Here’s some of my favourite pictures I saved on my laptop in the last half a year..In the style of the best of 2011, just well, not really the best.
The Coal Shed – Steak and Fish Restaurant
8 Boyce’s Street, Brighton (01273 322998)
Tucked out of the way in Boyce’s Street, South Lanes, I believe I’ve discovered what will become a real Gem in Brighton’s restaurant scene.
The plan for The Coal Shed, as described by themselves, is to “produce the best steak and fish restaurant on the South Coast”. Headed up and owned by a former original member of the Ginger Pig team, an excellent chain of gastro pubs in Brighton, I was expecting very elegantly produced and served food and I was not dissapointed.
I’ve visited twice and was exceptionally impressed from the moment I walked in the door. The atmosphere and decor was lovely. Although the location is not the best, on entry you are greated with elegant table settings. The branding is great too – the menus in the style of old newspapers were both informative and well laid out. The drinks selection is excellent including wine selections depending on what cut of steak or other meat you choose and it was nice to be offered a rare bottled alternative to the normal on-tap Estrella lager. The availability also of slightly more expensive wine, found normally only by bottle, in single glasses is also a great idea.
The food menu is obviously dominated by different cuts of steak provided by a farm in Billingshurst, West Sussex, near where I grew up. There are however lots of tasty alternatives for those who are not such a big fan of beef. The ‘specials’ board lists a number of the more expensive cuts of steak, sold per 100g which are meant for sharing. However, the menu for it’s quality is extremely fairly priced – for those not wanting to splash out, a burger is just £8.50 and comes with, in my partners opinion, the best beef dripping chips he has ever tasted.
We went a big crazy on our first visit and had the fillet steak at £25. We tried several of the offered accompaniments – chips, onion rings, the mixed tomato salad and cauliflower cheese. Slightly strange choices but all great in their own right. The beef itself was out of this world – perfectly cooked to order, tender, well seasoned. I could shout about it all night. I wish I hadn’t have ordered sauce now as on it’s own it was brilliant.
I have no doubt that the Coal Shed will become a firm favourite of mine. Welcoming service, amazing food and a great atmosphere, it is a no-brainer choice for either special occasions or when you fancy that slightly posh burger!
The post saturday night, lazy sunday afternoon roast dinner. Picture a chattering pub with eclectic patrons, the rich smell of roast potatoes and gravy and the familiar sound of beer glasses clinking. A british tradition dating back, some say, to medieval times, the roast dinner is no mean feat and can vary hugely in quality, price and variety.
I have chosen to focus on roasts in Brighton from traditional pubs, however I am sure there are some very good restaurants in Brighton which also serve a delicious dinner. There are holes in my research – my inability to book tables often leads to a long walk through the Brighton streets, missing out on some real gems such as the Lion and Lobster, but I will endeavour to be less whimsical and get the scoop on those soon!
Firstly, probably the best roast I have ever eaten. Not even my Mother’s compares.
- The Sussex Yeoman (9/10)
7 Guildford Road (right up past the station)
Small, cosy and serving roasts all afternoon, you need to book in advance for this gem in the north of the city centre. Offering a variety of different meats including a very lovely stuffed lamb with feta cheese and sundried tomatoes cooked fresh and with generous helpings of a variety of vegetables, crispy roast potatoes and a yorkshire, the Yeoman was a welcome respite from lashing June rain at 4pm. The only downside (if you can call it a downside) is the price here – around £15 for the roast, but it was well worth the money for the quality and distinctive style.
- The Royal Sovereign (8/10)
66 Preston Street (off western road towards the seafront)
On first sight, Preston Street looks like a bit of a dive. Packed full of takeaway restaurants, low rate bars and off licences, one might not expect The Royal Sovereign to be anything of any note. With ample seating and outdoor areas, timed right on a Sunday you can get a table without booking but due to the popularity and price of this brilliant venue it is always advisable to ring in advance. For around £10 you can get an exceptional traditional roast with all the trimmings, similar to that at the yeomans but without the twists. The service can be slow – I waited around 50 minutes, but if you want a freshly cooked meal then it is worth the wait.
- The Hop Poles (5/10)
13 Middle Street (South laines near the sea)
For a roast on a budget, this is by far my favourite. Tucked away on Middle Street just off the seafront, this pub has a great atmosphere for both drinking and lunching on a Sunday and is bustling with life and beer. The food is prepared very quickly and we had our roasts within 15 minutes. Be aware – for fullest choice get there before 3pm as particular choices go very quickly, including the vegetarian nut roast. I had the lamb – beautifully cooked with a selection of vegetables. Prices were under £9. One of my favourite features of this pub though, being a smoker, was the fact that the outside area was heated and had a retractable roof if it rained. Simple things please smokers eh. Please also excuse the below photo – yes that is indeed horseradish sauce with my lamb. An unhealthy obsession with horseradish whatever meat it is has been a part of my life ever since I was young!
- Cafe Koba (8/10)
135 Western Road
On first look, you would be forgiven for thinking that this trendy Cocktail bar by night, cosmopolitan cafe by day would not be roast heaven. Certainly, they have their own gourmet take on a traditional roast, but as a runner up in the Guardian’s best Roasts I thought it was worth a try. Apart from an over exuberant waiter and slightly lacking atmosphere that you get in a Pub, it was perfection. An excellent helping of good quality beef, an interesting combination of vegetables including sugar snap peas and duck fat potatoes with beautiful presentation and good beer, all at a decent price of £12.50.
