Have you ever wondered about those people lining up outside branches of The Breakfast Club? I used to. What was the attraction for bacon and eggs? What was it about that particular place that made them worth lining up for? Well, I don’t wonder any more. Because I am one of them. Ergh. I have now waited in that tortuous line for 2 weekends in a row now. And I’ll probably do it again. The shame.
Visit #1 took place on New Years Eve and was a relatively short 10 minute wait. Having been burnt badly by bad coffee in London cafes, I instinctively shied away from coffe and was rewarded with a glass of sweet, refreshing orange juice. Chorizo Hash Browns was a plate of 2 fried eggs, 2 chorizo sausages, grilled mushrooms, and the disappointing mis-leading menu item of ‘hash browns’. I felt lead on. The ‘hash browns’ turned out to be more akin to hash than hash browns. Never has more disappointment been felt than my expecting crunchy golden deep-fried potatoes with a soft inside, and receiving fried but still soft potatoes with peppers and onions mixed in. Boo. Once over the initial disappointment, I gave the contents on the plate a quick mix. Tasty, but not crunch anywhere on the plate.
The All American breakfast came with pancakes, 2 fried eggs, more of those non-hash-browns, bacon, sausage and nowhere near enough maple syrup to drown the pancakes and bacon in a delightful sugar-inducing coma. Pancakes were a little flaccid and pale.
Visit #2 was the following weekend. Clearly a real camera was present this time. Not in the mood for a ‘proper’ breakfast I went for the club sandwich; grilled chicken, bacon, tomato and cheese. Overly generous with the amount of the chicken to the detriment of a potentially great sandwich; the chicken was the dominate player on the plate. Feeling greedy, I ordered a side of chips that were reminiscent of Byron’s skin on chips. Coleslaw had lost a little bit of it’s crunch and was a milky mess, but still helped to cut through the sandwich. I finished the chips, but the sandwich was so large I left a 1/4.
The Full Monty. Buried underneath the toast is baked beans, grilled tomatoes, a thick slice of black pudding, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and the afore-mentioned-not-really-hash-brown-hash-browns. This time we were both quick to order the orange juice. The fact that the serving of beans was limited to one spoonful and not the ladleful soup-mess seen in other lesser-cafes was much appreciated.
So what is the attraction of the place? Having been twice now, the food they are serving, to be honest, is not particularly amazing. The fare is standard cafe-fare that as an Australian, I take for granted. What London lacks; that can be found in other major European cities is a cafe-culture. The people who line up at The Breakfast Clubs’ 4 locations are not looking for high-end gourmet breakfasts on a weekend. Nor are they looking for the greasy spoon breakfasts where heaped pile of cheap, salty ingredients are swimming in a pile of baked beans and only cost a couple quid including a cup of soapy coffee. They want a decent pile of bacon and eggs, in a relaxed environment. Sadly this market is largely ignored in London. Slowly it is changing – news of opening cafes that focus on breakfast open up every few months, and soon options for a good breakfast in Shoreditch will be plentiful. I hope.