Funky new Brighton cafe
I’m not saying I’m a jinx but my two favourite Brighton & Hove cafes have closed in the last year. Farm just down from Wagamama did the BEST carrot cake (and believe me I’ve done extensive research) while little Pic-nics up an alley off the Hove seafront was my go-to place for a big breakfast with fluffy scrambled eggs and delish seasoned mushrooms – OK that one’s just changed – now the Hove Beach Cafe, but has lost something of its cute beach hut style.
So, there’s a vacancy in my affections and with so many great indie cafes in the city (seriously why DO people still go to Starbucks?) I’m doing the rounds. A hot contender is newbie Cafe Plenty which has an extensive menu and bags of quirky urban style. It opened a few months back but as it’s not very central (at Circus Parade just up from Preston Circus and the Duke of York’s cinema, or down the hill from the back of the station) even if you’re Brighton-based you may well not have found it yet.
I’ve mentioned the Marwood in Ship Street before for quirky cafe style. Cafe Plenty’s quirks are a little more planned. There are exposed brick walls, trendy industrial-style lights on ropes, seatbacks made out of coffee sacks and art for sale on the walls and hanging from the ceiling.
And check out this local take on the famous Vegas sign…
One area at the back has armchairs and a standard lamp and there are both seperate and communal tables. Practical touches include roomy loos at the back with a proper nappy change table. The friendly staff offered us a choice of tables and coped valiantly with my questions as I weighed up various menu options.
So to the food – well it’s an impressive menu and when I discovered my first choice had sold out I became so paralysed by indecision I ended up settling on a wild card pre-Christmas special of a Turkey open sandwich on gravy soaked sourdough with fries while Mr Muddy went for the rather more sensible poached eggs on avocado toast. “One of us went for a run this morning,” he smugly pointed out, “…and it wasn’t you.” Well he did have half my chips.
Anyway the platefuls were both good, with mine including massive thick slices of turkey and there were loads of condiments out on the table. Other options include some great looking mini pies, and various salads and as you’d expect in Brighton there’s plenty of choice for veggies and vegans including falafel wraps. You can build your own breakfast from several options on the menu including eggs benedict. The counter – living up to the cafe’s name – has plenty of other enticing specials on offer.
The coffee is from local brand Coffee at 33 and tea from Chi and the bread is baked on site. As for the cakes, I’ll let my picture do the talking…
A real winner over many Brighton cafes is the space here. I also really like that Cafe Plenty seems to attract a good mix of people . On my weekend lunchtime visit, among the other customers were a large group of friends at a communal table, people working on laptops in a corner, couples with prams and a dad settling his toddler into one of the highchairs, a man with a dog, a couple canoodling and an arty-looking young woman taking photos.
Hopefully my cafe jinxing went out with the change of year because this one deserves to run and run.
Good for: Anyone really, there’s a very mixed clientele, dogs are welcome and there are highchairs for kids. It’s handy for the cinema if you’re going to a daytime screening. Look out for the odd evening event, there’s also a private meeting room.
Not so good for: Traditionalists looking for chintz and tablecloths. It’s not that central so you’re less likely to make it a pitstop in the middle of shopping unless you’re on London Road. Well worth seeking out however.
££ portions are generous. My lunch was £7.50, a pie and salad would have been £5