Cooking with conviction

If brunch were an Olympic sport, I’d be Paula Radcliffe. Other people have hobbies, I have breakfast; I am an eggs-pert, an avocado aficionado, a French-toast fanatic. However, where many establishments fall down in my estimations is their emphasis on insta-worthy plates. Tiny eggs top perfectly sliced toast roughly the size of my fingernail, or a teaspoon of avocado is smashed next to half an egg, all perfectly garnished in a dog bowl.

Britannia Cafe is an antidote to all those who insist on destroying the sanctity of brunch. They go back to basics and their food is the perfect solution to every bad day, every break up, or any slightly average Tuesday. During our final production week, I couldn’t resist the chance to share my favourite pastime with the senior editorial team. Jess, Caitlin and myself went along on Friday morning to indulge in some bacon, eggs, and coffee.

The cafe itself knows how to appeal to its number-one consumer, and Instagram worthy angles are in every direction. From the subtly Pinterest-perfect wallpaper, to the eclectic collection of salt and pepper shakers, the cafe is quirky and tastefully decorated to the extent that you forget you are a part of a prison complex. The fact that the staff didn’t raise their eyebrows whilst I brandished my camera about made the experience even lovelier; I enjoy photographing my food, and Cafe Britannia is definitely a judgement-free zone.

We ordered our breakfast and coffees and were served quickly. We were about a third of the way through our lattes when our food arrived – normally I’d be worried about such quick service but they don’t sacrifice quality for speed. I had the Queen’s breakfast (naturally), Jess had salmon and scrambled eggs on toast and Caitlin, ever the lady, had the slightly smaller Prince’s breakfast.

After we had taken the obligatory 18 photographs, we tucked in. Jess furiously shovelled down her plate of salmon and eggs as if someone was standing over her shoulder about to take it away. The food was well cooked, fresh and most importantly: filled the entire plate.

At one point, I had to balance my toast precariously on the edge as there was almost too much. Café Britannia showed that you can have Instagram worthy food, whilst still actually filling a human stomach. My Queen’s breakfast was the equivalent of a full English: eggs, beans, bacon, sausage, mushroom, tomato and toast.

At £5.95 it’s the same price as a lot of food on campus but feels and tastes fresher. For the slightly hungrier you can upgrade to a King’s breakfast which sees most of the meat doubled.

I asked Jess what she thought of her breakfast and this too received a rave review. For those not a fan of the full English (heathens) the menu also featured ‘Smashed avocado on toast’, ‘Pancakes and fruit’, ‘Beans on toast’, and ‘Granola’. So from the health nuts to the avo-fans, the menu has enough to keep everyone happy. We sat, finishing our coffees – Jess a caramel latte, myself a slightly-less basic butterscotch latte and Caitlin a cappuccino – feeling content; the sign of a good brunch.

Overlooking Norwich, the Britannia building doesn’t seem like the ideal space for a brunch spot, but never judge a book by its cover. With great views of our fine city, it’s tucked away from the madness of the town centre and is quiet and close enough to UEA for a quick respite from exams and studying. If it were the Brunch-Olympics, Britannia would win Gold. At the very least, the food is of a higher quality than my metaphors.


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May 2021
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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