Nowhere Man retro pancake cafe
Get American pancake stacks year-round in this Seventies front room-style cafe in Brighton
When I was growing up, pancakes were so popular in my house they developed from an annual to a weekly treat that involved the neighbours’ children arriving on Tuesday nights.
As an adult I still don’t see why you should restrict yourself to Shrove Tuesday so here’s a café that will do you the honours year-round (and save you burnt pans and food on the ceiling).
Brighton is chockfull of great independent cafes but Nowhere Man on Upper North Street is one you may have missed if you stick to well worn routes. This cheery yellow cafe, with a tattoo parlour downstairs, is only just up from Churchill Square shopping centre, on Upper North Street, a block north of Argos.
Its name comes from the Beatles song and music is much in evidence with gig posters on the walls – some for events held in the small café itself. There’s also a retro record player and this is all part of a vintage, Seventies theme.
Brown tiles, cracked faux leather armchairs, shag pile rugs, cacti on shelves and the like, give it a retro front room look. It’s all very Abigail’s Party. I kept expecting Beverley to pop up and force lipstick tips and a ‘cheesy pineapple one’ on me.
We talking more kitsch than tasteful, though the cups and saucers had me kicking myself I didn’t see the cool value in my parents’ old set before they binned it.
There’s decent coffee and tea, you can also indulge in a milkshake. The menu is split predominantly between bagels/sandwiches and pancakes, with the ‘pancake club’ open till 4pm daily.
So first off, if you’re a pancake purist, you need to know these are not your roll up lemon and sugar variety but the thick Americans-style ones.
I tried the blueberry and maple butter ones that were great for a cold day, feeling-sorry-for-yourself pick-me-up or an indulgent brunch. Frankly the maple butter was so nice I’d be happy to have the plain ones with just this – the ‘beginner’s panckakes’ as they’re called on the menu – £4.95 for three.
The banana and walnut stack had my name on it next time round.
I don’t hold with the American thing of bacon with maple syrup – just wrong in my book, but that’s the ‘intermediate’ option (or ‘advanced’ with scrambled eggs) and you can really mix things up throwing in eggs, blueberries and cream to create a full on sweet-savoury mash up called All American Dream. Or, just build your own stack from a range of ingredients, there are also vegan pancakes available.
I’ve also tucked into good bagels here which range from BLT, ALT (avocado in place of the bacon) to more crammed US-inspired creations like the New Yorker with pastrami, sauerkraut, mustard, Emmental cheese and sliced gherkin.
There’s a small back yard including a chess table for warmer months. It’s not a family-focused café but kids would definitely enjoy it for a treat and if you aren’t back into your vinyl at home you get to explain to them what a record player is.