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.

photo 3 (2)
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.

photo 1
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.”

photo 2
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.

photo 3
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.

photo 1 (3) photo 3 (1)

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 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.

photo 2 (4)
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 –

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.

The Salt Room

I’m going to start by apologising. I actually went to The Salt Room a week ago. Then I was lazy and it was my housemates birthday and I was lazy again. But here we go.

So because said housemate (thanks Jenny Bernarde!) does some of The Salt Room’s marketing, we got invited to the soft launch on Wednesday (ahead of the main opening on the Friday. I felt well fancy) where we got 50% off food which was even more exciting. I’ve been following The Salt Room on Twitter since they announced it, then they released the menu the day before we went so I was very much looking forward to going.

From the outside the building looks slick and upmarket – a long terrace across the front of the Hilton which opens in the summer and is heated in the winter gives views over the main road the seafront with the Palace Pier to the left, the West pier to the right. We walk in to find the standard exposed brick that now features in every pub and restaurant combined with fresh white walls and great lighting (until it gets a bit later when the light drops and we have a few issues reading the menu).

We were seated at our table next to the window (lovely views in the summer I’m sure, night time in February – slightly less so) and started pouring over the drinks menu. A long list of wine, cocktails and a special gin and Tonica menu with no Bombay Sapphire in sight (hurrah!). I settled for the Garden Fizz – beefeater gin, sage, dried citrus, lemon and bitters. These are my favourite things (admittedly sage isn’t usually in my cocktails but gin and lemon are made for each other) so I was very happy. The gin and tonic of the birthday girl came in a balloon glass which, according to our waitress, holds a pint of liquid. I’m currently finding some for my flat.


Now the food:

Starters – one lobster and shellfish cocktail, one salt baked and smoked beetroot with goat curd, cocoa nibs and blood orange. I can only vouch for the beetroot, but it’s safe to say my saying “everything is better smoked” remains true for beetroot. The only thing I would have changed would be to have a slightly smaller piece of beetroot – mine was quite large and after a while you realise you are just eating a whole beetroot. Lovely as it was, perhaps just slightly smaller in the future.


Mains – one steak (ordered well done but arrived beautifully pink in the middle), one shrimp and crab burger and one spiced monkfish (mine).

The monkfish was meaty and soft – my complaint here was that it appeared to be a big medallion of flesh, only to dive in and find the big tailbone running through the middle (and sadly I felt it was too nice a place to pick the bone up and suck the flesh off). That aside, it was lovely. Pickled cauliflower and ginger were wonderful and went well with the subtly spiced monkfish.


Having stolen a piece of crab burger, I want to go back purely to eat more of that. Small shrimps combined with crab meat made for an interesting burger – a mix of textures from the meaty shrimp and the flaky crab work well with the bun and flavoured mayo. The fries that accompanied the burger and the steak were salty and crispy and perfect – and it’s nice to not see sweet potato fries on a menu for once!

As our dishes were whisked away we started lusting over the pudding that had been delivered to the table next to us. Made to share, the Taste of the Pier platter features candy floss, mini 99’s, donuts, marshmallows, chocolate pebbles and honeycomb. Unfortunately our full bellies didn’t allow us to order one but next time I’ll forgo the starter to give it a good go!

Whilst the food was wonderful, there were a few little problems. Whilst they were super quick taking our order, we waited over 15 minutes for our drinks, 25 minutes for our after dinner drinks which never arrived so we asked for the bill, which took another 10 minutes to arrive. The lobster and shellfish cocktail had bits of shell throughout which was tricky to see through the sauce leaving my companion to pick bits out of his mouth (super attractive). I presume these are all teething issues that will be worked out when they’ve been open a bit longer. The 50% off food helped to make me not mind about the waiting, and I would certainly go back again.

I want to go back to try all of the gins. And all of the cocktails. And should probably give the wine list a good go. Then it’s on to the steak, the crab and prawn burger, the fire roasted crab claws, the raw beef, the cured salmon, the turbot, the taste of the pier…

Basically all of the food and drink. In my belly. Preferably with someone else picking up the bill.

You can perv on The Salt Room’s menus on their website and they’re on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

If you enjoy my rambling I’m on Twitter and my blurry pictures are on Instagram.

H.en – a review

Thanks to working with Laura Evans, I find out about new restaurants because she gets invited to openings and to review them (check out Places I Eat). When she mentioned H.en – a nicer Nandos – I gave it a google. Never, I repeat NEVER, google ‘hen Brighton’. All that comes up are photos and articles showcasing the worst of Brighton (take note potential hen parties: you are not welcome here. We [I] hate you). But I persevered and found their menu online and forced the boy to join me for dinner there on Friday evening. We arrived about 8.30pm and we rounded customer numbers up to 10. I was expecting it to be busier, but this always happens when we go out before pay day. The restaurant is decorated as most new restaurants in Brighton are – unfinished walls and tables, a less is more kinda thing.

So we took a table in the corner and one of the staff bought over their menus. The options are a quarter or half a chicken with two sides, or (as we went for) a chicken burger (plus a veggie burger option). We both went for sweet potato fries with our burgers (the other options: corn on the cob, salad or halloumi) because we, like the majority of Brighton, are pretty obsessed with sweet potato fries.


The burgers arrived and we were very excited. Sauces were delivered in three little bottles – the Herbie, the Miles and the Duke. Sadly, the teeny tiny nozzles get a bit blocked, and my childish impatience led to one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever done. As I squeezed the bottle to try to get some sauce out, the lid popped off and sauce hit my plate with such force that it rebounded over the table, my fries, my face, my hair and my clothes. Obviously as this point I yelled quite loudly and Dan laughed at me. A lot. Luckily we had sat at the table nearest the toilet so I ran out and hid in the toilet to wipe my face and hair clean and slunk back in to eat my dinner.



The photo of my plate is after I had cleaned up the table. Face not shown.

Sauce was literally everywhere. But anyway. The food. The burger was huge. It was basically half a fried chicken in a bun. A big pot of fries to go with it. I really enjoyed my meal (post sauce explosion) but I had two issues (other than the sauce bath). Firstly, bits of the chicken burger were quite dry which I can only assume is because parts of it were so thick (but I had lots of sauce in my plate so I managed with that easily enough) and secondly the fries were more like stumps. The fries themselves were probably some of the best sweet potato fries I’ve eaten in Brighton, but the average length of each chip was about 1cm.

But moving on to the good bits. The fried chicken was nice and crispy and not soggy and greasy. The sauces were delicious (what was left of them anyway). The Herbie was light and citrusy, the Miles had a nice tomato warmth to it and the Duke had a nice chili kick that I LOVE in a sauce. All worked brilliantly with the burger, and I imagine a grilled chicken portion would be delicious dunked in all three of these. The bottles were an issue, and as we left we heard another table suggesting they put them in pots instead so you can actually get them onto your plate. H.en say on their website that they are the first “local and happy (high welfare) chicken shop”. I wasn’t able to work out from the taste whether my chicken was free-range but there was certainly a lot of meat. And it made me happy so I’d like to think the chicken was happy as well.

I am definitely planning on going back to H.en. But next time, I’m going to unscrew the lids from the sauce bottles.

To save yourself the horrors of drunk women stumbling around Brighton, you can check out H.en’s website here: and they are on Twitter here.

If you like my ramblings then I too am on Twitter and for more food and gin photos, check out my Instagram