On the day we go for brunch at Caneat Café the ever-changing menu has an item listed as ‘green eggs and ham’. It sounds like something my Mother would have turned out for dinner by accident, along with ‘southern fried chicken and black chips’ and ‘beige sausages with beige mash’. It is, of course, a nod to Dr. Suess and his beginners books, but then you knew that already. What you don’t know is that this may be the best brunch dish I have ever eaten, certainly since this blog started. Two softly boiled and halved eggs lounge on thick sheets of ham and sourdough. It’s the green bit that makes it, a phrase I haven’t used since describing a boil I once had. It’s zingy and bright and full of herby notes of coriander and parsley. It has a depth that goes way beyond a little place in a tired row of shops in Stirchley. It manages to take ham and eggs on toast and rocket them skywards after a quick detour via every taste bud. If you go, which you absolutely should, and this is on the menu then you absolutely should order it. It’s not on the menu, then my life is automatically better than yours. But then we knew that already.
And so to the rest of this short post on Caneat Cafe, a pale wooded, plant heavy, square room on a high street that is fast becoming the place for independent’s on this side of the city. We take the stroll from Moseley and arrive late morning to a full house, ordering the green eggs and two other dishes. Of those three the banana bread is the most conventional, smeared with peanut butter, and topped with both sliced banana, blueberries and pumpkin seeds. There is a drizzle of something sweet and lemony. It is a well put together bit of breakfast.
Look deeper and there is a nutty professor at work. Roast peaches on brioche are hardly ground breaking, but the miso caramel that lurks underneath is. It has a deep umami flavour that makes it a salted caramel for adults. There is yogurt and more of that lemony stuff. The result is a deeply satisfying plate of sweet things.
They do sweet things and quiches that we turn down, despite some glowing references on both. And it’s cheap, with these three dishes and two drinks failing to hit £25 for the two of us. What I love about this place is the focus is on the eating, not about pretty plates that look far better than they taste. All three dishes had flavour in abundance; quirky little turns that enhanced the taste of the main event. The chef is a man of obvious talent; dare I say maybe too much talent for the location it is in. Stirchley needs places like this if it is going to fulfil its potential. I hope the people of it reward it by filling it on a daily basis. Caneat? I will eat. And frequently, too.