The Breakfast Club, E14

We were initially planning on going to the new IKEA in Greenwich for our March Brunch Club outing, but reports of huge queues for food in the cafe left us rethinking our plans. On a whim we decided to head to Canary Wharf and so, on Saturday 16th March 2019, we met up at The Breakfast Club, 1 Crossrail Place, London E14 5AR… and made sure we arrived early to avoid the notorious Breakfast Club queues! The breakfast menu at this location has a nice selection of brunch-y treats and we were also looking forward to catching up (as always).

INITIAL BEVERAGES

ED: I was a little late due to travelling across from North London. When I got there I had a lovely mug of strong English Breakfast tea. The only thing that was odd was being given a mug with saucer and teabag still being in so had to balance the wet bag on the side of the saucer.
ELEANOR: I was running late due to a “dog-related-mishap” as I was getting ready to leave, I was able to pre-order a flat white through the gang and it arrived moments after I arrived! It was quite strong, could’ve done with whole milk or at least a touch more milk. Still, the caffeine hit I needed!
LOU: Having arrived early had a cup of strong breakfast tea served in a Bacon Direct mug that made me very happy. Sure, it was a mug. With a tea bag. On a saucer. But! The mug was a fab size and the tea was tasty
LORI: I got there early too (there’s a first time for everything!) and ordered a filter coffee, which I had to wait a little bit for as they were just making a new batch, and The Big Breakfast smoothie (as I was already hungry and that much fruit and oats sounded perfect). The smoothie was delicious and so was the coffee when it arrived… in a Zippy mug!

Lou with her second cuppa, this time in a Zippy mug
Lou with her second cuppa, this time in a Zippy mug

WHAT WE HAD

ED: I had a Reggie the Veggie for my main, which was a lovely mix of the standard breakfast foods, vegan sausages, fried potatoes, poached eggs and toast. Really tasty BBQ beans on the side as well and just enough of a portion to keep you going. For my brunch pudding I had the Salted Caramel Banoffee Pancakes which were delicious, two pancakes with banana, cream and salted caramel sauce. Really lovely and very filling!
ELEANOR: For my main I had the chorizo hash. This was a big bowl with lots of chorizo, but only one egg. The sauce it came with was not great. Sadly the dish wasn’t anything better than I could’ve made at home and definitely not as good as the similar dish Topper made us! For brunch pudding, I had a dessert portion of pancakes – this was 2 very fluffy pancakes with some berries, syrup and cream. Too much cream and not enough berries but the actual pancakes were lovely. I had an orange juice which helped balance the creaminess.

Ed's Reggie the Veggie at The Breakfast Club
Ed’s Reggie the Veggie at The Breakfast Club

LOU: I had the Huevos Al Benny which were incredible – fluffy English muffin topped with smashed avocado topped with spiced chicken topped with a lovely poached egg and a generous portion of hollandaise. I went for a side of potatoes as I often find there isn’t enough bread, and it was a good choice. It was a filling dish but absolutely stunning. I then went for a Key Lime Sundae which had ice cream, granola and custard but barely any lime unfortunately and would have benefitted from less granola (the raisins were so hard) but the custard was a lovely touch!
LORI: For my main I had a Cabbie’s Breakfast, which sounded like exactly the type of unhealthy dish I was looking for – bacon, sausage, eggs, chips and beans – although I was surprised they asked how I wanted my eggs cooked, because I thought the standard for a dish reminiscent of Britain’s best ‘greasy spoon’ cafes would be fried. It was exactly as wonderful as I hoped it would be, and the sausages were far better quality than you’d expect from something called a Cabbie’s Breakfast. For brunch pudding I had a Morning Glory smoothie (and not just because of the name), which was also delicious.

Lori ordered the Cabbie's Breakfast at The Breakfast Club
Lori ordered the Cabbie’s Breakfast at The Breakfast Club

WHAT DID WE CHAT ABOUT?

