If you’re old enough, you might remember when the food options at the average railway station consisted of whatever was in the chocolate machine. Over time though, stations started getting outlets selling sandwiches, ties and socks, and slowly more retailers moved in to sell their wares. But Birmingham, being Birmingham, thought they could dial it up a notch, and in the 1970s built a whole shopping precinct right on top of New Street Station in the city centre.
Birmingham Shopping Centre, as it was known, became Pallasades in 1990, and after a major redevelopment in the 2010s, it opened its doors as Birmingham Grand Central, a thriving hub of shopping and dining. But it’s the food that we’re covering here!
You might be in Brum shopping or doing business, or perhaps you’re changing trains at New Street and you’ve got an hour to kill. Either way, head up to the fantastic Grand Central upper floor and get your teeth into one of these mouth-watering menus.
Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen
There are only three Mrs Chew’s in the UK, and the other two are in London. It’s loved by the locals for selling simple, nutritious Chinese delights that are just perfect for when you’re in a hurry. If you love noodles, dumplings or dim sum, you’re going to be blown away by the flavours – and the prices are unbelievable.
This restaurant chain was actually founded in Birmingham and quickly spread around the country. It now has a few outlets in airports around the world too, and that’s appropriate because Giraffe’s menu is excitingly international. You’ll find Japanese, Mexican, Mediterranean, Thai, English and Argentinian specialities here served as mains, small plates, breakfasts, brunches and dinners. It’s perfect if you’re with that group of friends who can never decide which type of restaurant to go to.
Little Dessert Shop
Sometimes a restaurant does great meals but the desserts are just a bit meh. But when you specialise in desserts, there’s no going wrong, surely? If Little Dessert Shop is anything to go by, that theory stands. When there’s an LDS in town, you might just skip your restaurant’s afters and head straight here to pick your favourite waffles, crepes, cakes, sundaes, bakes and sharing dishes. You won’t regret it, even if you know it means a few more minutes on the treadmill.
This is a small chain, mainly located in London, but with branches in Leicester, Edinburgh and here in Grand Central. You’ve probably guessed from the name what this place is about great quality Thai food delivered quickly for busy people. There’s a vibrant street food feel to Thai Express, and once your taste buds detect the delicate pop of Thai herbs and spices in the soups, curries, stir fries and rice dishes, you may as well be in Bangkok.
The Eastern Mediterranean has a palate all of its own, and Lebanon’s sumptuous selection demonstrates that this unassuming coastal nation won the flavour lottery. All the single and sharing mezzes you could ever want are found at Comptoir Libanais, along with fresh hummus, warm wraps, grills, koftas, halloumi, burgers and fish dishes to make your mouth water. The name means Lebanese Counter, and you are definitely being served.
This place specialises in plonking little stalls right in the middle of shopping malls and railway stations that draw you in with the amazing array of brownies, cookies, fudge, muffins and sweets. It’s perfect if you’re stocking up for a long journey and want a thoroughly fulfilling sweet treat. Try and walk past Batch’d without reaching for your card. We challenge you.
You already know all about Nando’s, surely? The South African chicken restaurant that has conquered the world with its fresh grills and array of hot sauces has a branch here in Grand Central, perhaps as you’d expect. There are about 1,000 Nando’s around the world, and around half of them are in the UK, so go figure – it’s perfectly tuned to British taste buds, and you’re going to love it.
Joe & The Juice
Another truly international brand here, Joe & The Juice has stores all over Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, so you can surmise they’re doing something right. But don’t assume from the name that this is a juice bar – they sell a dazzling range of wholesome salads, sandwiches, breakfast bowls and cakes, as well as a fine selection of exotic juice drinks. Healthy food isn’t supposed to be this much fun, is it?
The Spanish classic of tapas – small dishes that let you choose a big selection – is always going to be a popular choice for anyone who loves a delightful variety of meats, seafood, bread, olives, paellas, veg and cheeses. Throw in some Spanish late-night atmosphere and an enormous choice of dishes here at Tapas Revolution and you can’t go wrong. It really is a Spanish revolution, right here in the heart of Brum.
There’s a world of food above your head
Has reading that made you just a little bit peckish? All this and more is a minute away from the platforms at Birmingham New Street. It doesn’t matter why you’re in the city – head up there to fill yourself with deliciousness or to take something sweet back to the family. It’s grand. And central.