The Breakfast Menu Breakfast reviews from the South Coast and beyond

2Dec/110

Jamie Oliver’s Recipease, Brighton

Recipease [map]
72 - 73 Western Road
Brighton, East Sussex
BN1 2HA
Tel:  01273 311338
www.jamieoliver.com/recipease

Opening Times: Monday to Saturday from 8am to 12pm

Last Visited:  November 2011

Jamie Oliver's Recipease opened in 2009 as a cookery school crossed with a shop selling odds and ends from ingredients to kitchen utensils. If that isn't a strange enough combination, this year they moved out some of the cooking stations and decided to run a cafe out of the place as well. With the Naked chef's name attached and a menu capable of making a man salivate from a hundred paces, expectations were set high.

Mr Chiplolata:

Recipease is a bizarre proposition. Part cookery school, part shop, part cafe, all run on the same open plan floor. I can just imagine someone entering Dragons Den to sell the idea and being chased out by a cackling Debra Meaden. Tell them you're Jamie Oliver though and they'll probably let you add the miniature animal petting zoo to the corner of the room and offer up their first born.

The layout is basically split in half, with the cafe and cookery stuff at the rear leaving room for about 30 seats in the cafe and the rest of the space left for the shop at the front. The kitchen is essentially just a large island unit in the middle of the cafe section. Half the kitchen is taken by the lone chef preparing the cafe grub and the other half manned by a chef teaching a class of six to "lovely jubbly" their cooking skills. The front is filled with all sorts of items that you would expect to be sold or endorsed by Jamie Oliver. Nothing of particularly astounding quality to tease you into an impulse purchase. I'd recommend going to the Cook Store a short walk away if you need anything for your kitchen.

I'm a big fan of Jamie's style of cooking; rustic, hearty and not afraid to use loads of butter, cream and bold flavours. He clearly writes a good menu too, a simple Full English is thrown out in favour for what they call "The Works": potato tortilla, fried egg, pork and leek sausage, crispy pancetta, English chorizo, beans, tomato, toast and..."our flat leaf parsley". He even bothers to mention the garnish! I'm a sucker for a place that can cook a decent plate of scrambled eggs and Jamie tantalisingly describes his as "Luxurious free-range scrambled eggs" with a picture that shows some beautiful soft looking eggs, rich with butter and cooked so that they are still moist and a bit runny in places.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be. I'll make the excuse for them: We had a large group and it was fairly busy in the cafe. Still, nothing that an establishment carrying the  name of a TV chef shouldn't be able to cope with.

We waited over half an hour for our food, coffees and teas finished well before meals arrived, not to mention having taken a long time to order and deliver our drinks in the first place. My eggs were instantly depressing. Overcooked, overworked and under-seasoned. The fluffy eggs in the picture were but a distant memory that taunted me with every mouthful. Instead of strands of fluffy silky egg I had a pile of small balls of bouncy yellow rubber. The flavour was decent enough, eggs clearly fresh and good quality but turned into a mediocre pile of scrambled eggs I would expect from a bad greasy spoon.

The pancetta fared even worse, in fact I was pretty amazed at what was served. Three bits of pancetta, tangled together at one end, burnt into a dark lump. I snapped off what was left of the ends and nibbled them begrudgingly. To top it all off I had two bits of warm toast with a hard bit of butter that the toast could barely melt. The ruined bacon should not have been served. I would rather wait a couple more minutes for a more competent plate.

The Mrs fared better (AGAIN!). Her pancakes served with pancetta and banana was a brave flavour match that worked fantastically. The maple syrup slips over all the ingredients and brings them all together in a sizzling mouthful of excitement. Every bite seemed like heaven to her and I sent a few upset glances her way in the hopes that I could finish off her leftovers. Alas, her plate was left clean and all I got was a single taste. I highly recommended giving this a go if you absolutely have to come here, then again it can't be that hard to throw this together yourself at home.

Overall I think Recipease is a failure. Too many ideas with none of them given enough space to fully realise their potential. I would love to see a cafe fronted (at least in name) by a big chef, dishing up tasty well cooked grub to the masses. Bin the half arsed cookery school and the strange attempt at fencing other peoples wares under the same roof. In fact, while you're at it, bin the burnt bacon as well.

Mr NoEggs:

The breakfast menu generated a lot of buzz in our group with the items offered. All enticing prospects and for once everyone went for a different breakfast.  Toying between ‘The Works’ and the pancake options, I opted for what I believed was a variation on beans on toast, the ‘Best Beans Breakfast’.

What I got, after a long wait, was a very average bowl of breakfast chili.  Although spicy and made from good quality ingredients, I expected something a bit better presented and easier to eat.  Something a bit more "cheffy". The pancetta was submerged in the beans and I could not tell whether it was crispy or not. A single slice of toast with a piece of frozen butter with no separate plate to spread it on was frustrating.  Even more frustrating when my second slice didn't arrive until I was almost finished.  The portion size was however quite generous for the price (£6.95), but if a smaller bowl was served with the toast and pancetta on the side I would have been more than content.

Others in the group felt as annoyed with our experience as I did; 'The Works' was less than impressive to two of our group.  The pork and leek sausage was good quality and well cooked, but the chewy chorizo and cold beans let the breakfast down.  A small portion at £8.95 and with such an enticing description we expected a lot more.

When you visit as many cafes as we have the little things go a long way.  Recently Thorne’s and now Recipease have failed to deliver on the promises of their menu.  Established cafes such as Bills and Mange Tout have consistently performed on both fronts and as they are in the same price range we have to directly compare them.  I had long looked forward to visiting Recipease, but left deflated and underwhelmed by the whole experience.  Poor, poor, poor.