The Breakfast Menu Breakfast reviews from the South Coast and beyond


Cocoa, Brighton

48 Queen's Road
Brighton, East Sussex
Tel:  01273 777412

Opening Times:  Weekdays they are open from 8am to 7pm, on Saturdays from 9am to 7pm and on Sundays on Sunday from 9am to 6pm

Last visited:  March 2012

Recommended to us by friend of TBM, @TidyJade, this Parisian styled cafe can be found a short distance from Brighton's main train station.  On a street usually full of tourists and commuters; can a sophisticated start to the day really be found?

We can file this review under the "how have I walked past this place for so long without stopping" category.  On first glance, a plethora of croissants, pastries and other delicacies compete to grab your attention in the window and counter display. But in this battle there can only be one winner.  The intense colour of the meringue and macaroon display made it very difficult for us to move past to the tables at the rear of the cafe.  Those who are able to leave without purchasing some have a stronger will than I.

The cafe itself seats around 20 people and is decorated in a simple, but elegant Parisian manner.  The wall behind our table was adorned with the silhouette of a Parisian skyline and we were dining beneath the shadow of the Eiffel Tower itself.  With soothing French Jazz playing, I could have stayed all day listening and relaxing, so warming was the atmosphere.  Soon regulars came bustling in, on first name terms with the staff, a great sign that customers are as important as the food.

The breakfast menu was in a different league to other Queens Road cafes I have previously visited.  With everything homemade in-house by a chef trained under Raymand Blanc, it took a while for us to choose. Even the egg options tempted me!  The Parisian & St-Tropez Breakfast options combined a tea/coffee with either a freshly made brioche or croissant, the egg options of Florentine, Benedict and Royale were all offered on Brioche or Sourdough (again made in-house). As for the 'Pain au raisin' and 'Almond pain au chocolat', the saliva on my keyboard now says more than words ever can!

In the end I settled (I say 'settled' but I mean 'jumped' at the chance) on the Wiltshire ham and Comte cheese croissant alongside a latte, with Mrs NoEggs opting for Eggs Florentine.  So distracted were we by the bustle at the counter that our breakfasts arrived after what seemed like no time at all.  From the very first bite my Croissant was without a doubt the best I have had in this country. The buttery taste perfectly complemented the thick ham and melted cheese, this was a rich and flavoursome pastry.  I thought that at £2.75 this would be a small and refined way to start the day, but even after sharing some with Mrs NoEggs, this was a petit dejeuner that was more than enough.  My smooth and creamy latte was the perfect companion to the pastry and looked as good as it tasted.  I could have done without the salad as an accompaniment I think, the dressing was nice, but the croissant was very filling and that tipped me a little too far over the edge.   Still, a nice garnish for those that like some leaves.

The wilted spinach on the sweet and spongy home made brioche coated in rich hollandaise sauce tempted me to do something I didn't expect; I asked the Mrs for a sample.  Believe me, she was as shocked as I was!  Served on ornate tea room tableware, it could easily be displayed in a gallery and attract record visitors.  At £5.95 for the portion size, high quality of the cooking and presentation, was good value.  For me I was so impressed with the brioche that I could very well be tempted to order this myself, just without the eggs.  Though I may get laughed out of town if I do.

From the outside this is a cafe that looks like it should be in Hove or in an alley in the North Laines, not found amongst the hoards emerging from the station. I generally try to avoid the area, and in the past have simply ignored something amazing that was right in front of my eyes.  Believe me I have learnt my lesson and a re-visit is a must. Brighton & Hove is fast becoming 'little France' and that's not a bad thing at all.

Mr NoEggs