Wednesday 25 February 2015

Joe's Cafe - Brighton

24 Upper Hamilton Road

Opening hours
Monday to Friday - 8am till 3pm
Saturday - 9am till 3pm
Sunday - Closed

Not my usual exterior shot but I like it and it gives you an idea of what to look for once you are on Upper Hamilton Road. To be honest there were so many people waiting outside it made it impossible to get a better shot, great to see how popular it was though! Joe's Cafe was voted as Brighton's best breakfast last year by Brighton and Hove independent, read the article here.

It was busy the entire time we were there but I did manage to get an interior shot after some customers had left.

 Everything you need is found inside the condiment box.

 A vast breakfast menu is available with decent vegan and veggie options.

I wasn't feeling particularly hungry but decided to order the biggest breakfast to ensure I got to try all of the items on offer.

We were offered water which was nice as I had a bit of a hangover.

My wife had a mug of tea, the milk came in a small milk bottle, very nice touch!

The cappucchino was great and best of all it was offered free!

 The biggest full English breakfast cost £8.20 and looked really good.

2 slices of buttered toast comes with it too, nicely toasted and cut from a decent loaf.

 Crispy fried potatoes and nice chunky mushrooms, both tasted amazing!

Thick cut locally sourced bacon and a delicious free range egg, the bigger breakfast also comes with black pudding.

A generous amount of really tasty tomatoes and a locally sourced sausage hold back a sea of beans.

My wife went for the veggie option but my photo was too blurry to do it justice, she said it tasted amazing though! I will show you instead a dish that a friend who was joining us for breakfast had, the meaty hangover hash. It's a speciality at Joe's that is clearly very popular, sautéed potatoes with bacon, sausage, onion and mushrooms topped with a fried egg, cheese and chives.

I hadn't visited Brighton for a couple of years but as soon as I heard that The Meteors would be playing at the opening night of Brighton Tattoo Convention I knew I would be returning again. I had so far reviewed four breakfasts in Brighton but this time I wanted to visit the place serving the best, Joe's Cafe was the place I was hearing about so my decision was made. Our plans to not drink too much at the tattoo convention didn't quite go to plan with us returning back to our hotel just after 4.30am. We had to leave our hotel by 10am and made it out just in time feeling a bit worse for wear. We were meeting friends at Joe's Cafe for breakfast at 11am and safe in the knowledge that nothing cures a hangover like a decent fry up we headed towards Upper Hamilton Road..

Upon entering - The cafe itself is quite compact with a warm friendly environment and heaps of character. Find a table (this place is popular so you may have to wait but it's well worth it!) and everything you need is there right in front of you, a good varied breakfast menu and a large wooden condiment box containing sauces, sugar cutlery etc. Local artists work is displayed on the vibrant coloured walls and the chunky wooden tables combined with quirky details like the tiny bottles containing milk are what make this place look and feel so special. There is full table service and you simply pay at the counter on your way out, a great system and you won't find yourself wondering where anything is as this has all been well thought out. 9/10

Service - The service here was excellent and really friendly, clearly a team that enjoy their work! We had reserved a table but there was a slight mix up with the booking, it was a nice sunny day so we waited outside until a table was free. We were told a table would be available soon and the drinks would be on the house due to the mix up, it sounded good to us! Once inside we were greeted, our orders were taken and everything arrived in a reasonable amount of time. After the hot drinks had arrived we were offered a jug of water, my wife and I were quite hungover from the night before so this was perfect. We were asked if we needed anything else and later if everything was ok, after eating we chatted with the friends we had met for well over an hour and didn't feel at all rushed. 9/10

Contents - 1 sausage, 2 slices of bacon, 2 slices of black pudding, 1 fried egg, fried potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and 2 slices of buttered toast. 8/10

Presentation - It looked stunning when it arrived with the beans held back by the sausage and a wall of tomatoes ensuring the egg didn't come into contact with any bean juice. This of course doesn't worry me but I know that many that can't cope with egg/bean contact will sigh a relief at this presentation! Clearly a lot of care had gone into cooking and serving this breakfast, everything looked nicely cooked and resulted in a colourful and delicious looking combination of items. 9/10

The food - Your taste buds are in for a treat, the ingredients used on this breakfast are good quality and locally sourced and you can really taste the difference! The sausage had a nice firm texture and stunning flavour, quite different to any other I had tried before, a great choice of breakfast sausage. The bacon was packed full of flavour and cut nice and thick, it reminded me of the amazing bacon served in Norwich's House Cafe. Tasty black pudding and a lovely free range fried egg with a runny golden yolk, this went nicely on top of the buttered toast which was from a decent loaf. The mushrooms were cut into nice wide slices and tasted excellent, as did the slow roasted tomatoes. The fried potatoes tasted really good with a crisp golden edge and fluffy centre, these accompanied the beans really well. 9/10

Value for money - Joe's "bigger" full English breakfast costs £8.20 and includes 2 slices of toast. It's a good size (I didn't manage to finish it!) and with such quality ingredients being used it seemed a fair enough price to me. 8/10

Veggie option - Yes, in 2 sizes and a vegan option too (See menu pic above)

Overall - Joe's Cafe is a good 15 minutes walk up a steep hill North of the train station but don't let this put you off as the reward at the end is well worth it! I can see why it was voted Brighton's best breakfast and it is another perfect example of how chains can't touch independents like this for quality and good service. A lovely little cafe with a really friendly staff team serving stunning breakfasts, loved it! 8.5/10

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