Well, well, what a delicious month October was. Your Gull is usually pecking at the bins of the best restaurants in town, but with rich pickings all over the streets during the bin strike, why take to the air when there’s enough pizza and burgers to feed the chicks for weeks? But as we go to press, the bins are empty again, and this bird is back on the wing.
First stop: Porthall to check out why the Chimney House, once so beloved of Brighton foodies, has lost its way. Shouting loud and proud about their local sourcing, you’d think that the pub would be packed with food fans with fire roaring and ale flowing. “It’s very hit and miss,” said one local heading home after another disappointing Sunday lunch. And after almost breaking her beak on a bit of crackling, your Gull suggests a little more love in the kitchen to lure back the locals.
Or maybe it’s that they’ve all gone to try the new vegan fish and chips at No Catch on the seafront which has even fooled Great Uncle Gull, a legend among fish connoisseurs in Birdworld. A chorus of cackles was heard among the younger climate activist gulls as he pronounced the ‘fish’ as the best haddock he’s ever scavenged.
The Gull’s London family have been raving about the Caribbean flavours at Rum Kitchen in Shoreditch, Soho and Brixton where the jerk chicken is marinated for 48 hours and the curried slow mutton simmers for six. So when it landed in Black Lion Street, your Brighton bird was straight round the back to sample its leftovers as the weekend DJ was cranking up the carnival vibe. Saltfish fritter anyone? Don’t mind if I do.
Catching a thermal to Church Street, a waft of local produce stopped the Gull in her tracks. Chef, Phil Bartley is an old mate; his restaurants Hove Place, Taste Sussex, Cases and Curds and Whey have been feeding the chicks for years. So it was a delight to see him open his latest, at Ten in the North Laine. A small plates menu is always a good look for a gull; people think they can eat like a bird, but we scavengers know that they’ll over order and there’ll be tapas for tea. And it’s quality stuff! The meats and cheeses are all from Phil’s artisanal showcase, The Great British Charcuterie, and with a lovely outside space, your friendly bird doesn’t even have to head to the bins for a beak of cheese.
Over at Circus Parade, just off New England Rd, Asian inspired newcomer, Kusaki has much to make a bird happy with its futuristic interior Japanese garden. As your gull took a much-needed perch, Brighton’s foodies devoured the menu. Plant-based and pretty as a picture, there was barely an aubergine left for the Gull to peck at. She did finally find a charred local tender stem broccoli coated in Szechuan teriyaki sauce, toasted almonds and sweet red chilli and headed straight back to Whistler HQ to report. Watch out for a full review on the Whistler website.
Now your Gull is partial to a little chocolate at the end of a hard day’s flight, and she was delighted to find not just any old chocolatier opening on Market Street, but Knoops, the café which helps you design your unique chocolate experience. Sadly, the knoopologists whose job it is to help you sniff out your perfect blend, had clocked off for the night by the time this Gull got to the kitchen door, but a quick rummage through the discards had your bird singing a whole new tune.
Back in Seven Dials as the sun set, local favourite, The Red Snapper was glowing. It’s packed to the gills again most night after changing its feathers during Lockdown to a take away and indoor market, and there’s no happier gull than this one, helping to clear up after a night on the tiles with a banquet of seabass skin and prawn tails. And as her fellow gulls glowed white against the starry sky, your Gull took flight and headed home pondering on what a tasty town Brighton has become.