Dizzy Gull, Brighton

It’s a Sunday. Therefore we needed a plate of roasted foods for lunch. So after seeing a number of tweets about Dizzy Gull‘s food at the Brighton Beer Dispensary, we meandered up the road to get some grub. They start serving at 12, so thanks to the fear that good Brighton eateries have instilled in me in that if you haven’t booked, you won’t get a seat, we arrived at 12.01pm to get a table. We were literally the only people in there for at least 45 minutes. They don’t take bookings, but we were there until gone 2pm and there were plenty of tables, so don’t worry about rushing down there.

Luckily for me, the very nice lady behind the bar was very helpful in guiding me towards a beer, and I was soon handed a Brighton Bier and we settled ourselves in to the back corner with Connect 4. Then we ordered one beef roast, one Dizzy burger, beerkins and three cheese fries (to clarify: this is one portion of fries with three cheeses on it, not three portions of cheese fries). In hindsight, this was too much. The beerkins were crisp and salty when they arrived, deep fried in batter and served with mustard mayo. As a gherkin lover, I was a fan. The boy isn’t such a gherkin fan but agreed they were pretty good. Sadly, our food arrived super quickly so these got abandoned and as soon as they got cold they were just a bit oily. The beef roast was delicious. As usual in a pub roast, the potatoes weren’t the best; but the beef was tender, the Yorkshire was fluffy and the accompanying veg was good. My main issue was cauliflower cheese. I don’t like this at the best of time and I don’t appreciate cheese in my gravy.

The boy’s burger looked yummy, and as he picked it up juice and sauce came dripping out and covered the plate – perhaps a second plate is needed for people like me who actually put their food down during a meal. His review was “it’s structurally sound, tasty and attractive”. Despite the amount of sauce that dripped out, the bun held itself together and the chips were well seasoned and fluffy – again, like the roasties they could be crispier.

The chips carried on with the three cheese fries. Dripping in smoked applewood, Brighton blue and Sussex charmer they were really yummy. For the four I managed to eat. Sadly we grossly over estimated the amount of food we wanted as the first meal of the day. But these lasted way past our meals and a few more overly competitive games of Connect 4 and were still pretty yummy when cold.

We ended up somehow paying £42 – £12 for the roast (very reasonable), £10 for the burger (very good), £5 fries and £4 beerkins, which left £10.40 for two beers and a lemonade. Would we go back? Yes. The food was nice and freshly cooked, the staff were super lovely and it wasn’t rammed so we didn’t have to fight for space or yell to hear each other. Plus they have board games so it’s a winner in my books.

Have you been to Dizzy Gull? What do you think? Let me know on Twitter and Instagram!

Then we walked here <3

Five Guys Brighton

img_9184Five Guys, the American style diner, has opened up on the new Marina Boardwalk bit that juts out past the Wetherspoons, and so we headed down there before a cinema trip. Ordering is super simple. img_9185You pick your burger and then pick as many of the free 15 toppings as you’d like. We ordered a cheeseburger with grilled onions, jalepenos, pickles and BBQ sauce, and a bacon cheeseburger with lettuce, ketchup and grilled onions. And Cajun fries. As we were sharing fries we ordered a large, the women informed us this served four people so we laughed and ordered a medium.

img_9187£28.40 later and we went and took our table with our beers and waited for our number to be yelled. It’s like Argos meets Nando’s. Better than McDonalds but not quite a restaurant. But #15 was yelled and I sent the boy to grab the bag. Out came two burgers and – what both of us called – a normal amount of fries. We definitely could have had a large. NOTE: We spent the meal complaining about a lack of sauce to dip the fries into. This is by the collection point. But the boy didn’t spot these. So just remember that. Also, food comes in a bag, no tray, not plates. Just burgers and fries on the tabletop.img_9189

The burgers were fine. Each bun comes with two thin patties and your toppings. Personally I prefer a thicker burger, medium rare. But I understand that’s not their thing and compared to most fast food this is pretty good. It’s juicy and tasty, and they don’t skimp on the toppings. Mine was loaded with jalepenos that were super spicy. img_9191Lucky I had a beer and some cheese. The boy said “yeh. It was good. It didn’t look like much but it tasted much better”. I think that accurately sums it up. They look a bit pants but they made us happy. The fries were soft (which is nice, I’m so super bored of overcooked fries) with a really generous covering of spicy cajun seasoning. Considering they arrived in under five minutes, I didn’t have any reason to complain. Other than the boy’s inability to find mayonnaise. Oh and I think it’s a little overpriced for what you get.img_9192

Five Guys are all over social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

You can check out my food photos on my Instagram and Twitter.

