It’s quarter past eleven on a Sunday morning and our train has just pulled into Brighton station. We’re breaking up our journey back to London having spent the previous evening at a party some miles along the south coast and the guard ushers us through the gate. We leave the station and set off at a brisk pace down Queen’s Road, paying no heed to Trafalgar Street that runs beneath the bridge and is the gateway to the North Laine, with its bustling bohemiam streets crammed full of little cafés, bookshops and trinket treasure troves. We reach North Street where a left turn would bring us into close proximity of the Lanes, a tight maze of tiny streets and tinier walkways lined with jewellery shops, boutiques, quirky independent retailers, restaurants and cafés: instead we turn right. We’re now walking down Western Road towards Hove. Churchill Square, a shopping centre like many other, doesn’t even get a second look and the infamous Brighton Pier edges further and further away. As we walk past the roads that run perpendicular south from Western Road we catch quick glimpses of the almost-midday sun dancing on the surface of the sea. Finally, a right turn takes us into Hampton Place and we’ve reached our destination: Tallula’s Tea Rooms.
When I worked in a Brighton a few years ago a colleague lived on Hampton Place, just a few doors up from Tallula’s. “You have to come and try the pancakes” she once enthused, inviting me to meet her there (a good 25-30 minute walk from where I lived) one Sunday morning and now I say the same to you.
Tallula’s is a bright and welcoming tea room with a number of tables inside and a further two outside on the pavement, serving breakfast all day, sandwiches, jacket potatoes, Sunday roasts and afternoon tea. There are 20 “teas & herbal infusions” on the menu priced at between £1.80 and £2.75 per person and ranging from a classic English breakfast (organic) to Ceylong Broken Orange Pekoe, Gunpowder, Fukujyu Sencha and Lemon Verdena. Furthermore, there are 11 varieties of coffee that are served in individual cafetières and are priced at between £1.80 for the organic house blend and £3.95 for the Jamaican Blue Mountain.
Alongside a £6.45 full English, breakfast options include a ‘Scottish’ breakfast consisting of Lorne sausage, bacon, eggs, Haggis, black pudding, potato scone, baked beans, mushrooms and toast at £6.95, a vegetarian breakfast at £5.95, eggs Benedict at £6.25 with optional spinach or smoked salmon (+£0.70), oak smoked kipper at £6.25 and, of course, those pancakes!
I opted for three American-style pancakes with maple syrup (£5.95 – the less greedy option is two for £4.95) with a pot of English Breakfast, whilst Rob went for the ‘American': two pancakes, two rashers of bacon, two fried eggs and maple syrup (£6.95) and a cafetière of the house blend. We were told there would be a wait of about 10 minutes for the pancakes as they had to be freshly made (of course!).
The drinks arrived first; my tea came in a small white teapot with a strainer resting on the cup to catch the leaves (there’s not a teabag in sight here) and a small jug of milk. The tea was brewed to perfection and tasted delightful. Rob’s coffee was strong and full-bodied, perfect for the morning after the night before!
When our food arrived, I was slightly taken aback by the size of the pancakes – while many naughty treats seem to shrink over time (hello Mars bar!), I’m pretty sure that Tallula’s pancakes were never quite this generous at 6-7″ in diameter. On the other hand, the maple syrup now arrives in a small dish where previously entire jugs were placed on the table. That said, more maple syrup was quickly forthcoming when requested. The pancakes themselves were thick and light and so terribly-moreish that I couldn’t bear to leave even one last bite despite the fact that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stand up again. Rob’s ‘American’ was his first experience combining bacon, eggs and maple syrup, but he was pleasantly surprised at how well the flavours complemented each other; however, he did comment on the lack of crispiness of the bacon.
The bill came to a very reasonable £16.55 and we remained nicely full until well into the evening. I’d been meaning to take Rob to Tallula’s for quite some time and was very glad that the standard of food and service hadn’t dropped over the years so that it easily lived up to the expectations I’d been setting.
Tallula’s Tea Rooms
9 Hampton Place
Brighton, BN1 3DA
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