La Fourchette is a charming, very French cafe on the Church Rd in Hove, just off the seafront and a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the promenade. It is comfortable and authentic, with leather chairs plus more formal seating. It serves the most delicious patisserie this side of Paris, beautiful, individual cakes which are simply a delight to behold as well as eat. Large selection of teas and coffees plus 'citron presse'. A nice alternative to the traditional Sussex cream tea
This delightful corner café is off the beaten track, just off the seafront in Kemp Town. It's possibly named after Mr Hudson and Mrs Bridges of Upstairs Downstairs and indeed it has a little 'upstairs' perch complete with vintage decor. The foodie treats greet you as you walk in. Wonderful French macaroons, delicious cakes of all types, tarts, lots for choc-lovers and gluten free slices, all presented beautifully and in full view. Tea is served in pretty china, lots of choice. The interior is welcoming, friendly, little corners to sit and while away time in, they never rush you. Our favourite is a mirrored, kitsch, three sided, silk-cushioned, Fifties-inspired alcove. They open the big long windows at the front in the summer for an alfresco feel, a gem!
Oh and there are lovely fresh savoury offerings too, all home-made and yummy.
237 Eastern Rd, Brighton, BN8 4TD
Google map: bit.ly/KrfH9Y
Cosmopolitan? Yes. Funky? Yes. Atmospheric? Definitely.
Tucked under the Victorian Arches, on Brighton beach, the ‘Fortune of War’ bar is the place to go.
Hip at any time – but give it a whirl on the longest night of the year, the winter solstice, and you will not regret it.
Buy a good hot mulled wine or two to get into the festive spirit and then walk down to Madeira Drive to watch Brighton’s annual ‘Burning the Clocks’. Amazing and unique, paper and willow lanterns, in all shapes and sizes, are carried in a parade through the city, illuminating the spectators, and then burnt on the beach. Tradition has it that all the hopes and dreams of the lantern makers are passed into the fire.
Followed by a great firework display over the sea, the festive mood has been set, so back inside for another mulled wine or two. Happy Christmas!
157 Kings Road Arches
Brighton and Hove BN1 1NB
Google map: bit.ly/vEzlSw
Burning the Clocks
It has the most incredibly friendly staff. They will help will all sorts of things, not just waitering, and the chips come in little silver buckets. They also know the area and can tell you where to windsurf, theatre etc. The food is inventive, healthy and cheap, and the range of coffees is superb! I've joined the local poetry group escapeshute who meet there once a month (the date changes but you can find it on their website) and I've just discovered you can book either the downstairs or upstairs room if you're having an event. I find that if I sit in the first few seats near the doorway people at neighbouring tables will strike up a conversation with me as a matter of course! Definitely a supportive environment for anyone new to Brighton. And they have free WiFi. Enjoy!
Red Veg is where vegetarians and vegans should go when they are craving some fast food - burgers, hot dogs, fries, wedges, falafels and even cake too. It is really reasonably priced and you can eat in or take away. It is as simple as that really ... don't miss the spicy babycorn firesticks!
The Robin Hood is my favourite pub in Brighton. It's cosy, friendly and they've got a great wine list. The beers are always good too. They do basic food like pizzas, have a Wii, loads of boardgames and a free computer. It's always been one of my favourites, but I've just found out that they give all their proffits to charity. Sounds like a perfect excuse for another glass of wine! It is a bit out of the way, but well worth checking out.
1-3 Norfolk Place
Just off western road, near norfolk square
Tucked away in Kensington Gardens in the North Laines, The Gardens cafe is quint-essential Brighton. With its quirky artwork throughout, a lovely upstairs balcony looking down on the lanes, and a menu that takes up two whole walls, it is definitely a place you would come back to for its good vibes and comfortable feel.
The food at this place isn't the finest cuisine, but it's location makes up for this. The balcony is a prime people watching spot. You can see right the way along Kensington Gardens which is particularly good on a busy weekend.
1 Kensington Gardens, Brighton BN14AL
The Great Escape is the perfect place to see a host of new bands. 50% cheaper and 50% longer than the Camden Queue aka Camden Crawl, this place isn't without the queues but does have one advantage- you will actually get in somewhere!
