The Breakfast Menu Breakfast reviews from the South Coast and beyond


Cafe Arcadia, Brighton

Cafe Arcadia [map]
15B Imperial Arcade
City Centre, Brighton
Tel:  01273 326600

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-6pm

Last Visited: June 2011

A traditional cafe set in a Victorian shopping arcade across from the massive Churchill Square mall in Brighton.  For somewhere in such a central location, you would hardly know it was there, we had to check it out.


This place is an oasis of independence surrounded by coffee chains and mobile phone shops. I've read No Logo and like Radiohead so I want to stick up for this place. The fact it is still here is amazing. How it is still here is beyond me, it feels like it hasn't changed since about 1972, as if the arcade is some kind of time tunnel. Whilst it is a perfectly fine place to grab a pot of tea in the afternoon (I don’t drink coffee so I don’t give a monkeys about StarNeroCostaBucks) the menu isn't exactly enticing. The full English sounded average on paper, but it was altogether something entirely different and I don’t mean that in a good way.

The strangest fried egg I’ve ever had the misfortune to eat with a rubbery and hard yolk, it was as if it had been pre-fried and then microwaved. Is that allowed? Is that even possible? Ethical? Whatever. It was awful. The bacon was equally rubbery, mushrooms were out of a tin and the beans were hard and swimming in a watery sauce.

The sausage actually had some flavour, but again seemed pre-fried and microwaved. The little pot of brown sauce was incredibly vinegary. You can decant it into a nice china pot from a cheap plastic catering bottle but it doesn't improve it. It’s not like it needs to air like a good bottle of red wine.

It wasn't all terrible, the grilled tomato, toast and hash brown were all OK and the pot of tea was nice. Also on the plus side, the staff are friendly and service was quick. I would say take a bit more time over the food but I don’t think it would help, I’m fairly sure the base ingredients are the main problem.

Mr NoEggs:

Oh dear, oh dear!  The remit for this morning was - easy to find so that friend of the website, IlovePork, could join us and where TMOS could get a bus from after. Cafe Arcadia met the requirements, we all commented that it was a quaint location and the first with a chandelier adorning the ceiling. However this was the last positive thing said during our breakfast.

I plumped for beans and bacon on toast, one of my favourite breakfast (or brinner) dishes at home. After a sizable wait (we were the only customers and it took a while) I was served with what I can only just bear to call my "breakfast".  From the moment we noticed that all breakfasts were stored in a kebab shop style counter and cooked on a griddle behind, it was immediately clear that this was not going to be one of the websites finer moments.  The beans were crunchy, as if they had been cooked and reheated for days, yet somehow arrived barely warm. The bacon was dry and rubbery and the toast stale and cold.  After just a 1/4 of the breakfast I called time and retreated to the sanctuary of a passable cup of tea in a dirty pot.

This was not a pleasant experience and I feel cheated out of a breakfast. From the questionable quality of the ingredients to the disproportionate price; £6.95 for a fryup was a little hefty, the cheaper option at £2.50 still too much. A failure of epic proportions and not something this lovely period café deserves.  Luckily the city centre and its numerous cafes and restaurants are but a short walk away.


Portion Size: ★★☆☆☆
Value For Money: ★½☆☆☆
Service: ★★★☆☆
Ingredient Quality: ½☆☆☆☆
Overall: ★★☆☆☆