Big is beautiful at the Breakfast Club’s new location in Hoxton.
Well known in both Soho and Islington for their mega breakfasts, filling burgers and funky interiors, The Breakfast Club has set out to conquer East London with a new location just off Hoxton Square. The interior of the restaurant is a hodgepodge of old school pub, trendy caff and outdoor garden party, with a variety of mismatched wooden furniture and vintage tables spread across black and white tiled floors. Nestled in amongst the furniture you’ll find everything from worn-in armchairs to a Mickey Mouse statuette to an ancient TV, along with trendy touches like brightly painted buckets holding bottles of Heinz ketchup and HP sauce. Some of the tables seat two, some are canteen-style and could hold far more.
An open kitchen area and some high stools take up the left side of the restaurant, above which declares, in mismatched lettering, some lyrics from Men at Work’s Down Under: I met a strange lady / She made me nervous / She took me in and gave me breakfast. For even more retro quirkiness don’t miss a trip to the toilets, which are papered with scenes from ‘80s children’s classics – Strawberry Shortcake, He-Man and Fraggle Rock - just as you’d expect from a place called The Breakfast Club.
Count the pairs of skinny jeans and you’ll come to the conclusion that the clientele are locals pouring in from Hoxton and neighbouring Shoreditch and Spitalfields. But look closer and you’ll see the slightly relieved expressions of the people in suits, happy to be chowing down on a burger instead of a three course meal at a white tableclothed restaurant. This would be an ideal place for lunchtime break, a post-work drink and burger or just somewhere to soak up all that alcohol after a night at the loads of bars that line the area – The Breakfast Club is open until midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Service is pleasant and friendly but seems a bit confused, however this could be due to the fact that the restaurant is still in its early stages. Once they sort out a few teething problems (a faulty till, a pair of drinks aimed for the wrong table, a couple of seemingly long delays) everything should be well in check.
To start, there’s breakfast – everything from the relatively simple toast and bagels to the massive Full Monty (£8.50), which features bacon, sausages, black pudding, hash browns, toast, eggs and beans. Other choices include a bacon sandwich, American-style pancakes in a variety of combinations, a breakfast burrito and a vegetarian breakfast which, happily, includes the interesting addition of falafel instead of just removing all the meaty bits from a normal breakfast. Slightly posher choices include Eggs Benedict (£7), Eggs Florentine (£8) and asparagus with poached egg and Hollandaise and Parmesan (£6).
The portions are large here, so unless you’re absolutely starving it might be a wiser choice to stick with the Half Monty (£6.50). Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a half portion of the Full Monty, though, as the only things missing are the hash browns and the black pudding. Good quality ingredients are used. The solitary sausage, in particular, is made from tightly-packed coarse pork with tiny flecks of leek, which gives it a slightly oniony edge. The two eggs are large and well-set; they have a sunshine colour yolk that is runny but slightly set at its core. Add to this two smoky bacon rashers, a generous portion of beans and two fluffy slices of griddled white toast and you have a heaving plate that’s hard to finish off. Well worth the prices.
Non-breakfast options (there are loads, despite the name) include sandwiches, burgers, wraps and salads, plus some starters aimed at sharing, like nachos. Nothing on the menu looks too fussy, which is just what you want in a place like this. Whilst some dishes seem American influenced (chilli cheese fries, anyone?), choices like pie and mash fly the flag for the UK. The cheeseburger (£8) is, like the other dishes, absolutely enormous. The meat patty (cooked well done, with no pinkness, if you don’t specify) looks handmade due to a heavy sprinkling of spices and herbs in the meat and its tendency to fall apart in chunks – which doesn’t affect the flavour, but makes for awkward eating. Melted, gooey cheese, fresh lettuce and tomato slices and quite a lot of mayonnaise are slathered on the patty, set in between a soft, fluffy bun. On the side is a ramekin of crunchy, tangy coleslaw (nearly the size of the burger itself) and a trio of chips. Despite the fact that there are only three, they’re each easily a quarter of a potato and are obviously homemade, with a fluffy middle and a well textured and not too oily skin. A pot of spicy and sweet tomato sauce accompanies the chips if you’d prefer that instead of ketchup.
About half a dozen desserts (all £4.50) round off the food menu, with options like sticky toffee pudding, cheesecake and apple pie. The brownie, though it arrives without the promised ice cream, is a tall, square piece – more cake-like than brownie-like but rich and chocolatey nonetheless. It’s covered in a thin, sugary sauce that tastes more like toffee than chocolate fudge, but for such a huge portion it’s hard to be too picky – you won’t miss the ice cream, either.
Six wines are on offer, courtesy of a waist-high blackboard, with three whites and three reds from £12.50 to £20 (the cheapest of each is available by the glass from £4.40). Much more exciting though are the cocktails, which start from £6 (£6 cocktails in Hoxton? Surely there’s a misprint somewhere…) and include variations on classics like Bloody Marys and Mojitos. A few beers are on the list, including Red Stripe and Grolsch, from £3.30.
Non-alcoholic drinks include Sri Lankan tea and espresso-based coffees, all starting at about £2. There are about ten smoothies (£3.60) including a Tropical Gangster, a healthy mix of blueberry, pineapple, apple and ginger, with a flushed pink colour, a frothy top and a lingering, zingy aftertaste. Freshly pressed and/or squeezed juices start from about £3 and include a Virgin Apple Mojito, with pressed apple, mint and lime – refreshing, with a natural, sweet taste and big leaves of mint.
The Last Word
Massive portions, good quality food and a location that would make loads of restaurants jealous. Stop by after work or after a round of drinks and fill up without spending too much.