Ali and I have been best pals since we were 12 (and now brother and sister-in-law). We grew up in a small Yorkshire village in the 80s when mullets, perms and BMXs were the thing (think ‘Stranger Things’). Both of us are huge fans of the US sitcom ‘Cheers’ (the place ‘where everybody knows your name’) and we always promised ourselves that if our careers didn’t pan out as we’d hoped, we’d open somewhere everybody knew your name.
We went back to our dream, to open the sort of caf we loved when we were growing up. A place where everybody knew your name.
We found a small deli called Cafe Delizia for sale on D’Arblay Street in Soho. We painted the front egg yolk yellow and filled the place with junk from our 1980s childhood bedrooms. The plan – well, kind of plan – was home-cooked food in a place we’d want to take our friends. A caf that was about more than just the food and drink you put in your belly but the way it made you feel.
Ali brought her Yorkshire-born hospitality to the front-of-house, and I did the cooking. And when it became apparent that I struggled with eggs, in came the pancakes. The Breakfast Club was born.
Fast forward to now and that little yellow caf is still there, still serving pancakes and much more besides. We have proper chefs now of course, and somehow, despite our fumbling beginnings we have become fairly well known not only for our brunches, but a whole lot more: cracking food and drink served with a heavy dose of feel-good warmth and hospitality.