If you follow me on Instagram (and if not, why not?) … you’ll have seen exactly why I’ll never be slim, summed up in two photos. One of a Crème Brulee doughnut, the other of the nicest fried chicken I’ve ever eaten and, as you can imagine, I’ve eaten a lot of fried chicken in my time. So let me tell you about my foodie 24 hours in Brighton.
It was a very spontaneous mid-week trip with a new man-friend, courtesy of Travelodge. We chose Brighton because it’s not too painful for either of us to get to, the hotel is right on the seafront and although I was there last week, I just never get bored of the place! It’s the type of town you can go to with your girlfriends, like I did over Bank Holiday, or with a boyfriend, or kids. It offers all types of breaks.
We arrived at 3pm, checked in and firstly, I’d just like to say a few words about the hotel. You know where you are and what you’re getting with a Travelodge. It’s not The Ritz, but that’s cool. The location was perfect, the room was clean and a big shout out to the staff who were all super friendly, helpful and really rather lovely to both of us. There was a little glitch with the wifi (insofar as it didn’t work) but when I asked for a late check-out (ahem) … they gave that to me free of charge. So top marks for service.
We headed out early evening and pretty much just stumbled into the first bar. Literally – a rough Irish pub opposite the hotel – and after a couple of pints realised that we should probably eat fairly quickly. So we went to The Lanes and visited a seafood restaurant that my friend has been to before called Riddle & Finns. It was packed, and we were lucky to find a table. Well, we just gatecrashed someone else’s table and shared which was a really rather lovely thing to do. It reminded me of times on cruise ships when you share your table with strangers and it’s a lovely way to get to know other people. Although we only really compared crabs with the couple opposite. THIS crab I mean …
Everything was seriously delicious. From the fresh bread and various dips (aioli, mackerel pate and taramasalata) to the Singapore Crab which was sweet and spicy, octopus salad starter and the most delicious crab, garlic and chilli linguine I’ve ever eaten … all washed down with a couple of Asahi beers. Wonderful. It was a little on the pricey side – £85 for two of us – but it was worth every penny.
The rain held off thankfully so we wandered around until we came across The Bath Arms, a lovely old-fashioned (but not ‘old man’) pub in the deepest, darkest recesses of the Lanes. The staff were friendly, there were science experiments happening in the back of the pub (seriously – there was a council-run ‘Science Week’ initiative running across Brighton that week), and Jager bombs happened. It wasn’t big or clever but it was bloody good fun. Apparently.
Unfortunately, all the other photos I’d take this night were so blurry I can’t share them. Which is probably for the best.
And that’s what my entire ethos is right now – do what makes you happy. Hey, should a 46-year-old woman be doing shots on a drizzly Tuesday night in Brighton? Maybe not but who cares? Literally no-one. I promise you. So if ever you think to yourself, “Should I be doing this?” the answer (in my eyes) is always, if it makes you happy, YES! The beautiful thing about being in your forties is that you really stop caring what other people think of you, it’s wonderfully liberating. I paid the price a little the next morning but I had the best time that night.
Once we’d recovered – watching GBBO in bed helped massively – we checked out and looked for somewhere to have lunch (and this is where the fried chicken came in.) We went back to the Lanes and rather than go to somewhere like Zizzi or Pizza Express, which are nice enough, we wanted to find a smaller, independent restaurant. We walked past Plateau and I thought the menu was a little limited at first so carried on walking, without realising that I’d just seen the fixed lunchtime menu. We ended up doing a full circle and going back there which I was glad about but I did get a few, “I told you so’s.”
What a wonderful find! This wine bar and restaurant offers a great variety of wines, beers and ciders, although I was driving so had to watch my friend indulge, and the set price lunchtime menu was good value for money at £20 for three courses. We shared the fried chicken and smoked salmon starters, and the attention to detail made each dish sing. That sounds a bit twee, but I just mean the slithers of fennel and herb dressing, the wild garlic mayonnaise with the onglet steak, were the perfect accompaniments.
And then it was time for home. Oh, erm not without going to Dum Dum Doughnuts for that Crème Brulee doughnut I mentioned … well worth a visit.
A big thank you to Travelodge for hosting us for the evening and to my friend for making me laugh so much. And remember, take time to do something silly and decadent mid-week if you can, and never worry about making a fool of yourself. It’s what life is all about.