Just when we thought the hipster food trend couldn’t possibly get any worse, they hit us with this.
In case it isn’t obvious (it definitely isn’t obvious) what you’re looking at right there is a very sorry excuse for a Caesar Salad. Now, I’m not here to criticise anybody’s artistic vision – and I’m certainly not here to criticise Caesar salads – but if someone is going to try to make something pretentious, they need to at least get the recipe right. (Hello, where’s the parmesan?) The last thing we need to do is reinforce this kind of oversight. The very last thing we need is more trendy hipster joints busting up all over the place – trying to reinvent all the things that never needed to be altered in the first place.
But luckily not all trendy hipster joints are created equal. And luckily not all of them are quinoa guzzling, kale obsessed, avocado lovers on a mission to rid the world of parmesan. Some of them are actually genuinely pretty cool. Some of them don’t exist to ruin classic dishes, making everybody vegan in the process; some of them actually do something different. When that happens it’s the most mind-blowing kind of marvellous. Enter: Cereal Killer Cafe.
This place, which has just arrived on my doorstep, is living proof that wonderful things can come out of this bizarre food movement we’re currently in the middle of. (If you know Birmingham it’s in Grand Central, if you don’t then get on a train. You won’t even have to leave the station to find it.) I love it because it single handedly contains three of my favourite things; breakfast cereal, excessive levels of sugar, and Chuckie from Rugrats. (He’s not really a main feature of the Cafe, but he sure does make a nice addition in the retro toy cabinet.) The main thing here is obviously the Cereal. Or rather, it’s the Cereal Cocktails. They’re a non-alcoholic blend of sugary loveliness, which make it socially acceptable to have cereal for dessert. You can have a normal bowl of cereal too (over 120 types of it), but since this is the only place outside London where you can get a Marshmallow Submarine, or a Chocopotomus, it makes sense to go for one of the cocktails. (If you’re worried about the sugar content in some of them, don’t be. There are beds in the Cafe – so you can always sleep it off.)
Now, admittedly, the place (just like the original ones in London did beforehand) has left the city somewhat divided. There are people saying that, at an average of about £4.00 per bowl, it’s too expensive for cereal. To those people I’d say two things: supply and demand. The Keery Twins (the owners of the Cereal Killer Cafe chain) noticed a gap in the market and filled it by creating the possibility to purchase Froot Loops by the bowl at any hour of the day. That’s not a crime; it’s finding a good business strategy in a struggling economy. Besides, unique places like this are helping Birmingham live up to its reputation of the second city by giving it some individuality. (Would you seriously prefer to see another Pret there?) Without these kinds of places it’s just another city with a fairly decent shopping centre and a seemingly unlimited supply of craft beer. For that reason, whether you like cereal or not, the Cafe deserves to be celebrated. Because what the Keery twins have done here is pretty special. In a world where an alarming number of people think food isn’t food unless it’s Fodmap friendly, artisanal, and served off the back of a truck, the Keery twins are just trying to provide a fun place to eat cereal. And they’ve done it well. They’ve done it really, really well.