The Breakfast Menu Breakfast reviews from the South Coast and beyond

16Jun/111

Iydea, Brighton

Iydea [map]
17 Kensington Gardens
Brighton
East Sussex
BN1 4AL
Tel:  01273 667992
www.iydea.co.uk

Opening Hours: Their breakfast menu is served everyday from 9:30-11:15am (no sleeping-in allowed). The hash is in limited numbers.

Last Visited: June 2011

Topping the polls in the ‘Best Cafe’ group of the 2011 Brighton Foodie awards we were spurred on to give them a try and see if they deserved our vote. So prompted by their very strict breakfast window, we headed there early to see what all the hype was about.

Mr NoEggs:

With the recent trip to the neighbouring vegetarian eatery Wai Kika Moo Kau still fresh in my mind, the style of this veggie cafe seemed quite similar to what I experienced just a few yards away.  Spacious seating areas, a counter displaying their wares and a relaxed and chatty atmosphere.  The only difference was that food was served from a canteen style hotplate out the front rather than directly from the kitchen.  Both venues were also still putting away their produce when we arrived!  Like two peas in a pod!

After extensive browsing of a breakfast menu that dwarfed what was on offer over the road, I decided on the ‘Iydea Hash’ as the menu said it was only available whilst stocks.  My choice was quickly plated, well presented and delivered before my Assam tea had a chance to brew in the cup.

The hash was a hearty affair, the melted cheese combined with the fruity sweet tomato flavour and salad good. Instead of the salad, although a healthy choice, I would have rather seen some rustic granary or sourdough bread be provided to mop things up.  Aside from this my main criticism was that the taste of the hash was also very similar to the home made baked beans at WKMK and also at the Dorset.  The herbs and tomato combination used, as with all vegetarian food to me, all seem very familiar and this particular dish wasn't unique enough for me.

With all items on their menu being very reasonably priced having two breakfasts is financially possible.  The hash was just £4.75 for a good size portion, but if you enjoy a big breakfast you may want something else to keep you going, especially if you are like me and will be missing you meat fix!

On arrival I was definitely riding the Iydea hype train and was expecting a knock-out breakfast, but in reality I was left a little deflated.  Don’t get me wrong, this is still a lovely, friendly and affordable cafe; there was just nothing that really made me want to book a return visit.  For me, WKMK offers almost a duplicate breakfast style and Mange Tout, Temptation and Billies offer much of the same, to a higher standard.  My experience wouldn't deter me from visiting again, but I think that when I go back I will try their lunch menu instead.

TeaMilkOneSugar:

Iydea is similar to how Food For Friends used to be (and maybe still is, not been for years) in that it is mainly canteen style. In the past I've assembled my own breakfast from the various options on display. There is also a menu of ‘fixed’ breakfast options which I went for on this visit.

I also plumped for the hash with rocket and cherry toms. It was perfectly OK for the fiver it cost, but I did find the flavours of the individual ingredients blended together too much, nothing really stood out. I think building your own breakfast is a better option. Personally I’d opt for a breakfast muffin as the centre piece (these are damn fine) and then build around it, with smokey beans and hash browns for example.

There’s also a fine selection of drinks available including freshly made juices and smoothies. Today I ordered apple, carrot and beetroot juice which was fantastic. I think there may have been something else in there too but I didn't make notes over breakfast.

I have to disagree with Mr No Eggs assertion that Iydea and WKMK are interchangeable. I feel that there are fundamental differences between the two, and they both have unique options on the menu – Iydea breakfast stir fry for instance. Also I feel comparison to Mange Tout and Billie’s is unfair, they may well offer the same to a higher standard, but they also charge the best part of twice the price. I don’t actually think that Iydea and Mange Tout should be compared as they are clearly offering different kinds of dining experience. However I will agree with him that this is a friendly, affordable cafe, and I will be back again. If you are in the middle of Brighton, and fancy a no nonsense, good, affordable veggie meal then this is a top option.

Mr. Chipolata:

Well there is definitely some controversy surrounding this one!

I went for the small breakfast and a mango smoothie. Watching the plate of breakfast being slowly put together at the counter from the canteen trough didn't inspire much confidence in me.

The breakfast was assembled on a plate barely big enough to contain it. Not to say that the breakfast was large, rather that they had decided to serve it on a dish that was only slightly larger than a saucer.

Precooked scrambled eggs were the first to be put to the test: As expected, stiff and lacking any texture other than that of the large yellow sponge you use to wash your car. The rest of the breakfast then seemed to compete for varying levels of middle ground stodge.

1) The mushroom and avocado stir fry was fried mushrooms with some other "stuff", I think it might have been some tomato and maybe onion, I can't remember. I did happen to find a small discoloured piece of avocado that was probably wondering why it had been stuck into a frying pan though, I think I was glad that there wasn't any more of it.

1) A poor textureless sausage, just a mild flavour that lacked any bravery to be anything other than inoffensive.

1) The hash brown again lacked any of the crisp crunchy exterior you would expect of a hash brown. Instead, it was mashed potato that had been deep fried earlier and then left in the sauna until it almost reached its previous state.

I could say that the beans were ok, but they were just ok, I expected more punch from my smokey beans, but with little else on the plate to contrast the flavour  I found it difficult to pick them out from the chaos of grey.

To try and end on a positive note, the mango smoothie was fantastic; thick and sweet with chewy bits of mango able to wriggle their way up the straw. Also, unlike most cheep smoothies it wasn't bulked out by too much banana.

It wasn't surprising to me that the nicest thing about this breakfast was the only one that was freshly made. To have a dish served up from under a hot lamp when there are a dozen cafes in the area that are able to prepare the same style of food freshly and to order is simply not good enough in my eyes. It may be cheap but that's because it's all been prepared and cooked in bulk and left to sweat all the flavour and texture out. Iydea won't be getting my vote.

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

    Just went into restaurant & there was a customer sat with a husky dog??? People had to step over its tail to get by. (Ignorant owner) surely dogs aren’t allowed in food premises? Won’t be going again & will be informing others of my experience