Have you been to Five Guys? Let me know what you think.

Dungun, Kuala Terengganu

img_8388Monday morning was sad. We loved KL and didn’t want to leave. But what awaited us was turtles, beach, pool and relaxing. Now I’m not a beach or sunshine person, so I had my reservations. Literally I was wrong about everything. After a quick 50 minute flight with AirAsia aka zero leg room airlines we landed at Kuala Terengganu airport. Like in KL, they have a taxi counter and they understood what we meant with our rambled variations of Tanjong Jara Resort, we paid our money and hopped in a taxi. About 30 minutes in and after making phone calls, the driver tells us there is a problem with his car, but not to worry because his friend would pick us up and take us the rest of the way. My reaction? “I’m going to die. This is like Taken, but worse”. Liam Neeson wouldn’t save us this time. Luckily he pulled in to a busy petrol station and his friend arrived in a licensed taxi, he apologised a lot and off we sped. Literally. Whilst they have nice big smooth roads, people still drive like maniacs. I’m not certain if there were speed limits or not. But we got there alive so it was fine.

img_8257On arrival at Tanjong Jara, they chime the gong to signify your arrival. Out we stepped into the heat and humidity, our suitcases whisked away and we were seated in the open air lobby and handed some rose lemonade and sweets (plus cold towels because DAMN it was hot). Our room was ready on arrival so we were taken for a tour of the resort (swanky) and led to our rooms. Basically the best place I’ve stayed. img_8288Whilst we had a twin room comprising of two single beds, we also had an extra day bed, a walk in wardrobe and a bathroom bigger than my flat’s lounge. Two sinks and a shower big enough for about ten people. Not too shabby. Worn out from our early start and travels, we headed straight to the beach to chill for the afternoon. Now, one thing you should know about the resort. Where it sits geographically means that whilst it’s nice and hot (and humid), it is also prone to rain. I spotted the signs and headed back to the room. Lisa was less lucky and got a bit wet.

img_8287That night we went to their restaurant for our first dinner with Chef Ann. She comes over and chats to you about the menu and asks what you like and don’t like to recommend dishes. My prawns in a spicy coconut sauce was lovely, with crispy spring rolls on the side and a portion of fluffy rice. Add some yummy cocktails into the mix and we were very happy. After dinner was the main event – our first turtle release (and struggling to get into hammocks)! So, the reason we visited this resort is because Emma (Lisa’s sister that joined us in KL) was volunteering for the Lang Tengah Turtle Watch programme which is based on the resort’s beach. img_8307Local men comb the beaches at night and rescue any eggs from poachers looking to eat or sell the eggs, and the volunteers monitor them and release them when they are ready to go. After a very professional talk from Emma about the programme and why we need to look after turtles, we headed down the beach in the dark to the special track they had built to help the turtle on their way. I don’t think there is anything better than a bucket of turtles making their way down to the sea. img_8311Due to magic (magnetite) in their brains, when turtles are released their internal GPS sets to their location so when they come back to breed in 20-50 years time, they will come back to that exact beach. It’s all very exciting. So high on turtle fun times, we headed back for a well earned sleep.

img_8325Tuesday was spent chilling by the pool, drinking beer. The pool was beautiful, our second infinity pool of the holiday but this time looking out over the beach. Warm water made swimming around completely bearable. Then the rain came. And BOY did it rain. We didn’t duck for cover quick enough so we were drenched fairly quickly. So we did what all responsible adults do in that situation. whatsapp-image-2016-10-22-at-13-02-49Shove our bags onto the sun loungers and covered them in towels, then dive bombed into the empty pool. The rain storm cooled the air down, so being in the warm water was really nice. After an hour of playing in the rain, it calmed down enough to run back to our room and take shelter on our patio. A second dinner with Chef Ann rounded off our chilled day – this time spicy black pepper beef, chicken satay and of course more spring rolls. Catching the end of happy hour, we grabbed some cocktails and headed back to our room for a game of ludo that we acquired from the front desk.whatsapp-image-2016-10-22-at-13-02-40

