Seven Stars – a review

I’ve been to Seven Stars in the south lanes once before. Four years ago on a busy Saturday night, the place was filled with football on the TV and loud drunk men everywhere. Not super pleasant. More recently, the pub has been taken over and had a swanky revamp, now prominently featuring craft beer and all the meat by Little Blue Smokehouse (a favourite at Street Diner).

We head there after work on a Wednesday. I’m first to arrive (standard) and have a wander along the bar looking at the beers. One of the lovely girls behind the bar asks if I need help (big mistake) and I launch into a monologue about how I’m just starting to drink beer and I like lager and I want to try something new and what can she recommend. She gives me some tasters (Curious IPA and another IPA that I really wish I had written the name down because it was lovely – for those interested, it is the first tap you get to when entering the pub). I pick the latter and find a corner to hide in (meeting me for dinner is a challenge). When my companions arrive we start drooling over the food menu.

All the meat. So much meat.

After much umming and ahhing we chose our food: One pulled pork roll, one chopped brisket on sourdough (with fries) and one Trash Can fries.

Brisket on sourdough
Pulled pork
Pulled pork bap and fries

All of the portions are generous. The pulled pork is heaped into a bap and the brisket comes layered inside two large pieces of crusty sourdough. Both come with a bowl of ‘slaw – a crispy fresh accompaniment with enough may to bind it, but not enough to make it a soggy mess. My trash can fries arrive – a bowl loaded with fries and topped with pulled pork, cheese, fried pickles and hot sauce (to which I add more hot sauce).

We dig in and don’t speak for a few minutes with the exception of “ohhhhhhhhhh myyyyy god this is good”. The pulled pork is soft and flakey and smoky – ever so slightly dry but that is what hot sauce is for. Personally, I would put more cheese on the trash can fries in the future as it didn’t melt particularly well, but the fried pickles are great. Basically a normal pickle but with a crispy crunch outside. Wonderful stuff.

A mountain of meat
Trash can fries with pulled pork

Reviews of the two buns come from my companions:

photo 1 photo 2

The menu is short but sweet, offering a handful of options (not many options for vegetarians….) but the beer selection at the bar (along with spirits and cocktails) certainly means you won’t get bored here. From our short meal, I’m fairly confident when I say that the menu is going for quality over quantity. This is something that is repeated on their website

We smoke, we pickle, we spice, we brine and we smoke. We smoke a lot. We smoke meat, we smoke fish and we smoke vegetables.
We care about how we smoke and we care about what we smoke.
We use the best produce we can, the best wood we can and the best charcoal we can.
We love food and want to enjoy it, food should be fun, food should be interesting and food should be respected.
We love what we do and we hope you do too.

And we did. We loved it a lot. This pub has jumped up the list of places to go in my mind. The bad memories of the past are wiped out in a haze of beer and hot sauce.

All in all, a solid evening out. With food coming in under £10 and half a pint of tap beer for £2.50 it is both good quality and you definitely get your money’s worth. We were all stuffed by the end of our meals. The downsides of this place are that the music is rather loud (but nice and varied) and some of the seats and stools aren’t the most comfortable so get there early to grab a booth. It does however win major points for nice large clean toilets. A very important factor when you have a tiny bladder and are permanently thirsty.

You can check out the revamped Seven Stars website here along with their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and show Little Blue Smokehouse some love here, here and here.

Alternatively, if blurry photos of food and Brighton is your thing I am also on Instagram and for bite-sized reflections into my mind, check me out on Twitter.

(Also, my dining companion Lisa recently had heart surgery to counteract her congenital heart disease and she has been writing a blog whilst she recovers so you should check it out –

Kooks – a review

No. Not the band. (Although why not listen to Seaside as you read this).

Kooks opened in the North Laine’s recently and I’ve been intrigued by the name, menu and frontage. Due to Dan’s inability to make a decision, I told him this is where we were going for dinner.

Describing themselves as “Brighton’s boho bistro, home-from-home for the creative types”, this is normally the kind of sentence that makes me loudly sigh and hate Brighton a little bit. How can a bistro be boho? Drawn in by my lust for a steak, we stroll in just before 8pm on a Wednesday to a fairly empty restaurant. 90 minutes later when we leave, the place is packed with barely a seat spare.

Bar at Kooks
Bar at Kooks
Beer beer beer
Beer beer beer

We settle down and order the two lagers on the menu – although Dan gets served the wrong one but it isn’t explained what we got instead… I get a Camden Town Brewery lager and whatever Dan was served was flavoured with lemon and thyme which was nice and zesty against our evening of meat.

The menu. An interesting mix with starters ranging from wrapped vine leaves with pitta and hummus to sweet potato soup and mains featuring steak (mine), burger (Dan), spiced green lentil salad, haddock, and spinach, ricotta and parmesan gnocchi. But yeh. We went for meat. As always.


