Review – Koba
It’s not very exciting being what feels like the only person in the entire world who isn’t out celebrating on New Year’s Eve. Due to health reasons, I had decided to stay in this year and therefore made the conscious effort to make sure I had a lovely day/evening instead and of course the final 24 hours of 2013 were completely food orientated. Plus, I was able to be that horrible smug, non hungover person on New Year’s Day, which made it all worth while in the end.
Meeting up with an old friend for brunch is a great way to start any day, even though we didn’t manage to meet until just after midday and our first choice of The Hove Kitchen had started serving their lunch menu by this point. Queue scratching heads and accusations that I should know somewhere off the top of my head. Luckily, after a small ponder, I was quick enough to suggest Koba on Western Road.
Greeted and seated toward the back, I was pleased to experience Koba from a different angle and found the split level layout worked a dream. The area we sat in was quiet yet not too forgotten about and soon filled up with a mixture of larger groups of friends, couples and families.
Offering a food menu that focusses primarily on brunch and light lunches, this cafe-cum-bar has got the best of both worlds. Arrive before 4pm? Brunch or lunch away! Any later? Grazing plates to share plus bar nibbles and snacks. This savvy menu clearly enables Koba to draw in both those longing for eggs and bread type dishes, plus those on the hunt for baguettes or salads. Koba also offer a cracking Sunday lunch offering that should be far more popular that it already is.
The brunch menu plays host to a great array of the usual favourites including eggs benedict, florentine and royale as well as a full English, bacon or sausage sandwich, roasted on the vine tomatoes on toast or homemade granola with Greek yogurt.
As a rule of thumb, I seldom drink coffee on days off and was more than happy to quench my thirst with an apple juice. Pleased that it was made not from concentrate and contained nothing but apple goodness, this was a promising start to my brunch date. Hats off to Koba for sourcing the Frobishers Pressed Apple Juice brand.
Deciding to go slightly all out, I ordered the Eggs Royale – smoked salmon, 2 free range poached eggs with hollandaise sauce on sourdough toast (£7.50).
A truly wonderful looking plate of food. The smoked salmon was piled thick and high upon lightly toasted sourdough and the glorious orange hue from the fish lit up the pristine white plate. Upon that mound of glory were two large poaches eggs, dribbling hollandaise and topped with tarragon.
Wasting no time to grab my knife and fork, I split open one of the poached eggs and watched a wonderfully runny yolk drool out of its white encasing and slither onto the salmon, bread and hollandaise beneath it. The poached eggs weren’t at all watery and were of a tremendously large size. Ensuring I had every element on my fork, I ploughed it into my mouth and let out a dreamy ‘mmm’.
Not only were the eggs spot on but the salmon was soft, smokey and seemed to dissolve seamlessly in the mouth. Coupled with the chewy texture of the sourdough, the dish made for a barrage of textures – none of which were unwelcome and I don’t think I hardly breathed as I snaffled up the brunch before me.
As a side note, I really like the aniseed impact from the tarragon and felt this added a mild, more savoury flavour to a fairly rich plate of food. Good thinking Koba.
Head to Koba and experience one of the best brunches in town. I’d love to find other places that give you such a generous portion of high quality, well cooked food for under £7.50. I’ll be returning and it’ll take a lot to convince me to order anything other than the fabulous Eggs Royale.
Words and photograph by Claire Beveridge.