Wednesday was spent in a similar vein, except this time I ventured out alone after breakfast and was the first person on the beach. I think I finally understand what relaxing is. Hiding my sunburnt shoulders under my t-shirt, I ventured into the sea as we had plans to go snorkelling, and I’m a bit on the scaredy cat side when it comes to the ocean. And swimming. p1030130And open water. And sharks. I admit, there are no sharks where we were, but having watched The Shallows a few days before heading out left me a bit nervous. But it was perfectly pleasant, listening to the sounds of the waves, under my sun umbrella and reading my book. I could have stayed there forever. img_8386The afternoon drew us up to the pool where we booked our snorkelling trip (more on that below). We also ventured out to see Emma in her turtle hut and were rewarded by being allowed – after copious amounts of hand sanitiser – to hold teeny tiny newly hatched green turtles. Worth every minute we spent on a plane. They are so strong! Riding high on turtle love, we ventured outside of the resort and walked up the road to CB Wee – a local Chinese restaurant. For £9 between three of us we go: black pepper beef, chicken and cashews, mixed veg, fried rice, noodles, four iced teas and a beer. And, scandalously, the black pepper beef that cost £1 was so much better than the expensive stuff at the hotel. Well worth the short walk. Later that night as we snuggled up in bed, the heavens opened and we didn’t sleep until about 3am due to the torrential rain, thunder and the lightning that hit so close by the room shook.

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img_8406We grumpily awoke on Thursday and after a quick breakfast and issues with contact lenses, we hopped in the mini bus and headed down to our boat that took us on the 45 minute ride to Tenggol island. It was beautiful. We pull into the bay and wade through the shallows to the beach. After dumping our things at the cafe, we donned our snorkels and waded out. Now, at this point, I was scared. I’ve tried snorkelling before and kept hyperventilating and freaking out, so that combined with my dislike of swimming, swimming in the sea, swimming in open water, swimming in deep water and fish – I was reluctant. whatsapp-image-2016-10-22-at-13-05-15But I also knew I’d regret it if I didn’t. So whilst we were knee deep and before we reached the coral aka the point of no putting your feet down, I plunged my face in the water and taught myself to breathe. Turns out it’s much easier when the snorkel is attached to the mask and there’s interesting things to look at. And I was off. Highlights: watching grown women be super excited by clown fish and being sad I’d only seen one reef shark, to then have two swim a foot away from my face.img_8332 After an hour of swimming, we headed back to shore for our lunch and a chill out. Then it was back on the boat to go out into deeper water to go on the hunt for a Hawksbill Turtle that is known to live around there. Sadly, we didn’t see it (because Emma was there) but I swam in super deep water and only panicked about a shark attack once, so I think that’s a win. img_8412After a long boat ride home, a hot shower and a dry change of clothing, we headed out to conservative Dungun for the night market. Very different to the night markets of Laos, this basically centred around food. Plastic bags of chicken satay, spring rolls and coconut rice wrapped in leaves that was sticky and gooey and delicious. Sadly we could not stay long as we had another turtle release to get back for! After the turtle release, we decided it was only right to end our trip with happy hour cocktails on our porch.

img_8324Our final day saw us not having to leave until later afternoon, so we chilled by the pool and listened to Emma’s turtle speech before heading back to Terengganu. In KL we stayed at the airport hotel – slightly less luxurious than we were used to. A dinner from 7/11 of crisps and beer was our final meal in Malaysia. Early the next morning we awoke and headed home. On the plane I was a proper old lady and had to use not one, but two blankets. Because I’m so old now.img_8425

So concluded our trip. In conclusion, Malaysia is beautiful. Super easy to navigate, pretty much everyone speaks good English, and it’s dirt cheap. I definitely want to go back and explore Kuala Lumpur more, and everyone told us repeatedly to visit Penang for the street food so that’s high up on the list for the next adventure!

For more of my pictures, check out my Twitter and Instagram. Some photo cred for above for Lisa – you can find her on Instagram and see her views on the trip on Twitter and her blog!


