Friday, 23 May 2014

The Breakfast Club Soho - Finally! (Review)

This post has been a long time coming. Firstly, I would just like to highlight my sheer excitement at the fact that EXAM SEASON is over! The intensity has dissipated and I am once again FREE to trawl London, take long walks and day dream in peaceful, undisturbed bliss! The fear of procrastination no longer looms, and I am SO excited for summer! 

Anyhow, let’s digress….

On one warm and breezy August summer morning in September-ish last year, myself & a co-worker chilled out at work before our restaurant opened for breakfast.

“Yo, check this out” he said to me, nearing his phone screen enough so that I could see the wildly portioned eggs Benedict breakfast that he’d ordered the morning before at ‘some restaurant called the Breakfast Club’.


You had me at an eggs Benedict you, Mr Breakfast Club.

I mean, I served eggs Benedict for breakfast, lunch and dinner during full time waitressing work. The sight of regular ole’ huveos and hollandaise was getting pretty damn boring – (bearing in mind just how much the staff food menu totally exploits eggs). You see, attractive eggs of any kind were becoming rather scarce in number. The breakfast club must have had something very special about it…
Over the next few months; friends started to go in and come out.

A particularly cool thing about this place was mentioned by an enthusiastic friend of mine following this recently past British Pancake Day:


(Pancakes @ the Breakfast Club, Hoxton. This is not my image, see
#BreakfastClubRespect #Genius #TooGoodToBeTrue

“…And did you manage it?”

“No. They are absolutely huge, Tash. I wanted to enjoy them.”

Say what? You turned down 17 free pancakes because you couldn’t tackle the stack? B*tch please!

Like, I NEEDED to go here and simulate this challenge for myself (I say simulate since the 17 deal is only on for pancake day – so mark that in your diaries for next year).

Yet, for some crazy reason, (and a million + 1 different conversations later - with all of these other, super lucky BC enthusiasts who had already visited the breakfast club without me)…I didn’t actually make it there until yesterday. May 22nd 2014. And man, man was it a nice day….

Pancakes, berries, vanilla whipped cream and maple syrup at the Breakfast Club Soho. 
As measly as 4 whippy vanilla-y cream pancakes topped with berries and a truckload of maple syrup may sound next to this yardstick stack of 17 whoppers…They took a good long 40 minutes to get through.  

However, most of the pancake munching time itself was consumed by the most amazing company which I was accompanied by...

Now let me diverge a little and tell you this crazily cute story about 3 breakfast club lovers who were also united over continuous eggs Benedict’s.  

Ellery and Sarah are 2 gorgeous US university students who have hungrily been roaming the streets of London and beyond (Ireland, France) since New Year’s Day (- 1 day for Sarah thanks to snow induced airline slacking). Here a few things that you should probably know about Ellery and Sarah:

Ellery & Sarah 
Ellery ( The Blondie, left)
·         She has this insane weakness for Eggs Benedict. It brought us together.
·         She loves England, but she’s pretty certain that given the chance it would be France > London.  For some completely unjustified reason, she reminds me of Taylor Swift. I blame the accent.
·         She studies film and writing; so naturally, she’s super creative and insightful + passionate about the treasures of the world and the small things in life – and yes, that 100% includes Disneyland.
·         She’s also Gemini - so this really shouldn’t surprise you ;)
Ellery & I!

Sarah (The Cutie, right):

·         Sarah too, has the same insane weakness for Eggs Benedict as Ellery, but her passion for Elvis slightly outweighs the eggs Benedict dedication.
·         She is seriously considering a bigger move to London in the near future. Exotic Memphis or smoggy London? The latter apparently. This girl has some huge London appreciation as well as a soft spot for Dublin and Belfast.  I love it.
·         She is also mightily disappointed that 2014 hasn’t brought any snow with it so far...

“You guys don’t like snow here? Does it mess up your lives?”

“Why don’t you keep wishing for it and then just see what happens...?”

