Image by Sam Morris

Bread & Milk local cafe review

Coffee, Care and Community at Trafalgar Street’s Bread & Milk

It was one of the first coffee shops I took myself to when I was a first year student, exploring this new city I was learning to call home. “I am at coffee shop number one of the day and I have been here for about half an hour, watching a lecture. This particular place is called Bread & Milk. I treated myself to a shot of caramel and stole the window seat though it is a table for four” I wrote in my diary, dated September 2020. Of all the independent places to eat and drink in Brighton, this one clearly remained ingrained in my memory, so much so that I even served as a barista there. Making the transfer from customer to colleague, I found myself sitting in that same window seat a plethora of times, pondering just how beautiful a business Bread & Milk truly is. Perhaps I am biased, but since working there I have discovered that there is so much more than what meets the eye to this quaint little gem on Trafalgar Street. 

While the most important thing about a coffee shop is making sure it has good coffee, the first thing you notice about Bread & Milk is the soft aesthetic to match the name of the business. Dry flowers and wicker chairs the colour of sourdough are scattered against the milky white tiled walls. Outside too there are wooden benches complimenting the bistro sets, the perfect spot to watch the commuters come and go, in and out of Sydney Street. From the professional, crisp Instagram photos to the pretty designs in your coffee foam, everything about Bread & Milk is delicate and calming. 

The coffee is also wonderful. The owners, Rupert and Agnes take great pride in making sure that everything from the flavour of coffee beans to the cup you drink it from are of the absolute highest quality. The latest and greatest bold decision was switching to Allpress coffee, who proudly source their coffee directly from the country of origin and promise that rich, chocolatey espresso for every cup of coffee made. Allpress even offers staff training to make sure baristas are equipped with the skills and knowledge to provide a good coffee. Bread & Milk prides itself in making the greatest cappuccino in Brighton too: a pure white dome of foam, balancing within the circumference of its mug, and of course chocolate is the final touch. However, if you are not a fan of flat whites or cortados, there is also chai, matcha, hot chocolate, turmeric latte and an absolute abundance of loose leaf tea on the menu which ensures there is something for everyone. The tea is served in a dainty glass teapot, adding a touch of luxury to this classic, homely beverage. So much care to detail is paid, that the ceramics have recently been updated too, freshly bought from Surrey Ceramics to make sure you have the perfect mug to wrap your hands around and feel the golden warmth of each drink. 

Image credit: Sam Morris

Further, in their mission to celebrate independent businesses, Bread & Milk select most of their ingredients from local suppliers. The breakfast and lunch sandwiches genuinely seem to amaze people because they are made on extra thick cuts of bread from the Flour Pot Bakery, toasted too, and the exclusively chosen ingredients are no surprise when you taste just how good the food is. Breakfast baps in the morning are stuffed with sausage and bacon from Brighton Sausage Co. and there is the option to add an egg straight from Holmansbridge Farm. Or, you can grab my personal favourite – the halloumi and chilli jam bap. For lunch, it is very difficult to resist the Grilled Chicken or Reuben sourdough toasties. They are big! The Italian however is a customer favourite: nut-free pesto, mozzarella, sunblushed tomatoes, olives and rocket all on a very thick cushion of focaccia bread. A vegan sausage sandwich or the falafel feast which features Smorls’ deliciously rich hummus are the vegan options. 

If the thought of these perfect warming treats has not tempted you enough, perhaps you would rather something sweet. The dark chocolate and banana loaf can be toasted and spread with butter if you ask, and the bacon and maple or vegan sausage rolls can be warmed up for you too. The cinnamon buns, almond croissants and nutella croissants often sell out. The cakes too are generous portions and Becky’s Brownies are always an indulgent treat. 

The one thing about Bread & Milk that will keep you going back is the sense of community there. Even as a brand new customer, you are bound to feel like you are somewhere familiar. Most of the regular customers now know each other by name, and everyone on Trafalgar Street knows Agnes, who always makes time to chat to and care for her customers with her extreme generosity and kindness. Depending on what day of the week you pop by, you may even catch the very sweet Erika, who always serves with a smile, or Declan who seems to already know everyone in Brighton due to his successful side hustle as a drummer! While you’re at Bread and Milk, make sure you pick up a loyalty card to get a fifth coffee for £1, and your tenth free. Or, remember Break & Milk is on deliveroo for those rainy days when you are craving your favourite sandwich and an avocado smoothie, but do not want to get out of bed. The joy of Bread & Milk is having that home from home feeling, but you will just have to visit for yourself to truly immerse in that one of a kind sense of comfort and community.

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