The Breakfast Club, Islington
31 Camden Passage
020 7226 5454
by Rhys Chris Peese
Ah, the 1980s. Mass unemployment; the poll tax; the crippling of the NHS… there’s just so much to be nostalgic about. And of course John Hughes’ 1985 paean to high school conformity, The Breakfast Club. Sharing the film’s name, Islington’s branch of the Soho all-day eatery chooses to celebrate some of the more grating corners of that decade on a cork board decorated with retro vinyl: Wham, Paul Young, Madonna… and Ernie, The Fastest Milkman In The West. Surely that charted in 1971? Let’s not quibble over details.
Perhaps having heeded Poppy Tartt’s difficulties at the Soho branch, the ‘Full Monty’ breakfast takes pride of place at the head of the cartoon-themed menu. My expectations of plenitude were whetted by the oversized cup of tea, but even I, a seasoned eater of large breakfasts, was impressed by what seven quid gets you in N1.
This was the twelve inch remix of an English breakfast. The pork and leek sausages were a succulent delight, the beans a steaming orange ocean, the toast sturdy to the point of intransigence. These accompanied a mountain of hash browns, and no bland pre-formed patties, neither: this was a big old pile of fried potatoes and onions, positively rustic in the roughness of their cut. Clearly the kitchen staff enjoy cooking. But apparently they enjoy cooking some things a bit too much: the mushrooms and the bacon were overdone, and while both had an admirable richness of flavour, this was at the expense of almost any moisture.
The Breakfast Club also offers smoothies, porridge, eggs Benedict, wooden floors, mismatched furniture and internet access, although if I return it’ll be for the All American: a massive helping of eggs, pancakes, bacon and maple syrup. Because if the 1980s taught us anything, it was that ‘greed is good’.