Brighton Sunset Heart

When in Brighton… Eat Japanese

Pompoko Brighton

Prices in Brighton have been soaring lately. As the middle-class move in, the artisan coffee shops and pretentious bakeries hike up their prices and push out many of the locals.

This is why Pompoko is such a gem.

Located opposite the entrance to the Brighton Dome, you can easily miss its tiny shop front.

Although it looks like a hidden gem, word has spread about this little Japanese firecracker and the tables, both inside and out, are often heaving with hungry guests.

Japanese Rice Dish Brighton

We plumped for large steaming bowls of Oyako Don (poached egg with fried chicken) and Sesame Chicken Don with massive portions of rice and noodles.

And you just had to have some crunchy spring rolls on the side…

Japanese Food Brighton

Our bill came to just over £15 for both of us! A single dish costs around £4.70 and you can wash it down with Japanese tea for as little as 90p a cup.

I can also vouch that these dishes act as amazing hangover cures! By far my favorite budget eat in the city.

After the main came dessert…

Choccywoccydoodah Brighton Vishnu

A very different kind of dessert in the form of Choccywoccydoodah, Brighton’s famous artisan chocolatier. We marvelled over the amazing chocolate constructions and picked up some Christmas gifts.

They also have a shop in Carnarby so Londoners won’t miss out.

A must visit for any sweet-toothed visitor!

Choccywoccydoodah Brighton

With bags full of goodies we headed to the seafront to watch the sun melt away.

Brighton Pier

Brighton Sunset

I love that Brighton keeps showing me something new. I always thought that Brighton lacked the variety of London but it hasn’t disappointed me yet.

I just simply can’t get enough of Brighton.

Brighton Sunset Heart

What are your favourite places in Brighton? Where should I visit next? Let me know in the comments below or via my social network pages. 

Meatliquor Brighton

Review: Meatliquor, Brighton

Meatliquor is achingly cool. Making itself at home in hipster-hotspot Brighton, Meatliquor is something else.

MEAT Brighton

Circus BrightonThere’s a freaky circus theme running through the restaurant, with diners seated in cages decorated with garish lights and menacing clown faces.

The whole place is bathed in a red light giving the restaurant a dodgy nightclub feel.

Red Light Restaurant

Meatliquor is extremely popular, especially on a Saturday night. I recommend booking ahead, as we did not. We were seated at the bar and waited patiently for a table to appear.

As the name suggests, Meatliquor is hot on its cocktails. They looked fabulous and the bartenders stirred and shook with a fiery passion in their eyes. Unfortunately they were way out of my price-range so I had to make do looking on longingly.

Brighton Bar

The wait gave us a chance to flick through the menu. Meatliquor isn’t the cheapest place around- you’re definitely paying for the novelty- but their menu is packed full of tasty fast-food.

Meatliquor Menu

When my name was called we practically ran to our seats, drooling over everyone’s trays of burgers and fries.

Unfortunately the Saturday night rush had relegated us to the stools at the window rather than one of the funky caged booths.

It was a perfect spot for moody selfies though…

Meatliquor Brighton

But now, time for the food…

Meatliquor Burgers

My boyfriend had been raving about the Dirty Chicken Burgers here. A deep fried chicken breast, a blue cheese sauce, mayo and a special hot sauce squidged between fluffy buns.

My hopes were high.

The packed restaurant looked on in anticipation as I took my first bite…

Meatliquor Customers

I didn’t like it!

I’m sorry to say that this particular burger just wasn’t up my street.

Meatliquor Brighton

Just a bit too salty for me, sorry Ry!

Meatliquor Drinks

Saying that, I would love to go back again. This place is fabulously crazy and whipping up quite a frenzy in Brighton and London alike.

If you want to find out more then visit the website here.

Have you tried Meatliquor yet?

Restaurant Review: Bills, Brighton

Bills Brighton

I’ve been wanting to tick Bills off my list for a while now but fate had always conspired against me. I had either been unable to scrape together the pennies or they had been packed to the rafters whenever I had been passing by.

It turns out that all it takes is a bit of forward planning. My boyfriend and I managed to book a table on a Saturday night and excitedly hurried down to Brighton to see what all the fuss was about.

Starting life as a humble grocery shop, Bills first opened in Lewes, East Sussex but now has new restaurants springing up all over the country from Brighton to Bristol.

Nevertheless, the chain hasn’t lost its grocery shop roots, with jars and cellophane wrapped goodies lining the walls.

Despite being housed in a lofty, industrial-style space, Bills still feels homely and welcoming. The exposed brick walls bounce excited chatter around the large open room. The noise and style of this sort of communal dining may be off-putting for some but the brash, animated atmosphere is contagious.

