Ikon Gallery announces new partnership with Yorks Café & Coffee Roasters



We are delighted to announce that Yorks Café will be opening at Ikon in January 2017 to deliver catering for both the café and event hire at the gallery. An exciting new partnership between two much loved Birmingham brands, it will be a new addition to the city’s quality of life, mixing informality and innovation.


Yorks at Ikon will offer visitors a new look eating space and a brand new menu. It will feature Yorks’ core coffee (roasted here in Birmingham) and brunch menu (including shakshuka, Arabian buttered eggs together with more familiar breakfasts such as eggs benedict) for which Yorks has become known for.  However, Yorks at Ikon will be evolving into an evening venue with the introduction of craft beers on tap, stone baked pizzas, and a sharing-plate inspired selection of mezze and salads.


The atmosphere and interior decor will convey Yorks’ emphasis on authenticity and integrity through a characteristic use of raw materials and fabrics, but expect a uniquely Ikon twist.  Set within the gallery and opening out onto Brindleyplace, it is ideal for families, individuals and groups visiting the gallery.  Customers will be able to eat in or take away. 


Yorks will also be providing catering to those hiring Ikon as a venue for corporate events, meetings and private parties.  A ‘shared plate’ style of ordering for small groups and buffets for larger events.


Ian Hyde Deputy Director of Ikon Gallery said


“Our decision to award York’s the three year contract was based on their excellent reputation and their ambition to redefine what a café means in Birmingham, whilst appealing to an intelligent, knowledgeable customer who demands greater authenticity and integrity.


We believe that their offer of uplifting food, outstanding coffee, memorable experiences and a team who are knowledgeable and provide a warm welcome fits well with our own ethos.”


Simon Ford Managing Director of York’s said


We have always strived to remove the pretence that comes with perceived quality, firmly believing that great food should not be (and is no longer) restricted to fine dining.  Yorks is on a mission to continue building on our reputation for our own roasted coffee and brunch and bring the most exciting food Birmingham has seen into a highly accessible unpretentious, casual dining experience which we feel is closely aligned to Ikon’s mission to make high quality contemporary art accessible to all.


With such similar values, we feel the partnership will flourish.”


Over 130,000 people visit the Ikon Gallery annually our ambition is to grow this and make Ikon a place that people drop-in and use us as a social space where they can meet up with friends and family and enjoy good food whilst visiting the gallery.  ENDS


Note to Editors:

Ikon Gallery

1.     Ikon is an internationally acclaimed contemporary art venue situated in central Birmingham. Established in 1964 by a group of artists, Ikon is an educational charity and works to encourage public engagement with contemporary art through exhibiting new work in a context of debate and participation. The gallery programme features artists from around the world and a variety of media is represented, including sound, film, mixed media, photography, painting, sculpture and installation. Ikon’s off-site programme develops dynamic relationships between art, artists and audiences outside the gallery. Projects vary enormously in scale, duration and location, challenging expectations of where art can be seen and by whom. Education is at the heart of Ikon’s activities and through a variety of talks, tours, workshops and seminars, Ikon’s Learning Team aims to build dynamic relationships with audiences, enabling visitors to engage with, discuss and reflect on contemporary art.

2.     Ann Tonks Managing Director of Opus at Ikon who are the current café operators said

‘We have had four wonderful years at Ikon. Our lease has come to an end and we decided not to renew, in favour of developing our Bar Opus format. We have made some life long friends at the gallery, and we look forward to maintaining our strong ties.’


3.     For the latest news and events follow @ikongallery on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

4.     Ikon Gallery is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council.

5.     For more information and high-res images please contact Sam Skillings or Emily Luxford at Ikon on 0121 248 0708 or email s.skillings@ikon-gallery.org or e.luxford@ikon-gallery.org

6.     For more information on Yorks, visit www.yorksbakerycafe.co.uk, or www.yorkscoffeeroasters.co.uk or follow @yorksbakerycafe on twitter, Instagram and facebook.

Left to right: Ian Hyde, Ikon Deputy Director, Simon Ford, Yorks Cafe Managing Director

Left to right: Ian Hyde, Ikon Deputy Director, Simon Ford, Yorks Cafe Managing Director

IKON Gallery Press Information https://ikon-gallery.org/about/press/

We are looking for Cooks!Chefs!Kitcheneers!

