Bean there. Done that.


As all self-respecting fans of The Archers know it's Apple Day today. As excuses go, it's pretty tenuous, but breakfast at The Orchard it was.

The newish move of both The Orchard and The Gantry to open for breakfast is very welcome. One doesn't like to walk too far for a breakfast of a weekend, and for those of us in the northern reaches of Greater Brockley even The Mess is a bit of a schlep, particularly as there's no guarantee of a table when you get there. There are, of course, two or three greasy spoon options around Brockley Cross and they're perfectly fine. If you're in the mood for something a bit more refined, though, it's great that, on paper at least, you now have two decent options close to the station.*

Both places have variations on the benchmark full English. The Gantry's is rather on the small side and, with its Toulouse sausage, a little French. Beans are of the Heinz variety and arrive in a ramekin, which is not only pointless but rather emphasises the size (or lack thereof) of a breakfast that costs the best part of a tenner. It all feels a bit controlled and polite. Not necessary what you need if you're suffering on the morning after the night before.

The Orchard's atogether fuller English might not be what you're after either, though. It rather depends on your taste in beans. At The Orchard you get homemade Boston baked beans: a generous dollop of undisguised kidney beans in a sweet and spicy sauce. This, and the little dish of homemade ketchup, give the whole plate a sweet and smoky theme that distances it from what we've come to expect from a fry-up. The wild mushrooms further emphasise that this is very much a gastropub version of breakfast. I rather liked it.

Veggie options at both places are a bit perfunctory, although The Orchard at least makes an effort (one can almost see The Gantry shrugging galically), and it was nice to overhear the chef at The Orchard discussing ways to beef up (as it were) that side of things. I'd recommend both places find out where The Talbot get their veggie sausages from.

So on balance, The Orchard comes out on top in the battle of the posh breakfasts – the Stephen Fry-ups if you will. But there's not an awful lot in it and we're lucky to have them both.

* Brockley Central is aware of the middle ground, here, represented by The Barge, but feels a bit weird about drinking tea in a pub.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

They sound a bit fancy pants.

An English breakfast should be a hearty feast, with good quality bacon and seriously flavoursome sausages. A choice of egg stlyes with black pudding and mushrooms and optional beans. Lots of tea and toast with butter and jam.

Does anywhere around here come close?

I know what I can get in the greasy spoons: the excessive salt and sad sausages are more than I can bear.

Any decent breakfasts in Crofton Park?




Anonymous said...

Star Cafe in Crofton Park do the best breakfasts this side of Brockley midtown.

Anonymous said...

I had breakfast in Jam Circus recently, it wasn't great, didn't taste much better than a greasy spoon. Beans were particularly poor, quite dissapointing overall.

Mb said...

Agree that a simple fry up with decent bacon and sausage would be great. London particular do their own baked beans and a Toulouse sausage whic are delish but it ain't no fry up.

Anonymous said...

Top Chef do such a fry up (and don't delete this please, it's true)

Brockley Ben said...

I should add that the other bits of The Orchard's breakfast - the sausage, bacon, black pudding and choice of egg style - were spot on.

Anonymous said...

Central Cafe all the way.

Anonymous said...

Central Cafe is Brockley's best kept secret - keep the plebs at the Orchard and Gantry!

Anonymous said...

So Anon 18:24 where do you go? Mcdonalds?

HOB said...

Agree with the 1st anon, I can't find anywhere locally non-greasy spoon where you get toast & marmelade, or enough tea, coffee & juice to wash it all down without it coming to £30 for 2; and greasy spoon Nr us is good, clean & cheap but sausages & bacon aren't as good as say from Peter James, and the coffee is instant. The best breakfasts are still in America. Or at my Mum's ;)

HOB said...

Ps I like my beans in a ramekin, it keeps 'em hot

kolp said...

Now this is what I call a good thread.

I'm going to be sitting back and enjoying the comments from here on...

Anonymous said...

I like my beans on a good honest plate.

And my breakfasts less than £5 please.

Anonymous said...

Brockley Mess so far provides the best breakfast in my books! though i really enjoy the food at the Gantry and the Orchard.

HOB said...

Rather pay more than 5 and get doorstep toast, meaty sausages, large free range eggs, not-tinned toms or mush, butter not marge, smoked back Bacon, fresh brew coffee... But if you know somewhere that does this for under a fiver with your good honest plate hot enough so your beans don't go cold, don't be a meanie & share the address!

Anonymous said...

Also it needs a loo, I don't like it when you have to go to the bookies'next door or hold it in until you get home.

Anonymous said...

I know such a place that does all that for under five quid. It's at 319 Brockley Road.

Tressilliana said...

Can no one here cook?

Anonymous said...

Sure, some of us can cook. But at weekends you want to relax and have a nice breakfast made for you somewhere very organised and nice.

A complete English breakfast is a fine institution.

