The Breakfast Menu Breakfast reviews from the South Coast and beyond

28Oct/112

Cote, Brighton

Cote [map]
115-116 Church Street
Brighton, East Sussex
BN1 1UP
Tel: 01273 687541
www.cote-restaurants.co.uk

Opening Times: Breakfasts:  Mon-Fri 9am-12pm, Sat-Sun 9am-1pm

Last Visited:September 2011

The faux poshness of Cote has long caught my eye, usually following a whiz bang meal in Pom Poko surrounded by sweaty indie kids. So when the Metropole turned us away for breakfast on my Mums 60th, what better occasion to give Cote a try. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

We arrived on the morning of a graduation. Graduates and proud looking parents blocking most of the pavement and entrance into Cote, I was worried that some of them would have filtered inside looking for a celebratory breakfast. Luckily there were only three or four other tables occupied so we took a table near a window that was bathed in the sunshine of a beautiful July morning.

Cote, BrightonA faint air of French suave runs through Cote, from the elegant dining hall to the smartly decked tables. It certainly set the stage for a more upper class type of breakfast, and Mum seemed happy which is always a good start.

The menu reads well; croissants, French toast and granola making up the expected light alternatives with the full English taking prime position at the top of the menu (as it rightly should!) followed by the egg brigade of Benedict, Florentine and Royale all sounding equally tempting. Croque monsieur or madame and a crepe round out the national dishes with a hint of intrigue.

The warm crepe with bacon, two free range eggs and shaved Gruyere cheese was unique and light enough that Mum and another of our party went for it, I was very close myself but my habits got the better of me and I went with the finest of the Eggs - the Florentine. Dad went with the Royale and the others couldn't help but be patriotic with three English breakfasts, most opting for fried or poached eggs.

Cote, Brighton - Full EnglishA quite substantial wait had gone by until we got all of our drinks and almost 45 minutes until the first of the food showed up. Most of us having finished our drinks by the time. A mystery really as the restaurant was almost empty by this point so the kitchen staff should have had little to do other than prep for lunch which was still hours away.

When the food did arrive it didn't live up to the wait. The full English disappointed with an anaemic sausage and over-cooked eggs. Especially poor since they had even made an effort to ask how we'd like them cooked when they took our order. Everyone had opted for runny yolks and none of them were delivered correctly. The fried eggs were so over done that they were sent back, the waitress kindly taking the plate back to the kitchen without any hassle.

Ingredients weren't fantastic, not being treated with the same respect we've seen in places like Temptation and Ethel's where everything is cooked with an attentive eye and has a burst of flavour from thyme butter on tomatoes to tarragon mushrooms. Cotes mantra seemed to be "just good enough". Basic sliced bread for toast and dull tomatoes and mushrooms that paled in comparison to their smaller independent competitor's. In fact the highlight of the Full English was the compliment of jams that was served with the toast.

Cote, Brighton - CrepeThe crepe fared even worse. I had envisioned a rolled crepe filled with crispy smoked bacon bursting with the yolk from the two eggs and the salty Gruyere. Instead a strange construction adorned the plate. A square crepe laid flat with bacon and eggs assembled on top covered by another square crepe with a window cut out to display the contents. A smattering of Gruyere was detected on top to complete the most post-modern breakfast I've seen.

Not only was it a failure aesthetically but they'd botched the cooking as well. In an attempt to melt the pathetic shaving of Gruyere, they'd placed the plate under a grill. Their task complete the cheese was melted but the eggs were now over cooked, leaving the dish completely dry. To the rescue were ketchup and brown sauce, two items you wouldn't be caught dead using on your crepes in France

More attentive readers will have noticed that the eggs sent to the kitchen have still not returned. Almost 10 minutes had passed until the breakfast was seen again only for it to emerge with 2 eggs that were almost identical to those that were sent back in the first place; the rest of the plate having dried out under heat lamps. Hungry and impatient we had given up hope on the kitchen staff and we put our heads down to eat.

Cote, Brighton - Eggs FlorentineThe Florentine and Royale fared the best but only as a serviceable tribute to what the other breakfasts could have been. A dollop of hollandaise (although too thick and rich) sat atop two muffins of salmon or spinach with a sprinkling of paprika for colour. A lot of the white in our eggs was runny but beggars can't be choosers.

We all left pretty disappointed, Mum included, but the setting and glorious day was enough to lift our spirits. If it had been a miserable day outside Cote might have felt the wrath of Mum, they'll want to avoid that in future with plenty of mistakes that can be easily corrected; although I don't think myself or my Mum will be going back in a hurry.

Mr Chipolata

  • vdr

    I have to come out in defence of Cote – this happens to be one of my top breakfast places in Brighton. To start with the setting is elegant, on a weekday morning when there are only a few people there it is peaceful; almost zen, and allows time for a slow waker like myself to gather themselves while they have something good to eat. I am not a big fan of a fry up and I love being offered something else for breakfast. My two top choices are Eggs Benedict and Crepe complete, the second one being a folded pancake made out of dark batter, with all of the ingredients fesh and coming together beautifully. Staff are attentive and charming, the right measure of paying attention and not intruding. Granted, it would not be as relaxing when there is a full house but still, this has to be one of the most pleasant places in town to have a really good breakfast.

    • Mr. Chipolata

      Hi vdr,

      Thanks for your comment, always good to have someone take another angle.

      I think the eggs benedict/royale were easily the best parts of our breakfast and the setting is certainly unique, however I can’t get over the fact that there are cafes in the area that put far more love and quality ingredients into their food, Temptation is only a few paces up the road and delivers some of the best cooked local ingredients in Brighton. I don’t know of somewhere that can beat Cote for the setting and zen feel, that’s certainly unique and glad that someone enjoys it.

      Mr Chipolata