If you don't want to wait two hours to see your favourite band for the 10th time then just stop in at the nearest venue not at capacity and take a gamble. you never know ...
And the top tip for the next day before it's time to do it all again? Doze off the hangover on the beach instead of in your b&b, then head up to Bills for all sorts of organic and tasty treats. Better than a north london kebab anyday.
Various venues in Brighton.
Start off at Bill's Produce Store on North Road, where you can enjoy colourful platefuls of homemade pizza, quiche and salad in a huge room lined with delicious-looking preserves, pickles and other goodies. You'll be near North Laine now, so go for a post-lunch potter amongst the shops selling anything from vegetarian shoes to kooky sex toys.
If you have any space left after Bill's, a visit to the Bar du Chocolat on Middle Street is a must. Run by the iconic Brighton confectioners Choccywoccydoodah (Duke Street), the hot chocolate is top rate. For one last gastronomic treat, make sure you book a table at Terre a Terre, one of the top vegetarian restaurants in the country, and one of the few to serve up 'haute cuisine' vegetarian food. After all that indulgence, Sunday morning can be a bracing walk along the seafront towards Hove, past the dejected looking West Pier and towards the ice-cream coloured beach huts.
Try Bill's Produce Store for a spot of lunch. It’s ‘the in place’ at the moment but it still feels very genuine. Good prices, friendly service. The North Laines area is also worth a visit particularly for last-minute funky presents. The new library building should also be seen (Carluccio’s café and shop is just around the corner too).
Shakespeare was to rhyming couplets what this place is to bangers and mash. Mix loads of different sausages (from a fine local butcher in Hove) with as many different types of mash. Good job the bangers and mash is so good because it's the only food they do (aside from a smashing Sunday roast.) Top staff and great music seal the deal. I live in Mexico City now and miss this place massively.
Seven Dials, Brighton
Gorgeous food all week and excellent roast on Sundays. Delicious meat, scrummy veg, fabby gravy and good atmosphere combine to make this a Sunday treat!
242 Queens Park Road Brighton
Brighton Station and walk or bus
It's a tiny little tea house tucked away off the beaten tourist track in the Hanover area of Brighton, run by a couple of young gay guys, with space for 16 guests seated. Kitch and as camp as they come!
The tea room is like stepping inside a memorabilia shop, like someone's front room, with an eclectic mixture of decor dedicated to the Royals, with Union Jacks ablaze, a grand piano and pictures of Diana adorning the walls.
The house rules are hilarious (not to be taken too seriously) ie no dunking of biscuits, no clanking of spoons when stirring your tea etc!
The menu is humorous, with items such as "The Duchies Cream Tea, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth High Tea, The Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales Afternoon Tea" and the unforgetable "The Julie Goodyear High Tea" (aka Corrie's Bet Lynch!) [you get the idea!)
It kind of epitomises Brighton's eclectic campness. Well worth a visit for a fun cream tea.
107 Southover Street, Brighton, East sussex, BN2 9UA.
Simply the best veggie restaurant that I have ever visited. Reading the menu is part of the pleasure - it has a language all of its own, e.g. Bengal Babs -Tandoori spice loaded halloumi kebab, served with smoked almond custard risotto, tamarind tang, pink onion and green mango sas, and podi dust tomatoes; Cigarillo Mejoolie - Deep-fried parchment pastry crammed with cardamon mejool date and pistachio lemon mince, cinnamon dust, fennel seed sugar, served with pomegranate bead, orange and grapefruit fillets and a mint tisane granita. The flavours and textures are divine. The staff are efficient and friendly and the restaurant also caters for vegans and those who need a gluten free diet. I visit regularly and am never disappointed.
71 East Street, Brighton BN1 1HQ
Tel: 01273 729051
Italian Cafe. Good caff snacks of the Italian variety but truly delicious, excellent quality, homemade ice cream in a multitude of flavours (try a dollop of chocolate and a dollop of pistachio.. or hazel.. the strawberry is v. good too... oh dear. I'm getting over excited!
Eating a Marrocco's ice cream whilst staring at the sea is an essential Brighton experience.
On The Kingsway Beach Front (near King Alfred Centr)e.
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