We are recruiting for good kitchen staff!


I spy with my little eye, something beginning with P…




The next few months are going to be wonderful for one lucky individual. Working alongside a tight team consisting of a Head Chef, Sous Chef, Commis and Head Baker you will be learning with view to progress as we expand.


Initially working on service and prep with potential to help out on bakery your role will be an all encompassing kitchen role and is ideal for those people that love being part of a busy service environment.


We have in recent times been mentioned as ‘one of the best places in the UK to have brunch’ and have been asked to contribute food opinions on occasion to The Telegraph and other credible publications outside of Birmingham.


We don’t like resting on our laurels…


So as such we are seeking to develop and create the most ambitious Brunch/Evening menu yet. Taking our sister store at Great Western Arcade along for the ride we want you!


Things that you must have


  • ·      Passion for food
  • ·      Full availability for work
  • ·      Career minded
  • ·      Love the industry
  • ·      Prior experience is preffered but not essential
  • ·      Ability to self motivate
  • ·      Have high exacting standards

If this sounds exciting to you and something you would like to be a part of please apply via RECRUITMENT on this website. Interviews will be conducted as soon as possible and the correct candidate will be hired  as soon as we find them!


Don’t let the opportunity slip away!



Notes from the Roastery 29/8/16

September 2016 Coffee Offering 'Soul in the Machine 1'


Espresso: Brazilian Londrina

Filter: Ethiopia Limu

Filter: Kenya Kamuyu

Decaf: Cerro de Jesus


Heading into September we are selling our coffee as retail. We have done a few test batches, some of which haven’t quite been where we wanted them tobe. However as of now we have settled on some good roast profiles that we are proud of whilst we refine and tinker (as any good roaster will tell you, that never changes).


Our Brazilian Londrina as always really changes the myth that Brazilians are boring. With a great acidity and a rounded body our Brazilian Londrina scores well on the cupping table. When we cup our espresso we are always looking for a good balance, something slightly more muted than our filters but still exciting.


You will also be glad to know that we now have a decaf on! It’s the Cerro de Jesus from Nicaragua and cupped very very well.

In fact when we lined it up alongside 24 of our other production roasts last week it held its own… which is strange for a decaf.


On filter we have a stunning coffee – our Kenya Kamuyu really sparkles, it is also a really fun coffee to roast, it has a very subtle first crack but then a very amazingly prolonged second crack… if you spy us roasting and want to know more… just come over and ask.


A filter we are test roasting this week is the Ethiopia Limu, We are all fans of Ethiopian coffees here at Yorks however our challenge with this one is to bring out a little more than the usual ‘earthy notes’ that occurs. We want to hit some sweet notes that possibly overtake some of those classic characteristics.


Our roasting day is Wednesday currently and as such we will be hosting an open production cupping on Thursdays at 10am. Anybody interested in taking part in a production cupping and seeing how we go through the tasting and roasting process please feel free to come along for 9:45 so that we can set up on the bigger table!


The following weeks we are looking to develop our relationships with Falcon and Caravan in order to bring some exclusive coffees to Birmingham. We also have some really cool plans ahead with some exciting opportunities to give back to our community alongside HM Prison in Winson Green.


Stay PMA


Head Roaster


Notes from the Roastery 13/7/16

Raw Material Green and The Wonderful Side of the Industry

Headed down to Londonland yesterday to visit coffee friends and talk about what we can do to bring something different to Birminghams coffee.

After spending time there in March im rather fond of the guys and girls of Caravan, this industry away from London has a funny ability to celebrate the mediocrity of the ‘scene’ and largely not dignify the ‘Industry’ the credibility it really deserves. Not here.


Walking into Caravan is a great experience, the professionalism and passion speaks volumes and is punctuated by the increasingly hard work of people such as Simon, Sam, Steve, Tane and Rege.

Sam the head roaster who has been with Caravan for Eons (previously had placed such statements into my head as ‘you will set the roaster on fire’) had set up a great cupping table with lots of their coffees they have sourced in conjunction with the offshoot Raw Materials Coffee. Colombians and Rwandans ranging from light body apple acidity to some heavy bodied spicy sweetness.


As always it was a great cupping table and has opened up some quite good opportunities of what we can source and bring to Birmingham in the future. It also leads to some wonderful options to help develop farmers and farming at source and bring them more money for their crops in a post brexit world.


