As Brighton throws opens its café doors and puts its tables on the streets, we scavengers couldn’t be happier for spring to hit the city streets. Swooping and pecking at the pickings on the pavement, there’s more than enough to go around after a hard winter following an impossible Lockdown.
And there’s a hint of the Middle East in the air as the Gull takes to the skies this month, with the smell of lamb kebab and Yemeni chicken wafting up from Western Road. It’s enough to send shoppers right back into Taj to buy some pomegranates; as Great Uncle Samir told us when we were just tiny chicks, ‘Once you’ve tasted the fragrant flavour of sumac, you’ll never go back to ketchup again’.
But as the sound of a hundred different languages almost drowns us gulls out on these balmy nights, in the shout out for Brighton’s favourite ethnic restaurants for this month’s Feedback page, Facebook delivered exactly… Nada. How could this be? Do people not know about the mouth-watering delights brought to this land by our friends from much tastier food cultures? Allow the Gull to fly you through some of her favourites.
Beaks up, come with me to sniff out the Egyptian lamb at Al Moosh, breathing in the aroma of saffron at the eponymous Persian on the way through West Street. Dip briefly in for the perfect Lebanese moutabal at Kambis, before pecking at the shish tawouk, perfectly grilled chicken skewers marinated in garlic, lemon and olive oil at Al Rouche just around the corner in Preston Street. The younger gulls report that there’s quite a flock enjoying the vegetarian meze around the bins at neighbouring Rotana, aka Little Marrakech, at the end of a sultry night.
Hopping on a coastal thermal, we’re off to Hove and into the tiny grocery story of UniThai where if you venture deep beyond the shrimp paste, you’ll find an even tinier restaurant out back. Family run, word has it from birds of a different feather that this is straight out of Khaosan Road.
A cooler vibe is at our own West Hill wonder, Red Snapper where Pam and Philippe have taken their family run Thai and made it a place Bangkok can only dream of.
And let’s end the night with a few shots at le Baobab in Trafalgar Street with Abdoulaye and Julie, the husband and wife team who brought their delicious mafe, yassa poisson and roti yam to Brighton from Senegal via the kitchens of Europe over four years ago. They believe in Taranga, the Senegalese term for hospitality which most of the world shares through its food culture. Well, maybe not quite the more selfish white feathered types of the Northern hemisphere. And, to the delight of the North Laine gulls, they’ve just opened up a beautiful little outside seating area, presumably with an extra place at the table for your favourite gull. As we say in Birdworld, Bottoms Up.