Steak with chimichurri sauce, sweet potato fries and grilled baby leeks
Steak with chimichurri sauce, sweet potato fries and grilled baby leeks
Steak burger with streaky bacon and cheddar cheese and sweet potato fries
Steak burger with streaky bacon and cheddar cheese and sweet potato fries

I order my steak medium rare and with sweet potato fries instead of twice cooked chips. That steak though. I finished eating it nearly two hours ago and I’m still thinking about it. I imagine it will be the only thing getting me through work tomorrow as well. Beautifully pink in the middle, I have finally found somewhere that understands how to correctly cook a steak. Nice and juicy and seasoned with black pepper to perfection. The sweet potato fries weren’t too soft or too crispy, a good size – certainly a chip but not quite a wedge. What makes this so incredible was that chimichurri sauce. Heavy on the garlic and vinegar, it’s potent but not overpowering. Basically. I was in heaven. To the extent that I repeatedly said how happy I was. I’d had a bad day and was a bit grumpy but this turned my mood around.

It was so pink.

Dan’s burger was huge. The brioche bun just held it together as meat juice dripped out onto the serving boards. I didn’t try any (we don’t really share food) but his review was “yeh, it’s a burger and it’s pretty good”. I really need to start dining with more eloquent people. They certainly didn’t hold back on the bacon, although the streaky bacon didn’t look as crispy as it could be.

We didn’t think we could manage dessert as the meat sweats were kicking in so we paid our very reasonable bill (£37.50 – £17 for the steak and £11 for the burger) and strolled out [side note: tonight was the night I chose to wear my new leather jacket, I left with a chunk of cow in my belly and the incredible smell of soft new leather wrapped around me. I still can’t believe I used to be vegetarian].

Would I go back? Yes. Would I recommend it? Yes. I liked the look of everything on the menu – I nearly went for the lentils which says a lot! They have a wide variety of wines and cocktails, as we were leaving the bar seats were filling up and I can imagine hanging out here of an early eve (because I’m a creative Brighton type…). But order the steak.

Kooks is on the corner of Gardner Street and Church Street and is open everyday with special breakfast and sandwich menus to keep you going throughout the day. You can check out their website here, and find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you’re ever bored and fancy checking out my rants and loves then gimme a follow on Twitter or Instagram.

I will leave you with the wise words of Camden Town Brewery…

Wise words
Wise words.



Crafty Chooks

On Saturday I tried to go to Crafty Chooks for the third time. First time was just after it opened as my friend worked there, but we just had drinks outside on a sunny bank holiday. Secondly, we were hungry and wanted chicken, but it turns out 8pm on a Friday is a busy time and we couldn’t get a table. Finally though. Saturday. We made it. After a long afternoon of chilling in the sunshine and ridiculous amount of Brighton seafront wind, we wanted some nom and as part of my long on going argument with Dan to prove that Hove is just as fun and cool as Kemptown we headed here.

Crafty Chooks does – you guessed it – rotisserie chicken and craft beers. Placed down on Second Avenue in the shell of the Tin Drum (and directly across the road from my friends former flat), I have the advantage that it’s super close to my house. We booked a table this time and got seated in the bar next to a rather noisy table of drinkers (we were offered a table in the restaurant once a table had finished, but by that point we had our drinks and were too lazy to move) in the window so we could rudely stare at every person that walked past/in the door. The restaurant end is cosily decorated with soft lighting and wood panels, the bar end feels more open and conveniently has the word ‘bar’ in big red letters.
A selection of craft bottled beers on offer (and cocktails)
The drinks menu features five beers on tap, 10 craft bottles and another 12 ciders and beers. Plus sprits, cocktails and soft drinks (side note: there are only three gins). Not too shabby. One Sol and Old Mout later, we are tucking into one chicken burger (skinny fries substituted for chunky chips) and one steak burger (skinny fries substituted for sweet potato wedges).
Front: Steak burger with sweet potato wedges Back: chicken burger with thick cut fries
The burgers were a good size (aka it just about fit in my mouth without having to cut it up) in a nice round brioche bun. The wedges and chips were big and plentiful, I think I ate an entire sweet potato. Slight crisp to the outside and a soft squishy middle, my wedges were perfect. With sweet potato fries being in abundance on menus across the city, it was nice to see a slight variance on this and the wedges were winning because they were basically mash in a nice shell. My steak burger was nicely cooked, I did ask for it pink in the middle which didn’t happen but there we go. Served with emmental cheese, onion marmalade and dill pickle, the burger was juicy and soft. The addition of chilli sauce and sour cream helped a lot – but honestly chilli sauce and sour cream make everything better.
"How was the chicken burger?"
“How was the chicken burger?”

Terrible burger review aside, Dan was also unconvinced by the giant chips because “they’re too soft in the middle and not crispy enough on the outside. I don’t like big chips”. This coming from the boy that deliberately ordered the thick cut chips instead of the French fries. I snaffled the last one and they are indeed very soft in the middle – but I think that’s a good thing. Just me?

By this time it was 9pm on a Saturday, and like the cool kids we are, we headed home because our afternoon of sunshine was too much for us and we were tired. With the bill coming to around £30 (would have been less except we both substituted our fries) for a burger, chips and drink, I think it’s pretty good value. Not the best burger I’ve ever eaten, but also certainly not the worst. If you’re looking for an afternoon to evening place, I think this is a winner. The outside patio is good in the sunshine, and features heaters for when it gets colder. They also have a fairly extensive sandwich and salad board, along with the option to have half/a whole chicken so I think there is something for everyone.

If you fancy checking them out, you can find out more on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter for daily ramblings about my life and on Instagram for various blurry photos that are mostly of food and books and Brighton.