In essence what Raw Materials coffee will seek to do is what the ‘cut and paste credibility’ Fair Trade wished it could do – They will aim to set a fair price direct to the farmers, educate them and tell them what they can do to increase profitability on their crops and cut out unnecessary middle men.


Currently this is focused on Colombia and Rwanda but there are rumblings of heading to Kenya to start working alongside the people there.

Whatever the journey – We look forward to becoming part of it and carrying on our Birmingham / London link for a long time to come.


Enjoy your coffee



Check out our friends over here…


What Brexit Means for Yorks (or your local coffee shop)

The mob has spoken and Britain now embarks on its uncertain journey to leave the EU (whenever that may actually be).  I can’t help but feel the debate to stay or leave the EU has somewhat missed the point, with those who voted leave yesterday shouting their frustrations via an x-in-a-box rather than fully understanding the real consequences of leaving.  Interestingly, everyone I have spoken to this morning (commuters on this morning’s train mainly) have expressed their shock and disbelief at how foolish we’ve been. Which makes me wonder, where are all the leave voters and what do they really think now?

As the proud owner of a coffee shop and café business, leaving the EU poses many questions and I have to make the assumption that those who voted leave either have very deep pockets, or, simply don’t enjoy drinking coffee or eating out.

So what does leaving the EU mean for my business?  Most of the impacts are purely conjecture at the moment, but there are some almost-certainties.

Firstly, with interest rates certain to rise (the bank of England can only hold off for so long) will increase the cost of lending making growth a much more expensive business.  Private equity is always an option to fund growth but this inevitably results in small business owners being forced to give up equity, or stay small.

Secondly, apologies for the patronising tone, but coffee doesn’t actually grow in Birmingham.  This means we have to import it.  This morning’s crash of the pound down to the lowest level since 1985 (at one stage it hit $1.33 to the pound) means the cost of importing in the short term has dramatically increased.  This will push up the cost of coffee by around 10%.  When it comes to milk, the EU has been heavily subsidising British dairies for years now, unsustainably, but the short term impact will mean milk prices will have to increase to ensure the dairy farmers can make a profit; further price increases.

On a quick non-EU point, these inevitable price increases of our raw ingredients will be compounded further by the recent increase in minimum wage (which has increased staff costs indirectly by around 17%). Certainly not a bad thing in principal, but when added to the cauldron of increased costs and uncertainly means that the cost to make a coffee has leapt up considerably. Flat white - £3.20?  I don’t think anyone is ready for that yet, but the numbers have to add up somehow.

A similar trend will be seen across the majority of what we sell here at Yorks, so maybe its time for a change.  A change of taste to a simpler, local-only way of eating, or maybe global warming will open up new opportunities in farming and we’re all worrying about nothing. 

My children tried planting an avocado stone in the garden a few weeks ago but its not going well. 

Any 3 Mezze for £11 at our Yorks Cafe

Everybody loves a good deal, so we thought we would one up that and give you a "Great one". As part of of our Lunch & Later menu, we will be offering a selection of delicious mezze dishes at an equally delicious price. Chose any 3 mezze dishes for £11, or any 3 dishes with an alcoholic drink (from a selection) for £13.50. Take a look at our menu here and start drooling at the mouth. 

Summer Vibes at Monday Night Jazz

So Monday was a blast, and the summer weather made for an even more enjoyable evening. With cold beers flowing and burgers being eaten, we welcomed special guest Steve Hamilton to the roster and he did not fail to disappoint. The band were on top form as usual and the addition of one of Europe's most exciting and innovative Jazz pianists was the real icing on the cake. There's a few images below that try and do it justice, but our advice would be to come down next week and see for yourselves. We will be continuing our beer and a burger deal for £10 too, sounds like Monday nights are sorted.

Meet our Baker Elise


Lets start from the beginning. What made you fall in love with Baking?

Baking was always therapeutic for me. If it was a long day at work, or an argument I needed to get over I’d shut myself away in my mums kitchen and bake something. It’s relaxing, and often mood lifting. I have also always been a person that enjoys the social side of life, and being British, a slice of cake and a cuppa is always a good catalyst for this. 

Would you say you are more drawn towards Baking or Patisserie?

