Battle of the Best Devizes Breakfast Round 1; The Condado Lounge Vs New Society!

Ladies and gentlemen, live from the Market Place, through ongoing bouts, it’s high time to discover who will be the title holder for the heavyweight Devizes breakfast champion. Tonight, in the Little Brittox corner, a newcomer to the competition, weighing in at twelve pounds seventy-five pee, all the way from the The Condado Lounge, the Big Lounge Breakfast!

And in the erm, middling corner, the undefeated heavyweight champion of Devizes’ breakfasts, weighing in at nine pounds and seventy-five pee, ladies and gentlemen, I give you, all the way from New Society, the High Society Breakfast; let’s get belly to rumble!

No messing around, we want a good, clean, fight. There’s gonna be blood, sweat, toast, and perhaps a few tears, but my belly and I are determined to, by left hook or crook, find the best breakfast in ol’ Devizes town; or die trying.

And I feel it goes without saying, first rule of breakfast club, is we talk about breakfast, and secondly, breakfast means breakfast. If I’m patriotic about only one thing, I stipulate it HAS to be a full English breakfast, a large one, without avocado or maple syrup, plated, not squelching from the sides of a bread roll.

Don’t get me wrong, I like pancakes, on Shrove Tuesday, I like a pain au chocolat, as a snack, I like a selection of marmalades, cooked meats and bouncy cheese, for lunch. And for breakfast, yeah, I do every cereal from muesli to Coco-Pops, at home. But when I’m out to eat, in the a.m., there isn’t, and never will be, anything better, worldwide, than a full English cholesterol-hugging breakfast. Correct me if I’m wrong, pancake consuming Yankee-doodle-do.

With something to prove, new kid on the block, The Condado Lounge came out fighting. A wide, open-plan restaurant with décor a fusion of English pub furnishings and Mexican design, it’s colourful and welcoming. There’s comfy sofas and generously distributed seating.

Putting up their décor guard, New Society is equally welcoming, with a cross between wine bar and grand home kitchen, the partial antique look is wonderfully fitting with the town, and includes the stunning stained-glass window bearing the Devizes crest; evidence this was once the tourist information building. Yet they never did serve sausages, so to hell with them. It is as it has been since it opened its doors two years ago, homely and snug.

The Big Lounge Breakfast dealt some serious body-blows; this was an exceptionally tasty breakfast, tomatoes sprinkled with basil, it struck out with herby double-sausage, eggs and bacon combo, with black pudding, mushrooms, toast on the side and that little pot of baked beans. I must say, all these we’re cooked to perfection. Though it promised hash browns, they didn’t deliver, thus the Big Lounge Breakfast left itself open for retaliation.

Please note, I was too hungry to time out and take snaps, these images are taken from the respective websites and Facebook pages!

Spotting its opportunity, the High Society Breakfast served up a less spiced but equally scrumptious breakfast, with precisely the same items, but posher condiments. While it was clear this was going to be a tough fight, it managed to deliver everything it sworn to, and low and behold, with the addition of hash browns, especially when so crunchy and golden-brownly cooked, it put the Big Lounge Breakfast on the ropes.

But for our first time in there, we were welcomed at the Condado by manager Joel, who expressed his dedication to his customers and staff; the hospitality was convivial despite the busyness. This forced the boxers to the centre of the ring, clinching.

For a moment there was a notion of level-pegging, being New Society also put their baked beans in a pot. I sigh, seemingly standardised practice these days. Warming to concept I originally deemed sacrilege, on the grounds tipping them out is optional. Which I did at the Lounge, to soak up the goodness and bind the meal with their sauce. Though I figured I give leaving them in the vessel a try at New Society, it only ended with flaking bits of dipped hash brown floating in the pot, which was uninvited; I’m tipping them from now on! Fat was good for you, then it wasn’t, now it is again, who knows what’s what, and when in consumption of a full English, who really cares?

The main thing is taste, and I’m having trouble deciding, both were great, and both replaced the eggs I don’t care for with another item of my choice, without asking, and this is always a point-scorer for me. But admittedly my tummy felt fuller at New Society, and it’s a biggish one to fill! The Big Lounge Breakfast is forced to the ropes once more!