Every Londoner knows that London does not do snow. Like, it just doesn’t. If anything, it is a blessing that 2014 hasn’t let the roads turn black with polluted icy road sludge, or exposed the true inefficiency of our transport and salt system.

·         Lastly, Sarah is just utterly loveable. She is so kind and chilled out. She also gave me a card with an onion on it. Onions are my favourite vegetable and this had actually gone totally unspoken. Thanks shallot Sarah <3.

Sarah & I. 
Pulling their 2 characters together, Ellery & Sarah used to come and visit the place where I worked every single Tuesday for a couple of months. They were customers (the best customers ever).  6pm never put them off. It was “Eggs Benedict!” every single time (except for once). Upon interrogation, they one justified their compulsive choice with: “We don’t know…the sauce here is just so good…like…we don’t have sauce like that back home in the US.” ... Egg addiction, anyone? We got talking. Somehow the Breakfast Club became exchanged as a mutual recommendation. As a result, we were pretty much destined to be diner buddies from there onwards.

Sadly, my workplace + their brunch date place closed suddenly. We were so used to seeing each other every week that we hadn’t exchanged Facebook or numbers yet. Apparently they turned up to the gaping vacancy which once served them brunch for dinner…only to be greeted by empty windows and closed doors. Where had Benedict gone? 

But, a couple of weeks later, they had managed to find me on Facebook! We quickly organized a brunch at our new favorite spot (The Breakfast Club, where else?!) and spent the afternoon catching up together.  It was a total infusion of (rainstorms) chit chat, maple syrup, and sweet shakes. Bliss @ the BC.

I always remember how my mum always used to say that, as great as it may be to eat out with your friends – all you guys will do together is chit chat; meanwhile, all of the food which you looked forward to so much will be inhaled and vanished before you even know it… I think this is kinda funny (since my mum loves her lunch dates more than anything) even if is true – But the whole experience and laughter that results from great lunch company totally cancel this phenomenon out every single time…

Okay. So that was a long introduction. But hey, let’s swiftly cut to the bit which you were all waiting for.

PANCAKES! *Insert fireworks here*.

The Breakfast Club which we had selected was the Soho Branch, D’Arblay Street which is subtly tucked behind the back roads of Oxford Circus/Tottenham court road. We were already well aware that queues here are a regular occurrence. By meeting at 1:30pm in such a prime location, there was a definite risk that we would have to queue. Upon arrival, it was a pleasant surprise that the ‘queue’ that was consisted of a less than 10 minute wait (it was a weekday after all). We were seated quickly and were given super friendly service. (Shout out for Neville – the super cool Australian dude with long-ish dark hair who promoted to us the fantabulous Elvis shake, and basically gave us an excuse to return – you were fab).

The menu is pretty extensive. Ellery and Sarah got some healthy green shakes which had mango in it (Unpictured – I just remember that they were absurdly green). Here is Ellery looking happy with her pancakes though! 

Whilst I got the Elvis shake 

Elvis shake = Vanilla ice cream, banana + peanut butter; 3 ingredients with hint of absolute genius. Apparently Mr Elvis put peanut butter onto everything. From here, I draw the conclusion that Elvis and I are long lost twins. (So Sorry Sarah, he’s mine).

According to E+S it tasted “EXACTLY LIKE A REESES PEANUT BUTTER CUP”. I was sold by the plain old menu description of it… let alone the heavenly thick and creamy reality…it was simply a blitz of pure, pea-nutty & viscous-y bliss.  Although £4.90 for it was pretty pricey for what it is, I’d say that it serves as one of those one-time, no excuses kinda things that just pairs super well with pancakes. If you classify yourself as a peanut butter fanatic, then do not be deterred by the price because: YOLO. (This is coming from a piggy bank chick who only ever orders tap water with a meal).  I don’t think managed to picture it though, Oops.

