Monday, 6 June 2016

VISITED AND ATE AT: Bank Holiday Weekend in Brighton

I love love LOVE Brighton. This is only the second time I've been. The first time was last April with some of my food blogger friends and I fell in love with the place. It's a typical seaside town BUT it has quirky independents - cafes, restaurants, shops, juice bars - I love the Laines. I love the atmosphere. And I particularly like the gin pub we went in). Brighton is always a lot of fun, whether you're going down for the food, the sunshine (we got very lucky with the weather!), the shops or the (sometimes questionable) nightlife.

We drove down on the Saturday, after spending Friday night at Ferguson's. Saturday bank holiday driving was MENTAL. It took us over 4 hours to get there (for a 3 hour journey). We were grouchy and just wanted to be by the sea. But, we got there eventually. We stayed at a trusty Air B&B and I would 100% recommend you stay here too. The location was perfect - minutes away from the seafront, a 15 minute walk to the shops/centre and a really quiet home away from home.

We arrived, unpacked and decided to head out for food. By this point we were starving and I'd already scoped out where we should go. Luckily for us, Franco Manca had just opened the night before. I've never made it to the London ones despite wanting to go for AGES. So with only a 20 minute wait for a table, it seemed too good to be true. We sat down, ordered a few bottles of red, some olives and garlic breads between us while we browsed the menu. Ems and I went for the ham, wild mushrooms one, H and the boys had meaty, peppery ones.

I was more than happy with this. It was absolutely delicious. The toppings were full of flavour and the base was perfect. I will 100% be back for one of these babies. Following on from this, H and I shared some ice cream. We then thought it would be a great idea to order three rounds of shots (limoncello and grappa). The staff were fantastic and even gave us the shots for free (which is SUPER nice for a group of 6!)

We went to a pub round the corner (I forget the name, it was opposite a tacky Wetherspoons) and Ems and I drank Hugo cocktails  - Prosecco, apple, mint and elderflower - they were beeeeautiful. We stayed here for a while before heading off and doing something VERY touristy. We grabbed a few cans of beer and a bottle of Prosecco and drank on the beach until the early hours. You know what? I loved it. It was so peaceful (surprising for a Saturday night, especially on a Bank Holiday).

The next morning with a few sore heads, we had a bit of a lie in before heading The New Club. Now I'd been here last April with the foodies and it was a bloody disaster to say the least (COMPLETELY unseasoned avocado is NOT my thing). A year and a bit on, they seem to have sorted their shit out a lot more. I went for the same thing but as it now had basil pesto with it, I figured it had got to be better. And it was. The crusts of the sourdough were definitely a little overdone but it was miles better than before. The boys had fry ups, Ems had a veggie breakfast - all said they were impressed.

We had a little wander up the beach front with our friend Chloe (who is now a Brighton local) and went onto the Pier (which I hated, too touristy...I know that's what it's all about!). We wandered around a few shops before ending up in a cool little pub. The Office (on Sydney Street) currently hosts an impressive 25 gins behind the bar with all the old favourites plus a few new ones I'd never heard of. I think it's only just recently that they've decided to focus on gins, I could be wrong? They also did a few ales/beers so the boys were pretty happy too. AND they serve food, Thai food. We had some calamari and spring rolls and they were delish! I mean A GIN PUB. What is better than that? We stayed there for a while, H got shat on by a was all quite comical.

We'd decided that evening to head to Wahaca. I'd heard really good things about the other locations and I LOVE Mexican food. We all went for some tortilla chips, guac and salsa to share. The boys tried the pork scratching, which actually didn't look so bad. I had multiple Mexican Mule cocktails (amazing), the others drank a mix of cocktails and beer. Mains-wise, two of the boys had a few bits from the Mexican tapas and the rest of us went for burritos. I opted for the pulled pork. Overall, I was bit disappointed. It was too spicy for me. I could tell that the flavours were really good but the kick of the spice afterwards was just too much for me. To make up for it, H and I shared ice cream (again!) this time the salted caramel. AMAZING! Cannot recommend this more. So if you took out the main, everything else was great. All of the others thoroughly enjoyed theirs though so it's just me being a total wuss!

From here, we went to the East Street Tap. Such a cool place! The music was great, the atmosphere was on point for a night out AND it wasn't too busy. In all honesty, I expected Brighton to be waaay busier considering it was Bank Holiday weekend. We were all flagging a little bit after the night before and with a 10am Air B&B checkout, we figured being slightly sensible for once in our lives was fine.

After a slightly longer snooze than the night before, we checked out and headed over to The Breakfast Club. Both Ems and Chloe had never been (and the boys didn't care where we ate all weekend as long as the food was good and there was meat on their plates!). I love the Breakfast Clubs - the food is always consistent, the music is always cheesy and it's just a nice experience eating there. We had to wait 10 minutes for a table, again, I was amazed it wasn't busier! We were seated in one of the booths upstairs and left to browse the menu.

Ems and the boys went for the All American Pancakes, Chloe had the Berry Pancakes and I went for my standard Eggs Florentine with a side of bacon (I always have this at TBC...boring I know!). We had a pitcher of orange juice and a coffee each and it felt like the food didn't take too long at all.

Everybody was very full and very happy with their breakfast so I was pleased that my restaurant suggestions had gone down well. From here we had another wander around the Laines, grabbed a few Ben's Cookies for the car journey back and a juice from 42 Juice.

I loved our weekend in Brighton. Of course I did, it was all involving tasty food and gin! I can't wait to go back to Brighton, I'd even live there if work would let me!

Tell me what your favourite things are to do in Brighton - food, bars, shops - I want to hear all about it before I go back!xo

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