V&H Cafe: Supporting small artisans in Sussex
To me, a fried breakfast is a bit like a Sunday roast. Now hold on a second before you dismiss this and I’ll explain the context of what I mean. Both meals comprise of a long list of different items and each has a certain value attached.
I’m going to really go off track now and use – yes wait for it – a football euphemism. On a roast, the meat may typically be the star player – the Ronaldo or Rooney as it were. Then you have the supporting players: the roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, stuffing and parsnips perhaps. Finally, you have the substitutes, the items you would trade in and out: broccoli, peas, cauliflower and such.
If I haven’t completely lost you yet, then a breakfast is the same. Sausage and bacon are the stars, eggs, hash browns & toast the team and mushrooms, baked beans and tomato the subs.
My point – yes there actually is one – is that the V&H fried breakfast – £9.95, bucks this trend. Whilst all the ingredients are of a high grade, its homemade baked beans steal the show. On talking with V&H chef, Pippa, I discover that a lot of trial and error had gone into perfecting them.
Firstly, they use a variety of different beans – kidney and butter to name a couple, plus smoked harissa and paprika in the sauce – giving it a kick of Mexico and almost chipotle-esque. Simon usually avoids baked beans like the plague but he decided to give these a try seeing as they were advertised as being homemade – thankfully he did, or else we would have both missed out – big time.
V&H sources much of its ingredients locally – check out the map on the wall, which boasts how much of the breakfast comes from around the county. The Sussex sausages had a delicate herbiness, the sourdough bread, delivered fresh and warm each day, tangy and crispy but clearly fresh and the roasted vine tomatoes deliciously sweet.
I went for my trusty brunch favourite – avocado toast with poached eggs, plus added bacon – £8.50. The taste test began with the poached eggs, from Five Chimneys Farm in Hadlow Down. My first egg was almost overdone – but still soft and the second egg was absolutely perfect, running over my smashed avocado and down the side of the sourdough toast, which comes from treasured local bakery, Real Patisserie. The deep yellow yolk of my egg was beautifully rich in colour as well as flavour making me wish for more. Moving onto the avocado, no lumps or brown bits in sight – really fresh. And the twist – a dusting of chilli over the top to finish it off beautifully.
As well as breakfast, the Hove cafe also offers sandwiches, salads, cakes and seasonal specials as well as making a big effort to cater for dietary requirements with plenty of veggie, vegan and gluten-free options for breakfast and brunch.
PRICE: £18.45 – two breakfasts (not including coffee/juice)
RATING: Must Go | Worth a Try | Give it a Miss
With a mountain of breakfast spots in Brighton to choose from, V&H is up against some tough competition, but with fresh locally-sourced dishes, presented in a unique and artistic manner I feel it really does stand out from the rest. Yes, the breakfast does cost a little bit more than your average but when you consider the eggs are delivered to V&H on the very same day that they are laid by the hen – it’s clear you’re paying for quality and freshness. Add to this its decision to support (not compete with) other small artisans through stocking their specialist produce and its great location on Palmeria Square and it’s the sort of place I’m more happy to give my money to.
63B Holland Rd,
*Disclosure: I have dined at V&H as a paying customer and as a guest, in exchange for a fair and honest review.