Breakfast at Bill’s

So this morning, I made the totally reasonable decision to wake up at 3:30AM so that I could watch the Community panel at PaleyFest. Which was worth it, seeing as I’d already missed the 30 Rock panel Paley put on, and the panel itself was great – the whole cast did Britta’s pizza dance. And after that was over around 5 I had several extra hours before my 9AM seminar, so I made an actual responsible choice and went to the library (which is blessedly open 24/6) to do some reading before class.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that by the time I got out of class at 10, it felt more like 2 and I figured that early-morning library run meant I’d earned a nice big breakfast instead of a sad attempt to subsist on the toast and Marmite I made at 5:30. So I went off to Bill’s, a place I’d been meaning to try for weeks. The interwebz said they serve one of the best breakfasts in Brighton.

The interwebz were right. Bill’s is definitely one of my all-time favorite breakfast spots – and maybe not just in Brighton. Anywhere.

The overwhelming impression I’ve gotten in the couple of hours I’ve been taking up one of their tables (the tables, by the way, look like they totally could be made of reclaimed barn wood – whether they actually are, I don’t know, but either way the effect is nice) is that Bill’s feels like a place my family would stumble upon on a jaunt into town during a camping trip, but with way better food than most places we’ve actually stumbled upon. I guess that’s probably what they were going for (although they were probably shooting for the English countryside vibe more than, say, a rural western New York theme), and they certainly have succeeded.

The wall next to me has a brownie recipe written on it. This place was made for me.
The wall next to me has a brownie recipe written on it. This place was made for me. Also, I don’t know why this photo turned out so small. Mishaps caused by blogging on my iPad: the first worldiest of first world problems.

The decor is, I think, supposed to be farm store-inspired, and it’s convincing. Like I mentioned, it’s full of rustic-chic furniture that looks like it could have had a previous life as a barn, chalkboards hanging from the ceiling announcing the coffee and tea offerings, shelves stocked with jars of beans and lentils and in-house salad dressings and chutneys, old Irish steel cut oatmeal cans holding silverware and serving as centerpieces, and bundles of dried produce hanging from exposed vents. The aesthetic and its appeal to my love for weird old country stores and memories of camping trips would probably be enough to sell me on this place even if the food sucked.

Vegetarian breakfast
My delicious vegetarian breakfast.

But the food doesn’t suck! Unlike some of the truly awful actual country restaurants I’ve been to, this breakfast was mindblowingly good. I had the vegetarian breakfast and it was obscene: multigrain toast topped with hummus, guacamole, tomatoes, mushrooms, sweet chili sauce, and two poached eggs. I don’t know if I’ll be hungry again all day. I also decided to be adventurous and try a side of bubble and squeak, which reminded me vaguely of uncrispy hash browns. I still have no idea what it is, but I guess it involves potatoes.

Bill’s is a bit pricier than some other nearby breakfast options, but the portions are huge, the eggs are free range, and the food and coffee I’ve had tasted great. It’s so worth the extra couple of quid, and I’ll definitely keep coming back to treat myself on stressful weeks. And luckily, it’s got several locations throughout England, so if you want to try it yourself, you don’t even have to come to Brighton!

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