No.32, Duke Street, Brighton

photo 1 (2)After seeing Jess and Josh Cook’s Instagram photo of their burger fest at No. 32 Duke Street, I decided it was time to drag everyone along with me for all the meat. We arrived just after 6pm on a Tuesday and it’s pretty empty. As in there are two other full tables. The waiters are clearly bored and in 20 minutes we had four different waiters ask us if we wanted to order our drinks. We kept saying we were waiting for a friend but they did not get the hint. When Catriona finally arrived with her mangled foot (not as gross as it sounds) we ordered our beers. Our drinks arrived promptly then they seemed to stop caring and it took a while for someone to take our food order- one classic burger, a spicy burger and a Brie burger. All with chips. Obviously.

photo 2 (2)Because I’m lame I got really excited that their napkins are slightly better quality than usual. Feel luxurious but still rip-able and clearly disposable. But they feel like they might be reusable.

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The ‘Spicy’ burger

The food finally arrived and boy were the chips good (for two of us anyway). Not too crisp but not to soft and super salty. My spicy burger was, frankly, a disappointment. No hint of spice. It came with a huge amount of blue cheese that was particularly whiffy and yummy, kimchi that could have not been there and made no difference, and mustard mayo. The blue cheese overwhelmed everything – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not what I wanted or expected. I admit that I like super spicy food, which most places don’t do as they have to cater to everyone. I get that. But don’t call something spicy that has no spice in it. Pungent Burger might have been a better name for it. Nice bun though.

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The Classic burger

Catriona: “I ate the No 32 Classic with no tomato relish. The mustard mayo was an unpleasant surprise, but overall the burger was tasty! Until the last few mouthfuls. I found a bit of gristle in my patty and that, coupled with a greasy/fatty bit of bacon, I’m done. Chips were phenomenal though.”

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The Brie burger

Lisa: “Brie burger was okay. Brie was all in one lump but lovely when you found it. Chips were okay but too salty.”

So, all in all, a mixed bag. To sum it up, I would say it is fine. Whilst I won’t be hurrying back for the best burgers ever (oh hey Coggings and Co), if I was in town and had a hankering for a burger, you could certainly go worse places (oh hey, JB’s Diner). Burgers priced around the £12 mark with chips included is good in my books – I hate when you go places and they charge you £12 for your burger then an additional £3 for chips. Beer is well priced – a bottle of Brooklyn Lager was £4.50 which is, sadly, about right for the tiny bottle. On a weekday they also do a burger, chips and milkshake deal for £10 which is a bargain.

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The view from my toilet door

They also have insanely huge toilets. I thought there was a mirror in the middle, it wasn’t. It was more toilets. Well done team.

So after our burger and beer fest, we pootled off to watch Suicide Squad feeling that perfect level of full – not hungry but also not so full you can’t move.

You can find No.32 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and don’t forget to give me a follow for ramblings and photos.

Zio Peppe, Brighton

photo 1We heard about Zio Peppe as one of Catriona’s students is the manager. So we decided to pop along before our cultured evening of Shit-Faced Showtime (Pirates of Penzance for those interested). We rocked up at 7pm on a Saturday to find our reserved table in the window – the perfect seat for people watching and spotting your friends walking in the wrong direction. If you search for the restaurant on google maps, it sends you to the wrong place. It’s actually between Costa and Cafe Rouge. Not down the little alley way to East Street.

photo 4Federica is a wonderful host. After explaining everything on the menu and the specials board (remembering a conversation she’d had with Catriona before and knew my love of friarelli from VIP Pizza). Ordering a round of drinks (red wine, orange juice and two Peronis) and some starters (two cheesy garlic breads) we settle in for a natter – and a free bowl of olives that Federica magics onto the table. Every time Federica wanders past we have a chat and get to meet her brother Lorenzo, who is also the pizza chef.

Cheesy garlic bread
Cheesy garlic bread

The garlic breads arrive, with a surprise bruschetta for Catriona. The garlic bread is brilliant. Soft, chewy bread and a really generous amount of mozzarella melted on top. Jenny B’s words “none of that frozen shit here, perhaps a slice too much for a starter but worth it.” The bruschetta comes loaded with fresh tomatoes, rocket, parmesan and balsamic dressing. Catriona’s words “Good bread, good and fresh and not too filling. Tomatoes aren’t soft and squishy and I don’t feel hot and stuffed, just warmed up and ready for the next course!”