Hands down Patisserie. Now this is not a north/south divide type of situation. I love them both, they both intertwine. However, I am a Pastry Chef. I’m trained in Pastry first, so my love lies in Patisserie. It’s an art form like no other really, it involves every skill imaginable and with precision detail. 


I like the finish of Patisserie. Patisserie takes into account the look just as much as the taste. It is essentially the theatre of the sweet world.

Where does your inspiration come from?

It may be a generic answer to say different cultures. But I've travelled a little in my life and certainly want to do more, and get so much inspiration from seeing how other people live, eat, experience. It then broadens the spectrum of what you can do with your own skills.

Is there a link that runs through your new cake range and what can be expected from the future?

I like the range to somewhat mirror what we do in our menu. So we use spices that compliment the food we serve. I will always want the range to move forward, so the flavours will change, we will experiment but not shy away from doing what we do best. Being a pastry chef, it will always be on the cards to crack into desserts, so keep your eyes peeled

What do you think of the current state of baking in Birmingham, the city seems to have a real focus on bread and less on innovative new flavours - where would you like to see it go and how can it get there?

I don't think people experiment enough here yet, I think Birmingham has more than enough talent to do so but seem a little reluctant. What we have realised is that the public do want new things, they want to experiment and fall in love with something new and exciting. I'd like to see bakery taken more seriously. Places like Brighton are showing how it can be done with chocolatiers, cafes and patisseries like Julian Plumart; but I'd like to see Birmingham competing on that stage too.

If you could de-mystyfy one thing about baking what would it be and why?

 That there are limits to it. They say baking is purely recipe based and there are general rules you need to stay inside. For instance, a standard recipe for a sponge would be equal parts flour, sugar and butter. However if you wanted to make a richer but slightly denser sponge, you could add cream, but with this you would need to decrease the butter amount and melt it so it doesn’t counteract with the fats in the cream. We wouldn’t have discovered this if someone hadn’t taken a risk and broken the rules of a standard sponge a little. So you can experiment, and it isn’t going to change the face of baking, just broaden the parameters. Talent lies in knowledge and with any skill, learning is an element that should never end. 

Do you have any industry heroes?

Pierre Herme - He has taken luxury and ‘The Macaron’ to a whole different level.

If you could invite 6 people over to dinner living or dead, who would they be and what would you cook?

Pierre Herme, Marilyn Monroe, Raymond Blanc, William Blake, Napoleon Bonaparte, Katherine Hepburn. I think instead of trying to please, I would cook them something Italian, seafood, followed by desserts full of fruit, flavoured creams and meringues. All of my favourite things, so I could get a little insight into what these well respected people in my life think of what I love.


Beer & a Burger for £10, Every Monday from 5pm

We know that Mondays can be a drag, that's why we have created this tasty offer to feed those blues away. You can choose any beer & any burger for just £10. The offer starts at 5pm and is valid all evening. You can also sit back, relax and enjoy our Monday Night Jazz event that starts at 7pm every Monday. 

Check out or menu for the list of Burgers we have available 

Return of the Monday Night Jazz

We are so happy that we could revive this classic event and after last nights amazing response we are making sure it's back for good. A massive thanks to Percy, Andrew and the gang for performing a great set. We would also like to thank all of you that attended and made the night awesome. Spread the word because Monday Night Jazz is back. Join us every Monday from 7:30 - 9:00pm for live jazz, cocktails, great food & drink #yorksmondayjazz

Stephenson St Cafe Now Open.

Welcome to your new cafe.  We can’t wait to fire up our coffee roaster, cook you some beautiful food and help you chill out.  We have developed a new menu with a strong ethos on nutrition, sharing and a modern way of eating great food. We have also designed a new interior that supports both local business's & artists. Stop by our cafe, grab a plate and let us know what you think. We look forward to seeing you...

A visual diary of the Stephenson St Development

It's been a crazy few weeks and we are so close to the finish line. The extension at Stephenson St has gone into its final stages of development and we are so excited to open the doors and let you see. Take a look at our gallery and see how the space has transformed

Taste testing our new menu

With our Stephenson St cafe re-opening very soon, it only makes sense that we also launch with a new and improved menu. Our chefs have created a beautiful selection of light bites & tasty meals, perfect for the summer season and beyond.

Made in Birmingham

We recently visited our local steel workers to check the progress on our new furniture. All of our furniture at yorks is designed by us in-house and handmade in Birmingham using reclaimed & recycled materials.