Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Urban Standard, Gloucester Road, Bristol

IMG_0912[1]I’m starting to wonder whether a trend for quaint tea rooms with gingham table cloths is about to spring up in cosmopolitan capitals the world over, an elemental reaction against the stripped back and industrial style once seen in New York lofts and now ubiquitous to coffee shops throughout the UK. Indeed, it’s rare to see any new café, restaurant or bar in Bristol without exposed light bulbs, graffiti’d art and unpainted concrete walls, and though The Urban Standard fits this mould very neatly it manages to maintain a warmth that’s sometimes lacking with so much sheet metal on show.

The newest venture from those behind The Urban Wood on Colston Street, The Standard opened its doors a couple of weeks ago and is already proving a popular spot on a Saturday night with real ales and guest beers, a healthy selection of whiskies and local delicacies to nibble throughout the evening. It also boasts a sturdy brunch menu with a good selection for all appetites, from simple toast and spreads to the full works, all with a focus on well-sourced ingredients.

It being a Monday morning we were the only ones there to sample what the kitchen had to offer. The dark interiors and electro tunes do leave you feeling that you’re eating your eggs and bacon in the middle of the night, but the food is good and the new staff cheery and helpful; our order took just long enough to arrive to let you know it was cooked with care. The full English is a meat eater’s dream and they politely acquiesced to my fiddly requests, replacing inferior eggs with the queen of all breakfast ingredients, grilled halloumi. When I go back I’ll break up the saltiness with some spinach and might forgo the black pudding, the only let down element (though this was much better served in the Egg Poacher’s black pudding hash with – you guessed it – poached eggs and tomato relish). Their coffee is good, though I might opt for an Americano rather than a slightly over milked latte next time; a selection of herbal infusions is there for those without such need for speed.

Though Gloucester Road is already a mecca for coffee shops and cafés, there’s no doubt The Urban Standard will do well here. A heady mix of hip interiors, good booze and good food will bring the hoardes in at the weekends – head there for brunch and you might find yourself there ‘til closing time.

Price: from £2.95 (toast & spreads) to £7.95 (full breakfast).

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Filed under Locals

The New Club, West Pier, Brighton

20140201-191257.jpgThere are some mornings where it’s perfectly necessary to hunt out booze at breakfast time.

Our heads foggy from last nights’ festivities we wandered the lanes of Brighton, navigating a warren of retro emporiums, free-range market vendors and psychedelic postcard shops to find ourselves, at last, at the sea. Greeted by the somewhat sinister scene of the burnt-out pier with a backdrop of brooding storm clouds, we made haste towards The New Club, a diner with a reputation for encouraging drinking way before the watershed.

There is food too, of course. For those able to get out of bed before 2pm they have a robust brunch menu with a heavy emphasis on reconstituted pig. Brilliantly, bacon features just about everywhere: atop their infamous ‘dirty burgers’ and even in the booze. For The New Club is the home of the ‘Breakfast Club’, a pig-infused Bloody Mary with pickles and their own special spicy sauce thrown in for good measure.

This is not for those who think tomatoes are meant for pasta sauce and pizzas; in all honesty, it spoke a little too much of passata for my taste, too. But the bacon-infused vodka is a stroke of genius, and those who enjoy a Bloody Mary or Caesar will be happy here. For those of a more delicate disposition, there’s a host of other brunch cocktails with enough liquor to stave off any two-day hangover (my Kentucky fizz – Woodford Reserve bourbon, Prosecco & fresh mint – was divine).

If you need something to soak up the liquor, aim to get their before the lunch menu kicks in. Their warm pretzels with salted caramel and buttermilk pancakes (with, you guessed it, maple bacon) have had good reviews but their burgers were a little tasteless and heavy on the condiments. Then again, two cocktails in and you’ll just about forgive anything.

Price: from £2.50 (toast & jam) to £9 (full breakfast). Cocktails from £7 (Bloody Mary).

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February 1, 2014 · 8:11 pm