It is a shame, because The Big Lounge Breakfast put up a good fight, but price-tag has to come into play, and for the consistency in baking a splendid breakfast, it could have gone either way. It must be said, heftily weighing in at £12.75 against the middle-weight £9.75, three quid goes a long way in the finale. Therefore, New Society’s knockout High Society Breakfast dealt the final uppercut, sadly, The Big Lounge Breakfast hit the deck with a thud, the ref threw the baked-bean-stained towel in, and in assuming the hash browns watched helplessly from the kitchen, it was all over, save those cores of the tomato which no one finishes.

Please note, I was too hungry to time out and take snaps, these images are taken from the respective websites and Facebook pages! This is the vegan breakfast at New Society. Very unprofessional of me, I accept, but I didn’t know at the time I would write this; blame a slow news week!

An impressive bout puts New Society top of our leader board, and will go up against the winner of round two, which maybe sometime what with the cost of Christmas to cough up. Unless, of course, your Devizes café or restaurant wishes to rise to the challenge sooner and can invite my better half and me to taste your lovely breakfast; do let me know, before I prep porridge!

Wherever there are sausages, you will find me. Wherever bacon is suffering from being undercooked, we’ll be there. Wherever liberty is threatened by beans in pot, you will find… Devizine’s Battle of the Best Devizes Breakfast; it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.


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The New Society of Devizes

If you drop into the old Tourist Information centre in the Market Place these days, you’ll get much more than a leaflet on the Caen Hill Locks.

The owner, Steve, greeted the better half and I by the stairs, outgoing but with a shattered expression. The word on the street is out, in an unmissable location, cafe-lounge-bar New Society puts the old building to exceptional good use. It talked the talk, receiving rave posts on social media, and as passing by I witnessed it bustling on Saturday night, I’d be fool not to give it a lunchtime stab and see if walks the walk.

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Anything new in Devizes attracts initial attention, the issue is maintaining interest. Staff at New Society have been working tirelessly for the past fortnight to ensure it lives up to first impressions, yet they show no sign of tetchiness when it comes to serving you. Combine this family-styled friendliness with an extensive menu, reasonable prices and this beautiful bespoke setting, New Society is everything they say it is, and more.

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It sits somewhere between high-end restaurant and archetypal pub, matching the restaurants for quality but the latter for worth, but does so enthusiastically and cordially. It’s also extremely diverse; tapas on the menu, and coffee bubbling, there’s an element of Mediterranean in ethos, but open for a cooked breakfast, decor decidedly quaint pub, plus the bar resembles a wine bar running through to the evening, it’s fundamentally local too.

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Vegan Breakfast

Yet you’ll see no noses in the air, or sawdust under a ragged pool table, it’s as if New Society has melded the pros of all these types of establishments and scrapped the cons.

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I could’ve randomly stuck a pin in the menu, between said tapas, burger menu and omelette bar, it consists largely of every pub grub classic you could hope for, but refined; sandwiches and toasties, fish n chips, ribeye steaks, mac & cheese, Caesar salad, etc. Coupled with a similar desert selection, and from beers, ciders, cocktails and wine to tea, coffee and milkshakes, there’s something for all, including vegans and children. Mrs Devizine is often impatient to my lengthy menu browsing, and worried I’d spend an eon or three interrogating this varied one, I opted for a pub classic, chicken tikka masala, post-haste. She went for an omelette.

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This was our hoard, the other photos I’ve just borrowed, didn’t eat them all, but I could’ve!

But where the menu isn’t exactly exotic, hot dang (can I say hot dang in a serious food review; who cares?) if it didn’t taste far beyond that of standard pub grub. The tucker was presented nicely, to match the surroundings, and tasted equally as mouth-watering. Ingredients of excellent quality, my curry served with pilau rice was simply gorgeous, fresh pulled chicken, spiced beautifully and with a naan toasted to perfection. Home-cooked, these guys don’t know what a microwave is. The wife agreed, her omelette was fluffy, and chips to die for. To take two rather standard pub grub dishes and make them something rather special makes this alone the perfect lunch location.

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Not to mention we were sat next to a brilliant stained-glass window depicting the Devizes crest; the advantages of taking over the tourist information centre, I guess, but without the need to go in there, I’d never seen it before, had to take a snap! There’s a selection of comfy sofa seated areas, and traditional tables spread over a ground floor and two smaller rooms upstairs, all exceptionally welcoming and easy-going, just like the atmosphere. There was a sense in the air that New Society is excitingly innovative, interestingly middle-ground, and will become a standard for others to aspire to. It’s quickly become a hub in town, now I know why.

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