And as for the stars of the show…these pictures genuinely do not to the pancakes justice. They were huge. We were all super keen to tuck in so the shots aren’t fantastic. They were thick + dense. Some people may prefer the ‘super fluffy kind’ – but it is pretty hard to complain about the quality of the pancakes when you are faced with a stack like this. The vanilla cream was lovely, relatively thick and…just…oh so vanilla-y. (I bloody love vanilla). The berries were a nice addition, though I personally would have preferred some starchy banana to go with the pure stodge that is pancakes. However, I think many people would genuinely pick the berries over anything else. I’m just one of those rare few who can’t stand the natural freshness of berries with sticky + heavy indulgence…

Pancakes, berries, vanilla whipped cream and maple syrup at the Breakfast Club Soho.

Speaking of sticky, the absolute cherry on the cake was the bottle of maple syrup which comes with the pancakes. You know how in a pizzeria they give you a bottle of chilli olive oil to drown your pizza in upon consumption, and this makes one super happy? The bottle of maple syrup was the brunch-time equivalent, - a generous touch which probably doesn’t cost the company a penny; but makes the customers day anyway. My bowl became an utter basin for streaming rivers of maple syrup. The pancakes were suffocating in a golden and gooey sticky mess. Understandably, my hands were way too occupied with having to deal with this sticky mess so I couldn’t picture the post-dousing stack state. E+S gracefully stuck to the berries and the recommended sugar dose. We talked, laughed & enjoyed the atmosphere.

Pancakes, berries, vanilla whipped cream and maple syrup at the Breakfast Club Soho.

Overall, the breakfast club is absolutely fantastic value for money. Although people from other parts of the country may find the prices a little too much (I.E., my best friend in Durham claims she can get a gigantic fry up for little over £3 in her alternative ‘local’ Breakfast Club fakery) – considering that we are in central London, any place where breakfast + drink together averages at around £9-£13 is absolutely incredible.

The portions are gigantic. As we entered, the smell of a hearty brunch hit us, simultaneously to the sights of other customers being served mountains of eggs, sausages, cinnamon French toast, bacon and beans. Yes, - beans! It is super rare to find places that chuck the baked beans in without question. Too many brunch places in London skimp on the baked beans in the name continental European authenticity or whatever – since they don’t exactly go with “cwoissants or pan doo chocolatz” … Baked beans are 100% necessary and I’m super proud to announce that the Breakfast Club respects this component of a healthy brunch/lunch/breakfast or whatever you consider your trip there to be. 

So, the bottom-est of the bottom line? The BC is amazing. It was totally worth the 9 month wait. My only complaint is that there are only a mere 5 of them in London! (with a 6th in progress). Unfortunately I didn’t manage to snap any pictures of inside the Soho branch this time around, but, since it was kinda small, I really think that they should somehow increase the capacity of their restaurants since they are well and truly in high demand from people all over the capital and beyond. Nevertheless, I’m sure that they have established this problem. I for one will most certainly be back (Even if E+S can’t join me, sad face). For starters, I cannot wait to try out the other branches, have an Elvis shake take two and attempt to order something different! (I’m not sure how much will power I have for variety though). But what can I say? The eggs Benedict prophecy must be fulfilled sometime soon…

And most finally, it is just so cool how a pair of regulars turned out to be such great friends. I call Ellery and Sarah my Trans-Atlantic buddies now. I cannot believe that they are flying home tomorrow. The BC was the perfect way to say goodbye. Time has gone so quickly and I wish that they could start their 6 months here all over again! Nevertheless, I know that we will be seeing each other again soon!  Did somebody say Perth?! Tee-he. 

The Breakfast Club, Soho. 

Thanks for reading my review of the BC! I am absolutely PSYCHED that exam seasons are over. I have so much planned for summer and I cannot wait for it to all unravel over tealightsky! It is the greatest feeling to be able to invest time in the blog once again, exams are crazy. Thank God they are only so intense for such a short amount of time! 

What’s your experience with the BC?

Anyone know of any other well portioned and decently priced brunch places in London with lots of variety? Preferably with pancakes? (Pancakes constitute variety for me, but I encourage new suggestions too!) 

What kind of places do you like to eat out at most? 

Tash xo


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