I know what I can get in the local greasy spoons or Wetherspoons and I would prefer to pay extra for more quality.

Anyone been to the Talbot or the Royal Albert for breakfast. Or that London Particular place? Does the Brockley Jack do breakfast?



Tressilliana said...

Fair enough, Anon. I like a fry up occasionally. I find eating at home very relaxing, and it means I have total control over the ingredients, which matters to me, as it clearly does to quite a few of the rest of you. It's also much, much cheaper than eating out. But each to his/her own!

Anonymous said...

Doorstep bakery do a great breakfast BEST torpedo for £4.90 and you get a hot drink all in. The torpedo breadcake is backed on site and enough for two.

Anonymous said...

The breakfast bap at Renders of Ladywell is amongst Brockley's finest - much more proper fare.

oryx said...

If you can be bothered to venture that far south (HOP/Brockley Rise) McLarens do a decent breakfast.

Mike. said...

I always find Wetherspoons' breakfasts not only very cheap but also pretty good quality - not too greasy. I haven't been in the Brockley Barge (or it's forerunner The Brakespear, even though I lived in Cranfield Rd) but, in general, enjoy the relaxed/quiet atmosphere of a pub in the earlyish morning.

Bea said...

I second (or possibly even third) Central Cafe. They do an excellent, reasonably priced, traditional English breakfast where you can choose exactly what you want in it. (Having said that, I'm not too keen on their sausages but happy to eat the black pudding instead). A very friendly, family run business.

Anonymous said...

I love central cafe. Best sausages on the cross.

BreakspearsEagle said...

Another vote for Central Cafe here.

Anonymous said...

Brockley Mess for me, though have never had their full english, just the other breakfast options.

As greasy spoons go I think Crofton Park's Star Cafe and Hungry Horace (though that's less greasy spoon) are very friendly and do pretty good breakfasts.

mg said...

McLaren's and Brockley Mess by far the best breakfasts for me. It's true that there's never enough tea and toast though. Ah, America, land of the free refill, now that's something I'd love to see over here.

Anonymous said...

I'm always bemused by ikea, unlimited refills but inexplicably no toast

Anonymous said...

Well I had a slap-up semi-posh breakfast at the Barge this weekend, and it was great. Eggs benedict (with two eggs, plenty of tasty ham and good bearnaise) AND a decent coffee for £3.99. Followed by pancakes and maple syrup for £2 something.

A total bargain, and perfectly pleasant atmosphere, friendly service, families laughing, older men playing cards.

Wetherspoons rocks.

Anonymous said...

The Barge is one of Brockley's finest restaurants, a well kept secret in these parts. Big fan of the eggs here too and the chef always says hello to us when we go in.

Anonymous said...

OMG, just checked on line brekky menu for wetherspoons and there is a calorie count against each item in figures A MILE HIGH... totally shocked and shamed by calorific content of my dirty fry ups, may have to switch to Mung beans on toast...

Anonymous said...

You need a bit of calories in your breakfast - it helps with the quality of the fayre.

Anonymous said...

Something as simple as a fry up is within the capabilities of The Barge which operates on a minimal skills basis with respect to food.

It is interesting that they seem to be quite upfront about the contents.

The calorie count certainly is a bit frightening.

http://www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk/home/food/menu/breakfast/breakfast-9

Ben H said...

The breakfasts in Spoons are always a bit wrong. Not sure why they always seem to come out weird.

Nothing beats a proper greasy spoon on a Saturday morning, or a Egg and Sausage McMuffin :D

Anonymous said...

I'm really surprised that people are surprised about the calories in a fried breakfast! There are almost 300 calories in 2 slices of toast with a tiny bit of butter so it quickly adds up. Fried breakfasts shouldn't be about calorie counting anyway, they should be about soaking up booze :)

gocz said...

Having done the lot, the Mess is clearly head and shoulders above all of them in terms of food. Quality, prep, presentation, delivery - almost all without fault. The thing about the tables is unfortunately true - but you cant be surprised that food like that brings in the crowds. 11.30am is the quietest.

biff bifferson said...

dont fanny around with that guff. the goldsmiths cafe does what you need. but if you must fancy it up, a bit further afield, the cafe of good hope on hither green lane does an ace sausages, beans and stuff on toast. they're not normal beans either but are dead nice

Anonymous said...

Breakfast at the Orchard sounds great but isn't a 9:30 start a tad late?
I'm usually thinking about lunch by then. And £5.50 for egg on toast. Really??

Anonymous said...

It's artisan egg on free range toast. So £5.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someone should do an Eggs Benedict survey of Brockley.

Even Wetherspoons has that on the menu.

Anonymous said...

11:30am is a bit early to finish weekend breakfast! A lot of people aren't even up by that time ... The Gantry seems to go much later.

The other thing is I find they put way too much salt in their food ... it used to be fine but has been too salty lately ... Otherwise I love the Orchard

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