ED: My announcement that I was leaving my job was a topic (handed in notice the day before so was still in a bit of shock!)
ELEANOR: DRAG RACE! That lip sync for your life! 90s and 00s pop music inspired by the INCREDIBLE playlist they had on – Rachel Stevens, Miley Cyrus, Steps. It was ace.
LOU: There may have been some Karaoke too!
LORI: There were definitely some glorious sing-along moments with Eleanor and Lou 🙂

Dessert portions of pancakes at The Breakfast Club
Dessert portions of pancakes at The Breakfast Club

SERVICE, ATMOSPHERE, TOILET STANDARDS/QUIRKS

ED: Really great service, given how busy the place became the food arrived at the right time and the waiting staff were all very kind and approachable. Atmosphere was really lovely, a real buzz in the air! Though it was very busy, being in our booth meant that we were shielded from the noise. The toilets were a little too cramped and there weren’t many available which caused a few issues. They were also not very clearly sign posted at all, I understand this may have broken the overriding aesthetic of the place, but I felt clear signage is a real must for accessibility.
ELEANOR: Our service was impeccable. The lovely Alzbeta looked after us and she was attentive without being overbearing, and so friendly – honestly one of the best we’ve had at a brunch. The atmosphere was quite lively – not a place if you want quiet, but we were loving the playlist and it brought so much joy. I even added a few songs to my wedding disco playlist as they came on. The whole atmosphere was so joyful, thanks to the excellent company of course.
LOU: I have have a cynical eye on Breakfast Club venues for their commercial nostalgia, but the large booth was lovely, the service fantastic and the music vibe rather fun. And it might be weird to say, but the vintage vibe went through to the toilets and they smelt *really* good. I enjoyed the decor but some of the cubicles were very narrow.
LORI: I love the ‘working men’s club’ look of this Breakfast Club venue, with its formica-effect tables and tinsel-curtain-backed stage. Turning up at 10:30am, were lucky enough to get a booth and that meant we had plenty of space for our coats, bags, and the food. As Eleanor mentioned, Alzbeta really looked after us and was definitely the best and loveliest people to ever serve us brunch. It started to get busy after 11am, but we weren’t rushed at all which was lovely. Such a nice relaxed atmosphere, and a wonderful playlist too!

Morning Glory was tastier than it looks in this light!
Morning Glory was tastier than it looks in this light!

POST-BRUNCH PLANS

ED: We had a very enjoyable walk about the roof garden of the Crossrail building, which I’d never been to before. Then I was back on the DLR to head home where I was so tired, full, and content that I needed an afternoon nap.
ELEANOR: We had a lovely meander around the Crossrail rooftop garden which was needed after a lot of food! We took some fun photos and I spent far too long trying to get the timer on my camera to work. Lou and I then went to Lewisham to visit Rolls and Rems so I could buy fabric to make a toile for my wedding dress. And after all of that, I had a well-deserved nap.
LOU: After our walk in nature, and fabric shopping I headed off to see the excellent Captain Marvel!
LORI: I’d suggested a visit to the roof garden at Crossrail Place for a mini-photoshoot (in addition to our traditional post-brunch selfie). We also popped to Flying Tiger and pondered buying literally everything in the store!

Lou's Huevos Al Benny at The Breakfast Club
Lou’s Huevos Al Benny at The Breakfast Club

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

ED: I really enjoyed going to The Breakfast Club, I get that it’s very hip and a bit Shoreditch-y but I think it’s successful at what it does, the food was really nice, the atmosphere and the decor were really great and the staff were exceptional. One downfall is not being able to book, I imagine if I’d queued for a long time and felt more rushed I might have enjoyed it all a bit less, so make sure to get there early.
ELEANOR: I’ve been to The Breakfast Club a few times and always find it inconsistent, the food is hit and miss (pancakes – great, main – not so much) but it’s a fun place to be and I had the best time. I think it’s a fine introduction to brunch but there are so many better places for food.
LOU: I really really enjoyed myself at this branch of the Breakfast Club although I anticipate its very different on a weekday. Top tip for weekend bunching there – arrive before 11am or face a 40 min wait!
LORI: We had a very enjoyable time at The Breakfast Club in Canary Wharf, but definitely agree with Ed and Lou that you should aim to get there before 11am to avoid having to queue. If you get seated straight away, it’s a really lovely brunch experience.

The image at the top of this post is via Finch Interiors. All other images were snapped by Brunch Club members on their phones, so excuse any blurriness as we were all rather excited about eating the food.

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