After a little wait, the mains arrive. Turns out, didn’t need starters. My pizza is huge. Jenny B and Lisa’s pasta bowls are loaded up, and Catriona. Well. She ordered the lamb shank with fries. What actually arrives is the lamb shank with a pile of veg, roast potatoes, fries and – to top it off – a bowl of the mushroom risotto which no-one ordered but Federica insisted we try as it’s her favourite dish.

Pizza Lorenzo
Pizza Lorenzo

We’ll start with my pizza (my blog, my food first). The dough is wonderful, an interesting mix of a crisp outside and fluffy inside. There was a super generous amount of cheese and friarelli. The sausage is the only disappointing thing. There’s no flavour to it and it’s a bit gristly in some places. Other than that, I am a HUGE fan of my pizza.

Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti Carbonara

Jenny B’s carbonara is “good, authentic and home-made”, Lisa’s napoli is “tasty and filling, really good!” and Catriona’s lamb fell apart when she put her fork in it. The meat was tender and smothered in an aromatic red wine and rosemary sauce. The fries are crisp and salty. The mushroom risotto I did not touch because, well, mushrooms, but Catriona enjoyed the few mouthfuls she managed. We all ended up taking doggy bags home with us (kindly labelled so we knew what was what! The carbonara is as good the next day as it was that evening).

Spaghetti Napoli
Spaghetti Napoli

Sadly we noticed the time and had to get a move on, but not before Federica presented us with limoncello and handed me a takeaway box of tiramisu for later!

Lamb shank
Lamb shank

Phenomenal service aside, we were big fans of this place. Big portions of good food, what more do you need? I admit that I think some of the options were over priced, for example I actually wanted the scallop and king prawn linguine with chilli and garlic. But at £22 I felt this was a bit much – had it been £16-£18 I would have felt that was more reasonable. The steak (no size stated) was also above £20. But this aside, lovely décor, perfectly located for people watching and outstanding service. And the service wasn’t just for us, the couple next to us had two screaming children (for which they were very apologetic) and when the toddler threw her pasta on the floor, another waitress simply got her another portion to go and played with the baby and were perfectly happy and friendly to all customers. My meal – a Peroni, a garlic bread and my pizza – came to £23 (we were super lucky and got the limoncello and tiramisu for free).

Mushroom risotto
Mushroom risotto
Limoncello whoop!
Limoncello whoop!

Zio Peppe are on Facebook, and I’m on Twitter and Instagram – give all of them a look!

Wahaca, Brighton

Please note: going here wasn’t my choice, I suggested La Choza and Catriona suggested otherwise. I was too exhausted to argue.

photo 2 (2)So we arrived at the new Wahaca at 6:30pm on a Tuesday and it was already buzzing with a fun and friendly atmosphere. After waiting 10 minutes in the bar we were seated in the window. Whilst the table was a decent size (you know sometimes a table for two is ridiculously tiny?) the seats were terrible. Imagine sitting in a plastic bucket with some fuzzy fabric on it. I spent all night feeling on edge – not what I needed that day. Or indeed ever. Not even a cushion to sit on. After another wait we manage to order some drinks – one bramble (me) and one medium Sauvignon (Catriona). Note: if you want to order wine you can only get a 175ml glass, a 500ml carafe or a bottle. No large glasses. And they charge £6.25 for the pleasure of a Sauvignon. One more wait and the wine arrives. Another wait and the cocktail arrives. Whilst we waiting then AGAIN to order food I try my drink and am instantly less annoyed. Wonderfully tart with loads of lime juice. Catriona’s wine is “nothing special, it’s alright wine but it could definitely be bigger”.

photo 3 (2)Finally we get to order and I go for the slow cooked burrito with extra cheese, and Catriona goes for the tapas selection of slow cooked lamb shoulder tacos (the special that day), sweet potato and feta taquitos, and chorizo and potato quesadillas.

