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The Breakfast Club Review

Nicole Dalamagas is less than impressed with The Breakfast Club

Published on June 3rd 2011.

The Breakfast Club Review

I often fondly remember such lines as ‘The chick can't hold her smoke!’ and ‘You wouldn't know her, she lives in Canada’, from John Hughes’s ’80s teen fad of my youth, The Breakfast Club. I was then suitably excited to try out the Breakfast Club cafe in Hoxton, one of three diner-style cafés  that have recently appeared on my doorstep. Modeled on the all-American diner, and with all the unappealing calorie-laden baggage that suggests, the Hoxton local is famed for its enormous all-day breakfasts and thick smoothies and shakes. But with so many mixed reviews I wonder – is this café, much like the movie from which it takes its name, one of era-defining excellence or just utter crap?

All the anxieties of my youth begin to resurface and I scour the vomit-worthy bright colours and scattered “feel good” accoutrements on its walls. In this hellhole of teenage angst and isolation, I almost want to hide in a corner, smoke a joint and throw on some Bikini Kill.


They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The meal which ‘breaks the fast’ of sleep and sparks off all those metabolic reactions in your stomach. Although I disagree that the same principle applies at 4:30 in the late afternoon (after an hour and a half of cocktail drinking at the Langham hotel I might add), my editor and I, half-merry, decided to test run the theory.


Upon taking a seat at one of the scratched-out tables for two, we glanced around the room. We then glanced at each other, slightly bemused. Straight out of two kid’s dirty imagination, the interior is a sanctum of bedroom nostalgia, floating in exposed brick and bold graphics. Mickey Mouse statuettes and 1970s televisions are just some of the oh-so-random furnishings that run throughout, along with egg-yolk yellow painted buckets, which rest upon the tables, housing bottles of Heinz ketchup and HP Sauce. I guess taste is all personal preference, but a kitsch café in the East end is not exactly an original idea. However, unlike its Brick Lane counterparts, Breakfast Club seems less laidback bohemian charm and more high-school canteen. All the anxieties of my youth begin to resurface as I scour the vomit-worthy bright colours and scattered ‘feel good’ accoutrements of its walls. In this hellhole of teenage angst and isolation, I almost want to hide in a corner, smoke a joint and throw on some Bikini Kill.


The service furthers my confusion; even Inspector Clouseau would have a tough job deciphering the ‘waiters’ and ‘waitresses’ from the rest of the brat-pack. From the John Bender rebel in the corner to the attention-seeking Alisson Reynolds taking our order, the staff and clientale transpire into blatant stereotypes of the film’s characters, slouching on tables and blowing chewing gum bubbles. Our juices, however, were out in a flash. We ordered Slow Boy (£3.90), a mix of apple, carrot, orange and ginger, and Superman (£3.90), a blended concoction of salad-style veg, including carrot, tomato, cucumber, orange and apple. These both looked and tasted the exact same as one another, but were both quite enjoyable nonetheless.


IMG_0149.JPGBeing the nit-picky food freaks that we are, I asked for a swap of hash browns for extra mushrooms, whilst my editor ordered egg whites only. For a café that supposedly specialises in breakfast, you wouldn’t think this would be too much to ask, but when the sad Reggie the Veggie (£8.70) was produced from the kitchen, the only evidence of my tinsy alteration was the empty space where would have once sat two hash browns. The two large eggs, however, were cooked to perfection, with a lovely sunny yolk that was the right amount of runny on top and slightly set at its core. The vegetarian sausage was also a hit, with a delicious homemade recipe that almost forgave the Breakfast Club for all their previous sins. Until, The Veggie Breakfast Burrito (£7.60), which looked fresh and delicious, was NOT made with egg-whites like requested. As curdling yolk ran across the white of the plate, like the tide creeps up onto a seashore, a look of horror and disgust greeted its ugly yellow head. Oh, Breakfast Club. You could have just won us back, but you can’t mess with a fashion editor’s egg yolks.


Clearly this not be a cafe we’ll be hot-footing it back to, yet, I will admit that it is somewhere to hang out with a newspaper or laptop if you’ve got a free morning. Customers who don’t mind unimpressive service and tasteless décor can chill with the other Facebookers and drink coffee (which is actually not too bad). But I’m not going to lie, this wasn’t a great experience. The music was shockingly loud. And rather than playing some Go Johnny Go or other befitting track, my finely tuned ears were subjected to Gaga and one-hit wonders from the ’90s (Peter Andre, that means you). And although the portions were of the American-style, heart attack-inducing sort, this did not justify the prices, which were more than most would want to spend on a quick lunch. In fact, even writing this review has become some kind of suburban American high-school detention task, in appropriate Breakfast Club style – the title being ‘861 Words On Why This Sucks’.


Rating:           7/20

Breakdown:    4/10 food

                     1/5 service

                     2/5 ambience


The Breakfast Club
2 - 4 Rufus Street
N1 6PE


Follow @NicoleDalamagas on Twitter

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away.




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Anonymous EaterJune 23rd 2011.

I've been to this place. Good in theory, rubbish in person. Hear the one in Islington is much better. Would love to hear what that one is like...

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