The Garden Cafe [map]
St Ann's Well Gardens,
Last Visited: September 2010
With a location bang in the middle of St. Ann's Well Gardens, The Garden Cafe receives an instant couple of stars on their rating. The seating outside overlooks the bowling green, a perfect spot to day dream the morning away while the park squirrels go about their daily business accompanied by yelps from the tennis courts. The locale is certainly setting the scene, what of their breakfasts?
Opening Times: Mon-Fri 8-5, Sat-Sun 9-5
Breakfast Prices: Average £6 for breakfast with a drink
On this brisk mid September day its a pity we can't sit outside to enjoy the park atmosphere in all its glory, but the inside of the Garden Cafe is just as inviting. Cosy modern lighting, some comfier sofa seating and lots of unique touches around from the artwork to the decor give the Cafe a welcoming yet laid back feel.
The menu has the standard breakfast options along with a tempting smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on english muffins. However, for a chillier start to the day who can say no to a fry up with some extra black pudding on the side? Well, the chef can anyway, as today they were all out of black pudding, so we would have to do without. Hmmphh
Luckily we ordered when we did though, as shortly after 10am a queue had stretched out of the door. Even so, the food came in reasonably good time. 2 rashers of bacon, a sausage, an egg, beans, tomato and mushrooms with a slice of brown or white toast on the side made up my mornings workload (It's a tough job, but somebody has got to do it).
I was happy to see some good quality ingredients - bacon was nice and salty while the Lincolnshire sausage was meaty and full of flavour, all the other ingredients holding their place well. Not a huge plate but fairly good for the price considering the prime location which would certainly see me coming back on a day off reviewing, possibly after a spot of tennis!
When I was told we were heading to a cafe in a park I expected to find the usual small shack with W.I teapots and a menu featuring only "both" types of breakfast; bacon or a sausage sandwiches. To my surprise we found a good sized, elegant, family friendly cafe situated in amongst a park I had parked by, literally just yards away, for years but never visited.
Though primarily an all-day cafe there is a quality over quantity breakfast menu on offer. After much deliberation my choice was the option of bubble and squeak as the other tempting offer 'The Garden Deluxe', despite its smoked salmon, was too egg heavy for my taste. The portion sizes, though not huge, met my appetite and the bubble & squeak had enough butter mixed into it to avoid becoming dry and flaky that some attempts, including my own, fall into.
The cafe also has an extensive hot drink menu and a very good coffee machine, which explains why it is such a popular location for meeting up and relaxing. The are lots of kids books to keep the younger diners entertained and the family atmosphere was a welcome change to adult dominated eateries we usually visit. No, I'm not getting broody before you ask!
If you are out for a spot of tennis, a visit to the nearby wishing well or just out for a stroll this is one of Brighton's hidden gems and well worth a visit.
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