Bills Brighton RestaurantAs we settled into our new surroundings we ordered ourselves a bottle of the house white, which was very pleasant although the packaging could have been spruced up a tad!

Bills Brighton House Wine

Bills Brighton Wine

Bills Wine

With wine poured we checked out the menu. Bills definitely isn’t the cheapest place to eat out but their food promises to erase any doubt over its value. We decided to opt to share some side-dishes to start, choosing the Bills big olives and home-made tortillas.

Bills Starter

The tortillas were incredible and whizzed to our table in no time at all. A twist on the traditional fast-food!

Next up was the mains. Fish-pie for me and chicken and chorizo burger for him.

Chroizo Burger Bills

FIsh Pie Bills

I’m a sucker for anything served on a wooden board so was instantly won over with the presentation. However, it may be my gargantuan appetite but I would have liked the pie to have come with some sort of accompaniment? £12.95 for a single, solo dish is pretty steep. Saying that, it was pretty delicious.

Seeing as it was date-night it would have been rude to leave without dessert. To save the pennies we shared the Strawberry Pavlova which was more than enough for two! Pavlova is my all-time favorite and this one was creamy-heaven. Gorgeous, but perhaps not as good as Jojo’s massive offering.

Bills Eton Mess

Eton Mess

With full tums and empty pockets we left Bills feeling pretty content. It had lived up to my very high expectations and had been well-worth the wait. I just might have to do a bit of saving before I head back there again!

Cheers!

Bills Brighton Dining

Have you been to anywhere nice to eat recently? Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on Twitter or my new Facebook page!

You can check out Bills website here.

 

When in Brighton… Pop in for a Pint!

Lion and Lobster Brighton

I discovered this little Brighton gem a while ago. Well, I say ‘I’, but it was actually my friend’s local when he was a student in the town.

The lucky bugger happened to have one of Brighton’s best pubs on his doorstep and happily introduced me over a Sunday lunch (which, by the way, are incredible!).

When you first walk in to the ‘Lion and Lobster’ it is as if you’ve stepped back in time (if you excuse the adorable fairy lights…). The downstairs is gloomy and atmospheric with dark wooden paneling lining the walls. I almost expected Oliver Twist and his crew to be hiding around the corners, and to spot Fagin twiddling his thumbs behind a cloud of smoke.

Alas, I was disappointed by the lack of Dicken’s characters but the scene completely changes as you wind your way up the stairs.

Lion and Lobster

Lion and Lobster Guinness

The roof terrace is the ‘Lion and Lobster’s’ best feature. Spread over two floors, this semi-covered terrace is al fresco boozing at its best. There is another bar up here and the drink prices aren’t too bad either. Sip a pint- or two – and admire the paintings and murals which adorn the walls.

Find your own little nook and make yourself at home. Brighton at its best!

What’s your favorite drinking hole?

Lion and Lobster Art

When in Brighton… Eat Ice-Cream

I think everyone needs to treat their inner-child once in a while, and what better way to do it than spoil yourself with ice-cream!

When you’re by the seaside it’s simply rude to resist the lure of a frosty cone and there’s no better place for one than Gelato Gusto.

Gelato Gusto Brighton

Tucked away down the North Lane (the gem in Brighton’s studded shopping crown), Gelato Gusto is one of the best gelato joints in town. With windows plastered with awards, this place is the real deal. They serve up all the traditional flavours alongside taste-bud tingling curveballs such as Jaffa Cake and Syrup Sponge Pudding scoops.

The gelato and sorbets are served in some of the best, crunchy cones I’ve had and are almost as good as the fillings themselves.

Gelato Gusto Ice CreamHowever, quality doesn’t come cheap with a single scoop setting you back £2.50. It’s rare of me to say, but it is definitely worth every penny.

Gelato Gusto The Lanes

Brighton Pride 2014

Brighton Station

I have never been to Brighton Pride before. I had no idea what to expect. In Brighton, I’ve learnt to always expect the unexpected…and then some.

I’ve always loved Brighton because it’s simply bonkers. Off its rocker. It’s a crazy, colourful, camp city which welcomes everyone with a warm fuzzy hug. Pride is a celebration of Brighton’s camp history, whilst also embracing the more serious issues threatening the large LGBT community both in Brighton and across the globe.

As the Gay Capital of Europe, all eyes turn to Brighton during Pride, and the crowds flock in their thousands to a party that doesn’t disappoint.

Brighton Pride Parade

Brighton Pride Parade Police

We joined the masses following the infamous parade which winds itself around the city before heading to nearby Preston Park. As the trains had been absolutely heaving, and consequently delayed, we missed the majority of the bigger floats. This bunch bringing up the rear of the parade were still in high spirits, dancing along to blaring gay anthems.