photo 1As the food is “freshly made” it comes when it is ready and the tacos arrive first. Two small bundles of meat in a soft tortilla, I ask how it is and get a “meat is good” Catriona nods with a mouth full of food. “The last mouthful was the best”. Second comes the quesadillas, third the tacquitos, and fourth is Jenny with no food boo 🙁 After one mouthful of the quesadilla, Catriona shouts “THAT’S GREAT” and offers me a mouthful. It is damn tasty. Although in my opinion could do with a bit more filling, just feels a bit empty. The tacquitos were “phenomenal”. Considering Catriona nearly didn’t order them they were her favourite thing. One thing, they could do with more feta. They were described as containing feta however it was just sprinkled on top.

photo 2My burrito arrived and in my excitement to eat I pick it up and the pulled pork slowly falls out the bottom. So I had to eat it with a knife and fork which felt very very wrong. The pulled pork was good, well spiced and flavoured and there was plenty of meat. It came with a little side of tortilla chips which were crunchy and salty and a good contrast to the messy (slightly soggy) burrito. This is why La Choza’s foil wrapped burritos are brilliant. They have a lack of mess. The burrito wasn’t spicy at all, and I didn’t like that they don’t give you an option on the heat. I imagine it’s because, as a national chain, they have to be fairly bland to cater for people that don’t like

photo 3The general consensus from our trip was “meh”. The food is fine. The drinks are fine. It’s a fun atmosphere and good for families but it’s no La Choza. If you just want some Mexican food you could do a lot worse but you could also walk about 5 roads over for La Choza. After our meal, Catriona agreed that we should have just gone to La Choza. They had only been open a week or so when we went so we hoped the waiting was due to it being new and perhaps a lack of staff.

photo 4Our meals and drinks came to £35, and we both agreed that we felt our share was too much for the taste.

Basically, go to La Choza. It’s always the better option. However, you can check out Wahaca on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram – and very excitingly we finally convinced Catriona to join Instagram!

VIP Very Italian Pizza review

photo 2 (2)We arrived VIP Very Italian Pizza at 7pm on a Wednesday and despite it already being busy, we manage to snaffle a table by the kitchen so we can people watch. I’m a big fan of anywhere that is constantly busy all night, especially mid week, I take it as a good sign. After ordering some wine (obviously), We took recommendations from the waitress and led Catriona to order a Parma and I a Friariella (because I like sausage and broccoli). We also got some olives because, well, olives. They turned up firm, fresh and and salty. The wine was pretty good for a house white and a house red. Not the best but also at £4.90 for a large glass no one is really complaining.

The atmosphere in here is great, busy the whole night through, busy and buzzing. The waiting staff are really friendly and happily exchange Catriona’s small wine for a large one when they accidentally give her the wrong size. The pizzas arrive after a lot of lustful glances, and boy are they worth the wait.

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The pizza dough in itself is a work of art. Soft and chewy but still nice and thin. Nom. Mine is topped with sausage and broccoli. It’s proper sausage. Actual meat rather than some meat padded out with breadcrumbs and fat. Super tasty. The broccoli is soft and almost spinach like. Perfection. Catriona’s is topped with rocket, Parma ham and long parmesan shavings. Exchanging a bite of sausage for a bite of Parma (we’re good friends like that) I admit hers is damn good.

photo 3 (2)After a solid attempt, we both end up with a a doggy bag to go (heads up – the pizza will leak through and stain what is in your bag) and order a lemoncello so we can keep chatting and watching the line of people that is forming out the door. After paying the bill we decide to be whimsical and head to the Brighton Wheel. This was after going to Morrisons for some mini wine bottles and scratchcards. Because we’re classy like that.photo 2 (3)

All in all, good night out. Our bill came to a grand total of £32.30 which in my books is a good deal. If you’re hanging around Old Steine and looking for good food – head here.

You can check out VIP on Facebook and Instagram and I’m available on Twitter and Instagram.

