Tuesday 5 April 2011

Bill's Cafe, Restaurant and Store - Brighton

The Depot
100 North Road

Breakfast times
Monday - Friday: 8am - Midday
Saturday and Sunday: 9am - Midday

Behind those large black doors is a hive of activity and some delicious things are being cooked up.

People clearly love spending time chatting and eating at Bill's, the place has a real buzz and a great atmosphere.

Blackboards hang from the ceiling and above the counter tempting you to the many delicious things on offer.

The cakes looked amazing but I was after something a bit more savoury.

Bill's all day breakfast with extra baked beans and bubble & squeak it was then!

Posh sugar lumps, cutlery in a can and tiny salt & pepper pots sat on each table.

There are lots of tables on the ground floor and a few on the 1st floor too.

A truly delicious coffee served with warm milk cost just under £2.

The people queuing were waiting for a free table to appear, this place is really popular and people seem quite prepared to wait, sometimes queuing out of the front door.

The food arrived stacked on top of toast and the beans were in a separate tin ready to be spilled onto your chosen spot.

The egg yolk was so close to popping but it hung on in there till it was cut into.

If you are after a large hearty banger then these small, almost egg shaped sausages may leave you feeling a tad disappointed, pop a piece in your mouth though and you will soon discover they are rather tasty!

Hidden underneath a fried egg I found a small gathering of fried mushrooms.

The bubble & squeak arrived a few minutes after the rest of the food and was the best I have tasted so far with a quite heavy hint of mustard.

The most expensive fry up I have eaten so far and as "up market" fry-ups go this was best in that genre so far.

Square plates generally irritate me but this rectangular plate seemed to frame the work of art that was placed on it perfectly.

A trip to Brighton for a friends 30th birthday party had arrived, we were staying in the campervan at Sheepcote Valley campsite quite close to Kemp Town about 30 minutes walk away from Brighton Pier. My blog has rarely taken me out of Norwich so I knew this weekend was going to offer a rare chance to sample a fry-up on the south coast, the only question was where? A number of friends had recommended places to try but we were meeting two friends who live in Brighton and they had somewhere lined up weeks ago so we decided to give it a try. My iphone 3g seems to get more unreliable everyday and with "maps" struggling to update the sudden sight of Bill's Cafe was the only thing stopping me from throwing Apple's unsupported and forgotten iphone 3g on the floor. I managed to take my exterior shot and headed to the entrance...

Upon entering - As you approach the entrance it is hard to picture what is going on inside, you almost feel yourself thinking "this can't be the right place." You part the plastic fly screens and step into an instantly appealing world, a hive of activity, the place is really busy and colourful and an instant feeling of "I love this place" hits you. There is so much going on around you, with many delicious plates of food being bought to the tables before your very eyes you hardly spot the smiling waitress greeting you. There are a lot of tables in the main ground floor cafe area, each one has cutlery, condiments and menus in the centre, there are also a few tables on the 1st floor balcony area. A huge wall of Bill's own produce runs the whole length of the Cafe, you can buy a huge selection of jams, grains, mustards etc. Just put a tick next to the items you would like on the flyer and hand it to your waiter or waitress. They will bring your groceries back to your table and the cost will be added to your bill. There is so much to look at in Bill's, everything looks impressive from the amazing cakes and juices to the stacked up breakfasts being bought out 4 at a time. 9/10

Service - The small army of waiters/waitresses swarm around the tables efficiently, balancing plates of food amazingly well. They may take a while to get to your table, as I said earlier this place is always busy. But rest assured as soon as your food is ready they will bring it straight to over to you and make time to pop back later checking everything is ok. 9/10

Contents - 2 small sausages, bacon, fried eggs, half a grilled tomato, mushrooms, toast and butter. I ordered baked beans and bubble & squeak as extras. 8/10

Presentation - Toast is usually served separately as people like to choose where to place it and what to do with it. I always put my eggs on top of my toast so was delighted to see this had already been done for me. Quite frankly I loved the way everything was presented balancing precariously on top of the toast. Hidden underneath the fried eggs were the tomato and mushrooms, perhaps they should have been visible but what the hell, on this occasion the presentation was spot on and suited the place perfectly. 9/10

The food - The very strangely shaped sausages did taste great but were not amazing. The bacon was high quality and quite well cooked, a real pleasure to eat. Fried eggs that at a glance looked a tad undercooked, they were however cooked just right but hadn't been flipped or had the yolks splashed with oil. On top of the really nice thick cut toast and butter was a small serving of fried mushrooms and possibly the tastiest "real" tomato I have tasted in a long time. Homemade bubble and squeak that had a fairly strong mustard taste went well with a nice stodgy serving of baked beans. 8/10

Value for money - The standard all day breakfast was £7.95 but I payed £10.45 as I had the extra's, this did seem a lot to spend on a fry-up but this place is about more than just the food, was special and stood out from the crowd so money well spent in my opinion. 8/10

Veggie option - Yes and finally a veggie option to get excited about!

Bill`s vegetarian breakfast - £7.95
Poached eggs, tomatoes, hummus, mushrooms, guacamole,
sweet chilli sauce & toast
with baked beans 1.00 with bubble and squeak 1.50

Overall - There are greasy spoons and cafe/bars all over the place but Bill's stood out as being a really unique experience, they have found a winning formula and are sticking to it. People clearly come here as it is a great place to hang out, spend time with friends and eat good food. If you are in Brighton then give it a try but be prepared to queue as this place is popular. 8.5/10

1 comment:

  1. Possibly the best fry up I have ever had, a pricey treat but worth it.