- The Earth and Stars (9/10)
46 Windsor Street (North Laines)
Comes highly recommended from pretty much every review I have ever read, I was expecting a lot from this traditional pub. When we first got there and ordered drinks it was packed as expected and the bar staff seemed fairly inexperienced. However, the setting with huge wooden tables was lovely and the food came very promptly. Whilst the cuts of meat on offer were not the best, the home-made style of roast with a delicious selection of vegetables was very well received by the large party of us. I definitely would not hesitate to go back here again. Do book though, as I said, it was extremely busy and we had to vacate our table within 2 hours.
So there’s a small taster of the best places I have found for roasts so far. As well as the Lion & Lobster, others on the list to try include The Foragers in Hove and the Tin Drum. Please leave a comment if you have any other suggestions for me.
There is one staple in my diet, and that is coffee. Morning, afternoon, evening. Before breakfast, during lunch, after dinner. I honestly can’t get enough of the caffeinated coffee world.
Not being made of money, I generally use my lovely boyfriend’s Delonghi coffee maker (in a very nice electric blue) for the at-home indulgences, but when I’m out and about there are some great coffee shops to visit in Brighton. My coffee of late has been a very sensible, and maybe boring, flat white. But I love my milky fix.
Of course you have the normal chains of Costa, Starbucks, Nero dotted on every corner of what seems like every street in the city center, manned by Slavic froth-bots as Bill Bailey so well describes it, but here is a small list of the less well-known independent favourites of mine.
1) Frankie’s Grinder (180 Edward Street, Brighton)
This small, independent coffee shop has some really nice rustic decor and a takeaway hatch outside for those in a rush. Located very near American Express and on-route to the hospital, you can find a selection of pastries, sandwiches and other lunchtime snacks as well as some very nice and fairly priced coffee.
2) Taylor Street (28 Queens Road, Brighton)
Situated on the walk to or from the station, this is my go-to cafe if I am doing the London run. This is probably the best coffee in Brighton and is a great place to meet with friends, colleagues or clients. Also serving some lovely food, including great bacon sandwiches, brunch no longer be eaten with bad coffee!
3) Cafe Coho (53 Ship Street, Brighton)
Now I’ll admit, I’ve only been here once even though I work in the South Lanes. I’m not really sure why – I loved everything about it and all the cakes and pastries looked amazing. The decor is also really cool, open brick walls and a great way of presenting the specials on a pull down brown paper wallpaper type thing!
Welcome to the problematic first post.
Let me first tell you a little about myself, and then a little about why this blog has appeared on the internet.
For those of you who know me (probably my only readership) I apologise for the waste of the next 2 minutes of your life, for those who don’t, I’m Allie. I live in Brighton, and I believe there isn’t a city in Britain which can offer the same mixture of culture, street fashion, dining and music all within a mile square of regency, art-deco and plain ugly architecture. Of course, I’m hoping I’m proved wrong and would be very willing to accept tips for other places to visit that aren’t your standard tourist haven. I’m also a little bit sarcastic and tend to say what I think, so reviews could be quite blunt.
Style wise, I wouldn’t say I have that much. I’m curvy, fairly tall and generally love too much colour, although I’ve been trying to do the sensible thing and wear more ‘slimming’ black. My uniform is generally dress, cardigan and flats. Heels ocassionally get brought out at night but if I’m having more than one beverage of the alcoholic variety this is not generally a good plan for my ankles. That being said, I own brogues, a pair of (real) Rayban Wayfarers and a polka dot dress so I can’t be too far off the trends. Things I need to do to improve my style:
- - Realise that fashion exists outside of Topshop, H&M and Oasis and try out more online and boutique offerings
- - Care less about how fat my behind looks
- - Be more daring with mixing prints and colour. I’m analytical by nature and I think I need to stop paying so much attention to the rule books.
I’ve included some stock photos of 2 of my newest purchases so you can get an idea of what I have had my eyes on recently, and modelled photos to come:
For beauty, I’m pretty pathetic, and this is something I want to get more adventurous with also. My hair is long, straight and unbearably thick (yes this is great – but impossible to do anything with without a vat of hairspray). My eyes are noticeably my best feature, and like any normal girl I wear far too much makeup to try and highlight this. Swathes of black eyeliner some days and crazy coloured eye shadow the next. I’m still looking for a shade of lipstick I think suits me, which is definitely on my beauty bucket list. My favourite beauty implements:ntact me (I need all the help I can get…)
- - Bourjouis ‘Liner Pinceau’ Eyeliner – my favourite liquid liner with a tiny brush for perfect cats eyes
- - The ever trusty GHDs – because my straight hair can never be too straight, right?
- - Chanel ‘Le Crayon Kohl’ Pencil in Ambre – for eyeliner during the day or when I’m not feeling like showing off my bleary eyes
The rest of the blog will include reviews and chat on things I have been up to. I go for a roast nearly every weekend with my nerdy friends too, so there will be a lot of beef and horseradish related photography and posts.
Hopefully this post will only be the beginning of things, and as far as my writing and content is concerned, the only way is up!