergone a makeover and under a new guise. Centenery Cafe had opened.
Long gone is the rather unsightly cafe/shop with its dodgy offerings of what they consider a 'sandwich' (plastic wrapped, soggy bread and boring fillings), and in its place is a charming art deco cafe that breathes a new lease of life into what many Brummies consider the 'other' station.
The cafe is inspired by the glamour of the Great Western Railways at their peak times in the 1930's - the china plates and cups even come emblazoned with the GWR insignia. I can imagine it being the default stopping point for coffee, for many, of a weekday morning.
But this lovely art deco cafe is so much more than a commuter stop-off – it's like a little slice of Brief Encounter hidden in the city centre. I don't come too often because I am not a regular Moor Street Station user, but the cafe is fine with if you're not a train user. It's more like a mini bistro that welcomes every customer with the same greeting no matter if you're staying two minutes or twenty. Although my friends and I had a train to catch we decided to get the next one because of our open tickets, and ended up trying the egg on toast (£2.50), full English breakfast (£5.95), and scrambled egg and smoked salmon (£4.95).
Sandwich fillings include falafel and jerk chicken, none of the standard egg and cress. Their afternoon tea is seriously indulgent. The scones are served warm and we had a mint and baileys iced frappe – perfect after a journey around Solihull, and just before you head home.