Cafe reviews, Reviews

3 Three’s, vegan cafe in Birmingham


As someone who frankly overthinks everything, dietary requirements are pretty high on my list of things to think about (I arrange a lot of events, it happens).  You know, there’s always that box on an event sheet that asks about them and I’m always curious about the response; is it just for religious, ethical, moral and health reasons, or should people tell us if they really don’t like mushrooms (true story)?  And then when someone tells you they don’t eat wheat, gluten, sugar or processed foods, only to then discover them snacking on a biscuit which has all those things are you allowed to be a bit pissed off?

And as someone with a lactose intolerance, which provides some fairly unpleasant results for me and anyone using the bathroom after me, I tend not to mention it unless I think whatever is being provided is going to lead to DEFCON one.  But I’m always really grateful when there are places that I don’t need to worry about it and that’s mainly anywhere that properly caters for vegans.  And so I’ve been wandering past Birmingham’s first vegan/vegetarian cafe, 3 Threes in Martineau Place, Birmingham city centre for the last few weeks, wondering when it’ll open.  And finally it has.


The cafe itself has plenty of seating and was surprisingly busy on the Friday lunchtime I trundled down, considering they’d only opened that week.  The decor is fairly nondescript which is not to say it’s boring…it’s just not that bloody industrial look everyone is going nuts for.  It feels functional, but comfortable, like it could be good for working in there off a laptop all day as well as hosting a spoken word night in the evening.  It feels like a coffee shop, which is surprisingly becoming a bit rare.  Also, the staff are lovely.  As one of them dropped off my sandwich, he checked on my drink, then came back with it later, apologising for the (not very long) wait but that the barista wasn’t happy with the first one and started again.  I liked his honesty.

Food wise, I suspect it’s in a bit of flux at the moment.  They’re doing vegan hot dogs, which looked good, but being it was a working Friday I opted for the British classic; sandwiches and a bag of crisps.  Okay sure, a vegan version of a chicken, sweetcorn and mayo sandwich isn’t exactly standard, but there we are.  In some sense, I think I ordered this because I wanted to see if chicken-flavoured stuff would taste as such and it does, in fact it tastes exactly like those packaged chicken slices you get in the supermarket.  So if you’re vegan and missing these, great, or you’re vegan and want to drag your meat-loving friend somewhere that you can both eat, then this is a good way to distract them from that.  Crisps wise, they’ve got a decent selection of Ten Acre crisps, which are vegan-friendly.  Sure, you might ask, why is this even A Thing, but for some reason most standard flavoured crisps are full of milk products.  Ten Acres aren’t, and their cheese and onion flavoured crisps are great.

I rounded off my lunch with an almond milk latte which was superb (clearly worth making a second time); sweet, creamy and delicious.  For that alone, I’ll be back.  I also bought a caramel rose cupcake, which was all sorts of animal free and there were several gluten free dessert options available too.  I took this back to the office with me and it travelled well, was flavoursome and whilst not as identikit as the sandwich for its usual counterpart, was very tasty.

All in all a large almond milk latte, cupcake, sandwich and bag of crisps came to around £8 which is pretty standard for the less animal friendly versions elsewhere in the city centre.  On leaving, the guy who served me asked if I’d be back and I will.  Not because it’s vegan friendly place in Birmingham city centre, but because the service was good, the latte was damn tasty and I want to try some of the ice cream I spotted on leaving.


Disclosure: Took myself off on a lunch date and paid for myself. Who needs other people when food is the best company?

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  • Reply Liz Dexter

    This place sounds excellent, this is the third time I’ve read about it and I’m excited about the vegan ice cream, also enjoying vegan food from the sat-fat free side rather than the lactose-intolerant side. I have been seen eating biscuits when there is literally nothing else, btw, and sometimes a venue will “cater” for one but then be wildly inappropriate – sometimes I will not want to tell the hosts and will just eat anything so as not to be hungry. Anyway, this place sounds great and I’ll get there soon.

    April 12, 2016 at 7:29 am
    • Reply Laura

      Everyone I’ve spoken to about 3 Three’s has really enjoyed it – hopefully you will too!

      I think dietary requirements can be a bit of a nightmare, sometimes it can fall into the trap of requirements versus preferences and that’s another thing entirely. I think in that case it just frustrated me so much because I’d worked with the venue to make sure there were options for them, which turned out to be a preference rather than a requirement – especially as they’d ignored the plates of fresh fruit in favour of sugary biscuits.

      April 19, 2016 at 8:56 am
      • Reply Liz Dexter

        Yes, I agree, I won’t eat things that will upset me if there’s an alternative I can eat!

        We did pop into this place but I found the preponderance of “fake meat” a bit much – and so did Matthew, from the other side of things. Only one non-fake-meat item, and I think they need to work on that, maybe.

        April 27, 2016 at 7:49 am
  • Reply Nordie

    I’ve been in there a number of times now, and am always a little disconcerted regarding how they describe their food (e.g. “chicken like”). It’s almost as if they’re not quite sure where they’re placing themselves – vegan, but pulling in the carnivores?

    I’d much rather they call it what it is. “Smoky Tofu in barbeque sauce”, “Quorn protein”, “Grilled Halluoni”. By calling it “Chicken Style” makes me instantly not approach the food at all, as I dont know what the base protein is…….

    February 2, 2017 at 11:17 am
    • Reply Laura

      I know what you mean. I quite like the idea that it lets people know what to expect, but I find the fact that so many of the meals are meat-like focused sort of implies embarrassment. It may well have changed since I was in last, but I was surprised at the lack of veggie/vegan meals that weren’t faux-meat.

      February 9, 2017 at 12:31 am
  • Reply Mike`

    How does it compare with The Warehouse Cafe?

    February 12, 2017 at 9:26 pm
    • Reply Laura

      I think they’re quite different places; Warehouse is a bit more of a meal, whereas 3 Three’s is more a cafe for a quick bite or a cuppa. Glad we have both in the city though!

      March 7, 2017 at 11:52 pm

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