Review - LangeLees

Review – LangeLees

I walk past LangeLees at least three times a week, yet for some reason I’ve never thought to go in. Perhaps its location on a busy stretch of London Road hasn’t grabbed me as the most relaxing spot for a coffee. But when it picked up Silver for Best Café at this year’s Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Awards, I decided I should check it out.

Inside, LangeLees is a pleasant space and a lot roomier than I’d expected. Wooden tables and chairs, African knick-knacks dotted about, blackboards and good music (some would disagree but I’m awarding a thumbs-up for the Smiths, Cure and Happy Mondays on a rainy Saturday morning). The fantastic secluded garden – a rarity in this area – is somewhere I wish I’d known about sooner. Staff are very friendly and the clientele a happy mix of students, young families and couples.

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As for the food, well everything we ate was distinctly average. Not bad, just nothing to write home about. I went for Eggs Royale – English muffin topped with smoked salmon, poached eggs, Hollandaise and balsamic glaze (£5.50). The portion was huge with plenty of salmon and well-poached eggs, but the Hollandaise completely lacked flavour and the balsamic glaze was cloying and pointless.

Eggs Royale at LangeLees

My always-hungry heavily pregnant friend had the American breakfast – Homemade pancakes, smoked bacon, scrambled eggs and maple syrup, plus an Americano (£7.50). Again, a mammoth portion but her pancakes were a touch undercooked, the bacon on the flabby side and the eggs overcooked and rubbery. She didn’t finish it.

American breakfast at LangeLees

If it’s typical caff fare you’re after, then LangeLees has it at very affordable prices: all-day breakfasts including some good veggie and gluten-free options, lunch of jacket potatoes, salads, sandwiches etc, and a dinner menu of the usual suspects: burgers, scampi, gammon and chips. Interestingly a few South African dishes feature: Bunny Chow and a South African breakfast of Boerewors sausage and chakalaka relish. The place is fully licensed, too.

I’m really curious to know the judges’ criteria when they set about choosing Brighton’s best cafes (from a shortlist of places voted for by the public). Food-wise, LangeLees is by no means an award-winner – did the judges prioritise portion size over quality? I like the place and will be back for a coffee with the kids, but I do think giving it an award is a bit misleading: you’ll definitely leave full, but a little perplexed.

LangeLees, 30 York Place, BN1 4GU


Words by Suzanne Rose