If you’re willing to stand in line for what may be hours at Soho’s trendy diner, The Breakfast Club, your reward will be a delicious, American-style breakfast in one of London’s most quirky cafes. Luckily, we managed to time it just right and spent only a minimal amount of time outside the famous bright yellow diner before a table for two opened up, making our meal all the more rewarding!
Lovingly referred to as the Brekky Club by true fans, The Breakfast Club has five cafes spread about London with another planned to pop up this year near London Bridge. It was Melanie, a fellow blogger I’d met at the first London blogger afternoon tea, who suggested we visit The Breakfast Club’s most popular location, the one that started it all, the original cafe on D’Arblay Street in Soho for a bite of brunch while she was in town. Kudos to Melanie. If not for her, I’d likely never have given this place a chance. I’m not one to try out the trendy places because trendy means busy, and busy means I’ll have to wait, and if I have to wait for food when I’m hungry – well, let’s just say you don’t want to be around to witness that meltdown. It was a very good thing we went at 10am on a weekday – we hit the sweet spot right in between breakfast and lunch and only waited less than half an hour outside in the cold before we were ushered to our table.
Immediately on entering, it was obvious why there is always such a long line outside this cafe’s doors – the place is tiny! Around five tables fill the space at the front by the juice bar, and in the small addition at the back, there is just barely enough space to fit another six. Don’t expect to have a private conversation here – depending on where you’re seated, you might be uncomfortably close to your fellow diners at the next table. Some might call this cozy, I call it cramped.
But what The Breakfast Club in Soho lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in personality. Named after the beloved 80’s movie of the same name, the inside of the restaurant has been painted with colors just as vivid as the outside, and the decor is a nostalgic throwback to the decade with lots of Polaroid photos, vintage postcards and buttons, and even items from the owners’ own childhood bedrooms covering the walls. Music from the likes of Depeche Mode, Madonna, and the Bangles plays softly in the background. Cafes may be a dime a dozen in London, but I’ve yet to visit one as delightful as this. Besides the food, the 80’s theme was my favorite element of the place.
Speaking of the food, that’s the other reason the line stretches all the way down the street on a busy day – it’s really freakin’ good! (You’re impressed by my extensive vocabulary, aren’t you?) But seriously, my Pancakes and Berries very nearly brought me to tears with how good they were. Like many of the items on the menu here, my pancakes were made “American-style” – read: big and fluffy. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say the secret’s in the flour. Every other pancake I’ve tried in the UK has fallen flat – pun intended – but not these babies. My brunch consisted of three good-sized pancakes topped with vanilla cream and loaded with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries and then drizzled with real maple syrup – not that golden syrup crap they try to sell me at the grocery store.
The type of food isn’t the only thing that’s American-style here, so are the portion sizes. After an hour and a half, this was what I had left and I sure did hate to leave it behind. Before I visited The Breakfast Club, I would have told you that no food is worth waiting in line for over an hour for, but I would have been wrong. I needed this little dose of America more than I realized!
But don’t worry, die-hard Englanders – while the menu may be geared towards an American-style breakfast and brunch, the Full Monty will provide you with your full English breakfast fix. (If Cory had been with me, this is what he would have ordered. I think he’s planning on changing his citizenship soon.) Also on the menu are multiple options for vegetarians, gluten-free dieters, and healthy people. Brunch is served until 5pm everyday. A lunch and dinner menu is available from noon until close, but who wants to eat a sandwich when you can have breakfast? Weirdos, that’s who.
Comparative to the area, prices at The Breakfast Club are very reasonable. All items on the brunch menu were under £10. My breakfast was only £7.50 which is considerably less than what I’ve paid for brunch at other area cafes of far less quality. You’re getting a steal at The Breakfast Club – that’s all I’m saying. Service was also quite good, and we never felt as if we were being rushed to finish our meal. Although, if we’d been seated in the front section, it might have been a different story – a bunch of shivering, hungry people peering in the windows and watching me eat would have had me scarfing down my meal in record time!
Unfortunately, beating the crowd isn’t as simple as booking ahead. You can’t make reservations at the Soho location until 6pm so you’re most likely going to be forced to wait patiently, or not so patiently, in the line outside. My best suggestion is to try going during the week – Saturdays and Sundays will definitely be the busiest since people arrive as early as 8am, hopeful that a spot of eggs benedict will be just the right cure for the previous night’s shenanigans.
The Breakfast Club in Soho is impossible to miss – just look for the crayon yellow storefront with the line winding down the street, and then queue up! It’s going to be worth the wait!
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