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“Confusing menu and poor service.”
Review of Cafe Soya

Cafe Soya
Ranked #375 of 2,342 Restaurants in Birmingham
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $45 - $45
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Delivery, Reservations, Takeout
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Delivery, Reservations, Takeout
Reviewed December 31, 2012

We ate there yesterday (31 December) after a long day shopping at the Bullring.
As a vegan, I had been looking forward to this place. We had planned to go right into China Town, but tired and hungry we decided against, so I was really pleased that this restaurant that I had seen online was not far from the car park on Pershore Street where we had left the car and a short walk from the Bullring itself.
It is nice and spacious inside and has a nice feel to it. A friendly waiter ushered us to our seat showed us the menu, then disappeared ..........?! Finally after nearly 15 minutes we signalled and a waitress came to us. The menu itself is very confusing, and it is hard to know what is made out of tofu and what is meat. The waitress was not terribly good at explaining the options, particularly as I am a strict vegetarian. I ordered a soup as a starter and tofu with a spicy vegetables and noodle dish, which I make at home on a regular basis, and if she had taken the time to explain more, I probably could have had something a lot nicer.
As it turned out, my 9 year old wandered to a leaflet stand by the door and found other menus - one of which had a kids meal for £5.50, and one listed all the vegetarian options (although still confusing, this was more helpful), another listed certain meal deals. There were also chef specials written on the wall. At no point did anyone show us these menus or specials, which is quite annoying. We asked if we could change our order to something from the kids menu which they did. However whilst my son ordered a meal for children (which showed a picture of a chunky breaded fish fillet, chips and peas). What he actually got was FISH FINGERS, chips and peas! We asked for a knife and fork as I defy anyone to use chopsticks to eat fish fingers and chips - a different waiter seemed annoyed at the request and only brought a fork. Then we had to ask someone else for ketchup. Meanwhile, my soup was tepid and bland, although my husband enjoyed his spare rib starter but said that too was not very hot.
The main courses arrived. Very large portions. My food was OK, but nothing to write home about and disappointingly had very small amounts of poor quality tofu - similar to a well known brand that you can buy in supermarkets, and not the kind of chunky firm tofu I am used to getting in Chinese restaurants. The flavours were basic and I had to put liberal amounts of the spicy chilli condiment that was on the table to give it some taste. My husband had a squid dish, which he seemed to enjoy.
Lots of local people eat there and from overhearing conversations it seems popular - it might be because of the large portions perhaps? But for me, the service and the food just lacked the WOW factor. That said I would probably go back there now that I know what to expect, if I just wanted something to eat after a long day walking around the city centre. But it's really nothing special and on my next visit to Birmingham I will probably venture further into China Town to look for something better.

Thank SlinkyMooMoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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179 - 183 of 281 reviews

Reviewed December 28, 2012

We have eaten he on many occasions, usually as a group of 10 or more, the last n
Being a Xmas party this year.
Always good quality food, great choice and good atmosphere. Service standards are fair, not over the top but for the price compared against the traditional Chinese restaurants and choices just around the corner this is a great experience. Average price of around £8 per head and good choice at bar -cant go wrong .

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Thank Dewi P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2012

This is one of our lunchtime stalwarts, but is also fab in the evening for a big group or just the family. we eat here a couple of times a month, usually off their drink, main and dessert for £6.95.

It is a total bargain, and really tasty. One word of advice though, the portions are enormous, so don't eat much for breakfast!

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Thank kduk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2012

One of the best restaurants we go to. Don't let the name put you off, they cater for meat eaters as well, especially if you like seafood like i do. Very fragrant, good quality food at a very reasonable price and massive quantity! Try the Tom Yum soup, its the best in Birmingham.

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Thank Hannah W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2012

Watching the queues of people twenty+ long waiting to get into, nandos and the other chain restaraunts is depressing.
We often forget about the excellent smaller places just a little way out of the city. Cafe Soya is one such place. Right on the edge of China town area, next to market. it never fails to impress.
Even though we had to wait a whole 5 minutes for a seat. (Yes sarcasm).5 minutes is nothing....
Service was on the ball thanks to the guy running it. He never lets the waiting staff slow.
Food as usual was excellent. We had standard lunch time menu £6.95 for drink, choice of main, and then dessert. well worth £6.95 of anyones money. If I lived closer I'd never cook at the weekend.
Perfect way to recharge ones batteries during a busy christmas shop. If fact any time of year.
Highly recommended !

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Thank Jondiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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