Not Just For Breakfast!
Brighton Food Reviewer, Sarah Gathercole, December 2015
The Breakfast Club has come to Brighton. Starting out in Soho, they have headed south to open their eighth restaurant. Each restaurant has a different theme; for their restaurant by the sea, they have chosen to go tropical. Pink flamingos, flower lights, bunting and porcelain dogs; the décor is bright and notably quirky. It feels a bit like an American diner, with booths and all day breakfasts; there’s a hum of young and cool hanging in the air; the Smiths are playing, and there’s 20% off for students – all day, every day.
There’s booze and burgers on the menu… breakfast is just the half of it. They have their own merchandise too – a tea towel with ‘Sex, drugs and bacon rolls’ written over a heart and dagger design hangs on the wall and an array of mugs stand on display in a glass cabinet.
The menu is extensive and is broken into pre and post 5pm sections. The vibe is breakfast in all its shapes and forms, along with other American bites like, BC Burgers, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and Tacos. Before 5pm, you can choose from the extensive range of classic, to not so classic, breakfasts (all around £10). The Full Monty – with everything including black pudding, Reggie The Veggie – with ‘home style fried potatoes’, Boston Beans – with pulled pork and beans, Chorizo Hash Browns – a BC original, a dedicated Benedict section, a dedicated Egg section…the list goes on. They also have their happy hour 5-7pm every day: cocktails are served for £5, there is £1 off all beers and £4 off bottles of wine.
This evening my partner and I have come along to The Breakfast Club to try out their cocktails and feast on their Tacos. We are seated in a large, but comfy booth – our legs dangling over the edge of our seats, not reaching the ground. The table is scattered with various flyers and menus, advertising different events and promotions The Breakfast Club is running.
Our waitress is young and smiley and seems to really enjoy her job.
The atmosphere is easy going and although – oddly – the place is relatively empty, there is still a nice buzz about it. Perhaps the folks of Brighton are yet to discover The Breakfast Club by night?
We can’t resist ordering two starters before our Tacos. There are only four to choose from, but two of our favourites jump straight out at us. I am a massive fan of Mac ‘n’ Cheese; I can’t get enough of it. I have a recipe book at home, which is full exclusively of different kinds of wonderfully naughty, but simply delicious macaroni cheese. So when I spot this on the Appetizer menu (£3.50), I don’t care what my other options are. My partner feels much the same when he spots the Buffalo Wings.
We order two cocktails to come with our starters. Not that fond of super sweet drinks, I often struggle to choose cocktails for myself. However, the cocktail menu here is not too elaborate, which makes my decision easier. I pick the Basil No Faulty – Vodka, Lime, Basil and Elderflower (£8) – hoping that this will be sour enough for me to enjoy. My partner orders the BC Espresso Martini – Vodka, Kahlua and Espresso (£8).
The service is prompt…the plate of chicken wings is massive!
We look at each other, both thinking, ‘we’ve got Tacos coming after this’! The wings are coated in a vivid red, spicy buffalo sauce and a blue cheese dressing on the side. They are meaty and cooked well. The sauce is really tasty, but we agree it errs slightly on the side of a BBQ sauce; it just isn’t as spicy and sour as we are expecting. The blue cheese dipping sauce is a seamless pairing for the wings and in no time at all we munch every last one.
The Mac ‘n’ Cheese doesn’t stand a chance either.
I am served the perfect starter amount and it’s simply the cheesiest Mac ‘n’ Cheese I have ever tasted.
Need I say more?
We do a quick swap with the cocktails whilst we make a decision on our next course. As tasty as my Basil No Faulty is, the elderflower proves a little sweet for me after all. It is an interesting cocktail and the distinctive basil flavour really works with the lime and vodka. The melting ice does dilute the sweetness over time as well. However, I am happy to take the Espresso Martini off my partner, he is sad to see it go, but enjoys a sweeter cocktail. The Espresso Martini is undoubtedly a pretty drink, and it tastes great too – smooth, rich and alcoholic!
The BC Tacos come as two corn tacos, served with a side of strawberry and cucumber relish. There are four different toppings to choose from: Chicken – Piri Piri chicken and avocado crema (£9), Veggie – sweet potato, kale feta cheese and pumpkin seeds, (£8.50), Beef – grilled steak, rocket and neon crema (£10) and Fish – blackened fish fillet served with mango pico de gallo (£9). There is also the option to add guacamole (£1), cheese (£1) or coleslaw (£1.50). All sound great to me, but I take the fish and my partners goes with the beef.
We also order another two cocktails: Marmalade Margarita (£8) – a recommendation from our waitress on the basis it is a bit less sweet, and their Christmas Special for my partner.
The Tacos appear manageable, not measly, but manageable. They are presented well, on a large metal plate with branded paper underneath – another nod to the American diner. Both dishes are colourful – as Mexican food should be – and each has a little side relish, served to compliment the topping. My fish is cooked perfectly, melts in the mouth, and comes with a lovely fresh mango pico de gallo, which off sets the chargrilled flavour of the fish.
My partners beef tastes smoky and well- done, the neon crema adds a distinctive creaminess and the pico de gallo of tomatoes and onions works well alongside it. There is also some raw, red cabbage in the mix as well, which adds a great bit of crunch. We do feel that the tacos themselves let the dishes down a little; they are a bit hard around the edges and don’t quite match up to those we have eaten in some of the Mexican restaurants in town. Having said that, the toppings are flavourful and we happily finish every last.
As we contemplate dessert, I question whether we need any more sugar after we sink into our second cocktail of the night. My recommendation – made with El Jimador Tequila, Marmalade, Cointreau, Lime and Orange Rind – is very agreeable and is going down very well indeed. My partner’s choice is literally Christmas in a glass; it smells to me like a festive scented candle, but he seems to like it! It is clear that my argument is lost on him; he can never have too much ‘sweet’.
Without me really noticing, he orders the chocolate brownie from our waitress. She reassures us that the portion is small and that if we share, we’ll be fine. Let me tell you, the Warm Chocolate Brownie (£4.50) at The Breakfast Club is not small, I can say that with complete conviction! It is however, absolute chocolatey heaven, with ice cream and some raspberries thrown in for good measure.
So did we manage to eat it all? Of course we did!!
When it’s time to go, we can barely remove ourselves from the booth. We are full to the brim with super comforting, no thrills, good fun grub, and to be honest, have grown a bit attached to our lovely waitress. The Breakfast Club is not trying to be fancy, it’s just trying to be The Breakfast Club.
I have to admit, I was a little confused at first – why am I going for Tacos and Cocktails at somewhere called The Breakfast Club? But it’s been good! It’s certainly helped that the playlist could have been compiled from our very own CD collection, but there’s still no doubt, we’ve had a good night.
And now I know where to go if I’ve got a late night hankering for Eggs Florentine and a white Sangria on the side!