The buildings lining the parade route were decked out in full rainbow-coloured regalia and people sat drinking and dancing with their neighbours. There was a real carnival atmosphere.

Brighton Pride Parade Houses

Our friends live on the fringe of Preston Park so we went to kick off the festivities there. We had paid the hefty £20 for entrance into the park but annoyingly you weren’t allowed to re-enter. This meant we had to get all the cheap booze we had down us before being charged an arm ‘n’ a leg for a pint inside the park.

Oh, and to lather ourselves in the obligatory glitter and pride-themed face paint of course!

Suitably in the party mood, we headed to the park which had been taken over and turned into a mini festival site.

Brighton Pride Preston Park

Brighton Pride Preston Park Concert

People skipped around, smeared in face-paint and waving pride flags. The atmosphere was joyful and drunken.

The site was dotted with lots of tents and stages, a lot more than I had been expecting. There was a Cabaret Tent, Boys Dance Tent, Girls Dance Tent, a Main Stage and lots of smaller ones.

We obviously made a bee-line for the cabaret tent. Who wouldn’t on Pride?!

Brighton Pride Preston Park Crowd

Brighton Pride Preston Park Cabaret

Brighton Pride Preston Park Drag

The acts were flirty and faaaaabulous. Their costumes were incredible and they all had decent warbling voices!

There’s only so many renditions of ‘My Heart Will Go On’ you can do before you need to top up on the beers. So, forking out a painful £4.30 for a pint (it could have been worse), we basked in the warm weather, and did some people watching.

Somersby Cider

Tuborg beer

People watching is THE best pride activity and one that doesn’t cost a penny.

I was cautious not to take too many pictures, in case I was caught or ended up offending someone. But oh.my.god, some of the Pride ‘outfits’ will be forever burnt into my retinas. Pride is one of the very few places where people won’t raise an eyebrow at nipples covered only by black tape or thongs in the place of trousers.

I suppose it was a hot day…

Jokes aside, it was strangely heart-warming to see everyone and anyone walk around and simply feel comfortable and accepted in their own skin. If you want to wear a gimp suit, fine! A guy in a pink tutu, great! Itsy bitsy hotpants, they look great on you!

Brighton Pride Outfits

As the evening drew in, we headed to the main stage to enjoy some of the bigger named acts. We caught the end of Blue’s measly 15 minute set, witnessing the monstrosity of their new euro-pop singles. You should have let it go after ‘All-Rise’ boys, it wasn’t going to get much better than that.

There were a couple of filler acts with some fantastically camp dancers before Katy B hit the stage. She was great and whipped the crowd up in a frenzy. Shirts were ripped off and conga lines started as the sun began to dip below the horizon.

Brighton Pride Stage

Brighton Pride Performance

Brighton Pride Dancers

Brighton Sunset

When Katy B signed off after a triumphant set, we were ready to head back. The day might have been over but the night had yet to begin.

Brighton Fairground

Brighton Pride Fairground

Topping up on the beers, we set off into Brighton. Pride is an all day all night party. Revellers spill onto the seafront, gathering at the outdoor street parties which stretch as far as the eye can see. It was reminiscent of the Berlin May Day celebrations I had enjoyed so much. (Read about that here).

Entrance to these parties is around £15 and the streets are cordoned off with railings and stewards, keeping the partying contained. It’s a shame that Pride has become some a commercial money-driven day.

Brighton Pride After Party

Brighton SeafrontAll of the seafront clubs had also whacked up their prices for the day with the cheapest entrance being £10. No thank you.

Instead we decided to head to Mesmerist a 1950s style bar which plays old fashioned tunes and serves up killer cocktails. (Check out their Facebook page here). Unlike the increasingly rowdy crowd at the seafront, everyone here was so relaxed and just wanted to have a good time wriggling around to some 1950s music.

Mesmerist Bar

Mesmerist Bar

Mesmerist Bar Brighton

Entrance was free and the bouncers were nice! (Such a shock for Brighton). They cracked jokes with the members of the queue and waved us in with a cheery smile. The cocktails were pretty expensive, coming to over £6 each. But they were so worth it. The bartenders were obviously passionate about mixology and came up with some amazingly flamboyant creations.

Cocktails Mesmerist Bar BrightonOne lethal cocktail was all it took to push us over the edge so we headed back to Preston Park, wading through litter and bodily fluids. It had been an exhausting and expensive pride but also everything I’d hoped it would be.

I just hope that the spirit of pride and all it stands for and celebrates is able to resonate everywhere and for evermore. Not just on one day in Brighton.

What are the Gay Pride events like in your area? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Brighton at Night