I’m currently sat on a squeaky train from Brighton to London. My neighbour, very loudly and aromatically, is eating the largest meat pasty you’ve ever seen. But all of this is perfectly fine because I feel refreshed and may even have a slight tan.
My sister Lara has been living in Brighton for two years and I thought it was about time I actually explored this quirky little seaside getaway.
After a late night on Friday, a lie-in seemed necessary. Saturday morning arrived and we quickly ate some porridge before setting off in the sunshine.
We walked to the area known simply as ‘The Lanes’, an intriguing network of shops, patisseries, cafes, food stalls, markets, restaurants and pubs in the main town.
Colourful shop fronts stand in stark contrast to one another, offering a soulful urban picture. The aroma of fresh bagels lures you around different corners like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The scent of coffee wafts between the hustle and bustle of people and their pets, plus other more ‘plant-like’ smells! It’s life, in all its forms.
Lara took me into a little deli called the ‘Brighton Sausage Company’, which apparently has the best sausage rolls for miles. They looked scrumptious, but we were saving ourselves for something particularly legendary.
… Next stop: small magazine and book market. Well who can resist a quick flick…?
Next we poked our heads inside ‘Roly’s Fudge’ shop. Free samples were at the ready and we decided the salted caramel was the best. There is a range of flavours though, from strawberry cheesecake to coffee or chocolate. Naughty but nice.
Choccywoccydoodah – made famous by the Good Food Channel – appeared before our eyes! Hoards of people were struggling to get a glimpse at the decadent chocolate creations. Inside, between the towers of chocolate cartoon figures, free samples of cake and sparkly popcorn could be found at each turn.
This little patisserie, owned by Raymond Blanc-trained Pastry Chef Julien Plumart, caught our eye. We were only passing but it had so many beautiful creations, we had to get a picture.
We found a huge charity shop on the next street and couldn’t resist a quick peruse. An old photo booth was crying out for some customers.
It was finally time to hit the beach… hands down my favorite activity anywhere, anytime.
The weather was unbelievably kind. With the sun glistening perfectly off the water, it could have been the middle of July…. The chunky coats were definitely not necessary. I even purchased a £5 pair of sunnies, officially giving winter the middle finger.
We took a leisurely stroll along Brighton Pier. It was packed with weekend tourists like myself but the sunshine had put everyone in a great mood.
But seriously, the sun was INSANE.
It was then time to forget about bikini bods for a few minutes. My sister took me to the LEGENDARY ‘Brighton Burger’. Essentially, it’s just a shack on a street corner but that doesn’t stop it being one of the most popular and delicious foodie hotspots in Brighton.
They are honestly the best fresh burgers I have ever tasted and I am not usually a big ‘burger’ kinda girl. You can pick from a great range of exotic, gourmet and traditional burgers, all hand made and soooo tasty!
I went for the blue cheese option and this was Lara’s ‘Big easy’ – a homemade burger with a fried egg, cheese, bacon, pineapple, red onion and some lovely garlic mayonnaise. If you go to Brighton and don’t drop in here, you deserve to be shot.
Now for pud! We shared a dark chocolate cookie from ‘Ben’s Cookies’, then decided this was far too good to split and we got our own. Obviously.
Teatime arrived. We sampled a delicious lavender and camomile concoction.
The new Alex Pettyfer film, ‘Endless Love’, was playing at the local cinema and it needed to be checked out…The cheesiness was verging on an entire serving of raclette, but it was a great rest stop and who doesn’t love a predictable chick flick once in a while?
At last, HAPPY HOUR was upon us. We went to reggae bar Riki Tik, where the early evenings are all about £3 mohitos. Now that is my perfect bar. It’s a little bit of Caribbean paradise – a bit run down with heaps of character.
We obviously needed more food by this point… so jetted to Thailand for a culinary taste explosion at Krua Anne. You can bring your own wine, pay £1 per person corkage and they will even store it in the fridge for you.
The menu has tonnes of traditional Thai food which is all pretty delicious according to my sister. We opted for the spicy squid to start, followed by a sweet and sour chicken dish with egg fried rice. None of that pappy batter you often find in takeaways and lots of fresh vegetables too, Yum!
Sunday was a film-fest in our pajamas, eating bacon sandwiches and drinking lots of tea. ‘Nuf said.
Brighton is a brilliant place to visit if you appreciate fantastic food, a quirky atmosphere, a mish-mash of cultures, sandy shores, mysterious alleys, buskers at every corner, cheap cocktails, lots of seagulls and the smell of incense. In other words, there is something for everyone who appreciates the good stuff.