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I <3 Brighton

The Breakfast Club, Brighton

Who doesn’t love being served breakfast food all day? When we found ourselves hungry and walking around the south lanes of Brighton in the rain this August bank holiday Monday, we walked past The Breakfast Club ( the former home of Fat Leo’s) and were drawn in by the promise of breakfast at 2:30pm. We arrived in a quiet period and were seated in a cosy booth with views of the rain-soaked streets outside as well as the other diners. The first thing we noticed was the rather epic and varied playlist – whilst we were there we heard from Beyoncé, Destiny’s Child, Ricky Martin, early Madonna, Doris Day and the classic “Ooo stick you” by Daphne and Celeste. The layout of the main room meant that it took us a little while to get served as we were hidden behind the stairs from the bar, but we were so busy drooling over the menu we weren’t too bothered by this.

Aperol Spritz and Rosie and Gin
We were served by Maisie (shout out to her for being super helpful and lovely to us!) who guided us on food choices before we picked the chorizo hash browns for me and the breakfast burrito for my companion after a discussion about “how spicy is spicy?” We also had a cocktail craving which Maisie fixed with the bar staff – note: they don’t serve the full menu or cocktails on weekends to save them during busy times, but if you ask nicely and it’s not too crowded they will serve you Aperol Spritzs and Rosie and Gins (Bombay Sapphire, Rosemary Syrup, Pineapple Juice).

We’ll start with the cocktails – the Aperol Spritz was well-balanced with enough soda for me to be able to drink some without screwing my face up but not enough to make Catriona whinge about her weak it is. The Rosie and Gin was from me being brave. I don’t drink Bombay Sapphire. I’m also not super keen on rosemary. But in the spirit of being brave and trying new things I ordered it. The pineapple was the main flavour coming through and the rosemary counterbalancing the sweetness. I recommend.

An empty stomach meeting our strong drinks meant that we were hitting the tipsy line when our food arrived. Mine a bowl piled high with fried potatoes, chorizo, sweet roasted peppers and onions and friend eggs (and a mushroom which I tried a bit of to be brave and quickly passed over). Catriona’s burrito was stuffed full of ground chorizo, fresh scrambled egg, roasted peppers, mushrooms and spicy pepper sauce with plenty of sour cream, salsa and guacamole on the side.

Breakfast burrito
Breakfast burrito
The fried potatoes were heaven, the chorizo was smokey and spicy and the onions and peppers were soft and sweet and gave a freshness to the carby goodness which went perfectly with the salty and slightly melted feta I added. The eggs were fried perfectly, the second I put my fork into it, the yolk oozed out over my plate. The only thing I would change about this dish is having the addition of some chilli, or some BBQ/spicy sauce. The mouthfuls that had chorizo were brilliant, but the potato and egg combo was slightly bland. Ketchup and Brown Sauce was provided on the tables, but as a spice lover I would have appreciated some Tabasco being offered. The portions were more than plentiful and by the time I had finished wiping my plate clean with the last piece of potato I was very content and sleepy.

Chorizo and potatoes and eggs
Chorizo and potatoes and eggs
The burrito nearly broke Catriona due to its size. She is less of a fan of spice and every so often she would go “ahh found a spicy bit” and dip her fork into the sour cream. I tried a bit of the salsa and thought it was fine – the classic game whenever we eat together. She was impressed by the fresh scrambled eggs as we had worried they might have been mass cooked and left until needed, but they seemed fluffy and made to order.

This isn’t the cheapest place to get breakfast food. You’re looking at the price of a ‘proper meal’ – my bowl with added feta came to £10.70, the burrito was £9.00 and an extra £1.50 for a pot of sour cream (note: don’t order this as it comes with sour cream), and the cocktails were £8 each. This was a bit of a splurge but since we had been mooching around town frivolously spending money, this fit that brief. I would save coming back here for a special occasion rather than it becoming my go-to breakfast place – but this is purely for the price rather than the food. You definitely get what you pay for. We enjoyed every mouthful of our food.

We only saw the breakfast/brunch menu but it is varied and provides plenty of vegetarian options and ranges from pancakes to eggs in various styles to full fry ups. The drinks on offer include tea and coffee, juices, wines, beers and cocktails with happy hour every day between 5 and 7pm.

You can check out their website styled on pixelated video games here as well as on social media: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and you can check them out if you live outside of Brighton as they have sites scattered around London.

As always, if you have time to spare and like reading rants about commuting, rain and tourists then you can check me out on Twitter and Instagram.

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 – http://lisathepirate.blogspot.co.uk/)

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.