When you walk through the unmistakable bright red doors of The Breakfast Club, you immediately know exactly what kind of a place you’ve walked into. There upon the wall in large, quirky font is a quote from a particularly funky song by the Australian 80’s rock band Men At Work: “Met a strange lady, she made me nervous / She took me in and gave me breakfast.” Named after the iconic 80’s film and with lyrics from “Down Under” as the restaurant’s crowning words, you can’t expect anything other than a kitschy, fun, and utterly unique breakfast or brunch experience. And The Breakfast Club does not disappoint.
The Hoxton location punctuates the end of a restaurant-studded alley called Old Street, which branches off from the main street of “the skinny jeans capital of the world,” London’s cool Shoreditch neighborhood. On a rainy, brisk afternoon like the one from which we were retreating, it’s an ideal refuge from the slick cobblestone streets: a bright, colorful, 1980’s-mania filled with kitschy comforts — a vintage bike under the table here, some appropriated construction signs there, vintage Coke bottles repurposed as flower vases.
And on those lazy London afternoons of a particular drizzly nature, nothing is more bracing than The Breakfast Club’s specialty breakfasts and brunches, done to dizzying perfection. They brew their coffee full-bodied and strong here, fit to awaken a person after even the longest night of clubbing or pubbing, so definitely start off with a mug.
If you prefer more of a “hair of the dog” approach to your hangover brunch beverage, the Bloody Mary, so cannily described here as “hot and spicy like Helen Mirren,” will not disappoint (though we wouldn’t go so far as to say it even approaches Helen’s glory).
The menu has everything from traditional English breakfasts to omelets to more unique choices like pulled pork with BBQ beans and fried egg or Chorizo hash browns, so take your time perusing. We went for a balance of the outrageous and the refreshing, ordering the decadent bacon and banana French toast and the avocado and poached egg. The French toast is a beauty to behold: towering slices topped with a mound of thick fried bacon, sliced bananas, and just the right, moderate amount of golden syrup. The bread itself was a bit stale, lacking the expected fluff and sweetness, but that might be due to its status as a British variation on French toast called “eggy bread.” Either way, it was more than redeemed by the impossibly delicious, salty-sweet combination of banana and copious quantities of bacon.
Poached egg and avocado is a fail-proof combination as well, and The Breakfast Club’s spicy rendition is guaranteed refreshing. A mountain of avocado in an almost-whipped consistency tops hearty whole grain bread, and the warm, bright yolk of the poached egg perched on top glides artfully down to make this dish almost cinematically tasty. Paired with a side of perfectly-sized fried potatoes speckled with red onions, you’ll be ready to tackle even the dreariest of London days.
For something lighter but equally bright, opt for the fruit salad, a refreshing remix with fresh, minty Greek-style yogurt. And don’t limit yourself to breakfast; the extensive menu is full of lunch and dinner options including pie and mash, burgers, sandwiches, jacket potatoes, and a slew of desserts. Delivered by cheery, scruffy waiters to a soundtrack of classic rock and 80’s pop, you’ll feel like a part of the Club no matter what you order.
In short, The Breakfast Club is a love note to the breakfast and the 80’s, scrawled on notebook paper and passed in detention — it’s deviant, it’s delicious, it’s nostalgic. With three other London locations, in Angel, Spitalfields, and the original Soho, and an all-day comfort food menu, getting your fix is a breeze no matter your locale or your timing.
As the movie Breakfast Club’s rebellious John Bender famously says, “Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.” Wise words — but The Breakfast Club might just be the one, flawless exception to the rule.
Price Range: $$
Hoxton location: 2-4 Rufus Street, N1 6PE (Mon-Wed 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Thurs-Fri 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., Sat 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., Sun 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.)
Angel location: 31 Camden Passage, N1 8EA (Mon-Wed 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Thurs-Fri 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Sat 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Sun 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.)
Soho location: 33 D’Arblay Street, W1F 8EU (Mon-Wed 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Thurs-Fri 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Sat 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Sun 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.)
Spitalfields location: 12-16 Artillery Lane, E1 7LS (Mon-Wed 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Thurs-Fri 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., Sat 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., Sun 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.)