Great British Bake Off star closes Birmingham canalside tearoom for an exciting reason

Baked Brioche Toast at Cocoa by Ali
Baked Brioche Toast at Cocoa by Ali

One of the most Instagrammable cafe and patisserie - known for its brunches and Afternoon Tea experience - in Birmingham city centre has temporarily closed their doors for the second time.

The canalside cafe - Cocoa by Ali - owned by Great British Bake Off star Ali Imdad was previously located in Grand Central Shopping Central, but it left the venue in 2019 before moving to 26 Waterfront Walk. Ali appeared in the Great British Bake Off in 2013 and again in 2016 for the Great Christmas Bake Off.

Known for its amazing decor and Halal food, the restaurant’s team shared a message on Instagram that they will be temporarily closed from Sunday (September 24th).

Cocoa by Ali
Cocoa by Ali

They wrote: “It’s been a long time coming, but it is finally time for a MASSIVE much-needed revamp. And we’re talking MASSIVE! We can’t give away too much at this time, but what we can say is our store will be closing *this Sunday 24th at 7pm*, so come on down this weekend to have your final fix of macncheese or brioche baked toast or even the full English.

“We may go quiet for a few weeks, but prepare yourself for a culinary revolution with what we have planned just around the corner.”

However, their culinary revolution is set to take place elsewhere from its current location. The Cocoa by Ali team told BirminghamWorld: “We are closing temporarily and moving out of this location but can’t tell reveal more.”

We visited Cocoa By Ali - Here’s how it went

We went to the restaurant behind the Mailbox on Saturday (September 23) to taste their popular Mac N Cheese and Brioche Baked Toast before they closed the venue.

Chicken Tikka Mac N Cheese
Chicken Tikka Mac N Cheese

For those interested in experience the Afternoon Tea, it had to be booked 48 hours in advance. Otherwise, the restaurant was walk-ins only. The small canalside restaurant - decorated in pink from roof to floor - had beautiful flower features on the walls and roof but it did look like it needed a revamp.

After waiting for 10-15 minutes, we found a table for two - even though the place was busy with groups. Not surprisingly, when I visited with my husband, he was the only male guest - which made it clear that it was more of a place to hang with your gal pals.

Once we were seated in our comfy seats, we ordered a Chicken Tikka Mac N Cheese and a Brioche Baked Toast. While I am not one for desserts as meals, the brioche toast was an experience worth all the calories.

The food doesn’t taste good but also looks good. The toast was topped with ice cream and came with chocolate sauce along with an assortment of fresh berries. The Chicken Tikka Mac N Cheese comes with sourdough toast, salad, tiny poppadums and a savoury yoghurt dip. It was a lovely twist on the traditional American recipe.

The experience left us excited to see what more they had planned for the future, and hopefully, they reopen on a bigger scale soon. Their Leicester venue - which had closed for refurbishment last year - unfortunately, closed for good eventually.