The Set Restaurant – Breakfast & Brunch Review
A breakfast menu to widen your horizons
Going out for breakfast/brunch is now as popular, if not more, as going out for dinner and I think that has a lot to do with price. Whereas a good quality breakfast out, will typically cost £20-£30 – dinner can be upwards of £60.
Yet, the right spot can deliver that same delicious hit of dopamine to your brain, as dinner out does, whilst allowing you to take a look inside some of the most stylish dining venues (for a lot less). Speaking of which, this leads me nicely on to my recent breakfast review at The Set…
It’s been a while since I ate at the Regency Square restaurant, which overlooks Brighton seafront and the i360. I think my experience of cooking there for a room full of Brighton’s top chefs (in aid of Action Against Hunger) traumatised me, so I left too long a space before returning.
However, hearing The Set’s patron Chef Dan Kenny had taken over the whole of the food and beverage operations at the Artist Residence Hotel (adjoined to the restaurant), I was excited to return and see what was new.
The first thing I noted was the new menu is full of dishes I instantly knew I’d adore just from reading the descriptions. There are 11 strong options, including the classic Full English, for those that like to play it safe and a few unique dishes that aren’t too out there but also aren’t the done to death options you see on countless breakfast menus – avocado toast being the obvious example.
I was very tempted by the ‘Pork On Toast’ (£9) with pig cheek, nduja, fried egg, marmite & hollandaise sauce, as well as the ‘Baked Duck Egg’ (£8) with mushroom duxelle, walnut and duqqa (an Egyptian condiment made from a mixture of herbs, nuts and spices).
On this occasion, I was in the mood for something rich and comforting which drew me to order the ‘Arnold Bennet’ (£9). It turned out this was an excellent decision.
My plate arrived with two lightly toasted and generously buttered pieces of sourdough from Flint Owl Bakery in Lewes, beside a mini cast-iron casserole dish filled to the brim with a baked, creamy bechamel and parmesan sauce amongst flakes of delicious smokey haddock.
A Cacklebean poached egg, that effortlessly oozed a rich runny yolk when I cut into it, sat poised on top the haddock, with a touch of greenery to garnish. From the first bite it was heavenly, the kind of food that stops you in your tracks and reminds you to be truly present and savour the deliciousness.
My guest ordered the Full English (without the wonderful Cacklebean eggs – what was he thinking!) and he kindly shared a few mouthfuls of the key components.
The black pudding, which can be very hit and miss in places was a complete hit – full of meaty flavour and incredibly moist (very rare). I’d bet my bottom dollar that people who think they don’t like black pudding would like this one.
The bacon was tasty and not overcooked but the highlight for me was the pork sausage, which was gristle-free and packed with herbs and spices that came through each bite.
There was just one key element missing – tomatoes or baked beans. As deplorable as it may seem next to some of these fine ingredients, a good old tin of Heinz baked beans absolutely makes a Full-English and I’d happily pay extra to have them!
The only area that I found to disappoint was our coffees which were quite bitter, perhaps something was wrong in the brewing, roasting or machine cleaning process – I’m not sure but we both agreed it’s wasn’t pleasant.
After brunch I was interested to discover why Cacklebean is the chosen eggs supplier to The Set when they are produced all the way out in The Cotswolds, I did a little research and found several ways the farm does things differently to ensure a really tasty egg and a happy hen.
First off, Cacklebean Eggs live in traditional chicken houses on 12 acres of land, with perches and are entirely free range. They are also reared in smaller flocks, which is more natural and less stressful for the birds.
Additionally, smaller flocks mean the hens don’t need to have their beaks trimmed as chicks, as the less intensive farming process stops the aggressive pecking behaviour spreading through the flock.
And finally, the birds are fed on a higher maize ration feed and this makes a fuller flavoured yolk. So in summary, better animal welfare produces a tastier egg.
Rating: Must Go | Worth A Try | Give It A Miss
Price: £27.20 (for two plus coffee and juices)
Definitely somewhere you have to go, in spite of the coffee, with the ingredients clearly and carefully sourced and attention to flavour and animal welfare considered. With produce this high-quality, breakfast at The Set is excellent value for money.
33 Regency Square, Brighton, BN1 2GG
*Disclaimer: I was invited to The Set but with or without an invite, my review remains an honest account of the food and service.
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