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Billies Café

Posted by Sara on January 5, 2009

03.01.2009 Billies Café, Hampton place, Brighton

Hung over and back in town after a rather overindulgent festive holiday we take one look at the solitary grapefruit lying forlorn and mouldy in the fridge and decide some proper comfort food is in order. Gratefully casting aside any misguided and hastily conceived New Years resolutions to avoid overly calorific fare, we head off to one of our favourite local eateries, Billies Café on Hampton Place.

Billies is a very popular local café whose specialty is their hash breakfasts. No, not the kind you would expect from a café in Amsterdam but the sort made from crispy golden fried potatoes. There are a variety of these on offer, from the traditional Farmhouse hash to the more exotic sounding Mexican salsa with avocado. They also serve a range of cooked breakfasts and other luncheon dishes and, despite being a little off the beaten track, are understandably usually very busy.

Billies Cafe

Billies Cafe

Stepping through a big blue door we find ourselves a table by the window with a rather nice view over Upper North and Montpelier street. The eating area in Billies is best described as corner shaped, flanked by large windows that today bathe the place in welcoming sunshine. It’s quite small and can get busy, particularly on Sundays. To the left of us is an attractively mosaiced open plan kitchenette / serving area next to a narrow set of stairs leading to the main kitchen and toilets. The far wall is decorated with an exhibition featuring Havana style photographs of classic cars and snapshots of scenes from a Cuban-esque looking city. There is a rack for newspapers but today only contains some out of date local magazines so best to bring your own if you like to read while you eat. Service is good and the staff are always polite and friendly.

We both order a hash specialty; I have the Vegetarian and D the Farmhouse special. Both cost £6.50 without any extras but you won’t need any as the portions are huge. For us, the hash is the best thing on offer because it’s the kind of dish you couldn’t make yourself with ease and is a sort of masterwork on it’s own terms, having nothing of the same species in Brighton that we’ve come across as a contender.

Billies Breakfast Hash

Billies Breakfast Hash

We also order a double espresso (£1.80) and Bakewell Tart flavoured milkshake (£2.90). The coffee’s good and strong and the milkshake thick and garish pink. I loved its taste but D found it a bit too amaretto for his liking and was ruing his decision not to order the peanut butter flavoured one.

Breakfast soon arrives on piping hot plates and is just what the New Year’s doctor ordered. The vegetarian option is a gourmet cornucopia of fried potatoes, onions, sweet corn, mushroom, tomatoes, beans and veggie sausage – topped off with a fried egg and a generous dollop of melted cheese. The Farmhouse is a fabulous feast of similar ilk but with added meaty bits of bacon and sausage. Condiments on offer are HP and Heinz ketchup. Taking our time we tuck in; it’s a challenge polishing off our plates but the food’s just too delicious to leave behind. This is a seriously big breakfast that will set anyone up for the day.

On a more sombre note, as we head back down Hampton Place toward Western Road, we pass some floral tributes left by the spot where local resident, Stuart Slade was tragically murdered just a few days ago. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this difficult time.

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One Response to “Billies Café”

  1. winalot said

    arrrg i need one of those breakfasts !!

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