Gull About Town – February

It’s Valentine’s Night in Brighton, and the skies are full of love birds and solo flyers.  Swooping into The Lanes and North Laine, your Gull’s heart is pumped as she peers in through the windows of pubs and bars, restaurants and cafes as the city celebrates the one night of the year that’s all about LOVE. 

But what’s this? The Feedback column in your trusty Whistler which should be overflowing with reader recommendations of where to eat on this special occasion has been usurped by a list of hobby workshops! How can that be? Well, a quick peck in the editor’s bin and it seems that the usual squawk on social media has resulted in an outpouring of cynicism. It sticks in the craw for this bird to read you some of the hostility towards her favourite night of the year. Wendy asks ‘Has anyone ever had a good but not overpriced meal on Valentine’s Night?  Not the night to go to a restaurant.’ Lou, normally so chipper, says; ‘‘Fraid not. We don’t do Valentines over here, but sure we could come up with some sexy places to have a meal..?’ ! Kari adds: ‘Maybe something on what us Sexy Singles could do as well…!’ Jo: ‘Most depressing day of the year. Fuels loneliness, over consumption, flower importation, and is the cause of miserable couples rowing over forced romantic meals. ‘Ban it’ say I.’ Nick: ‘I learned a long time ago never to go to a restaurant for Valentine’s Day.’ Peta: ‘Sounds like should be renamed doom’n’gloom day’.

Well, your Gull is all about bringing you the richest of pickings from the best of Brighton so, with an eye for top value, excellent company and the best food in town this Valentine’s Night, she flew down to The Gingerman, favourite of The Whistler’s food editor to see what’s cooking. At £65 per person plus wine pairing at another £35 per person, this is a treat any time of the year. There’s no Valentine’s menu or inflation of the price, but then there are no tables left for Feb 14 either. And that’s because the Ginger family is a legend in Brighton, its bin bags cawed about in hushed tones by the elder gulls who have trained their palates on the winter truffles accompanying the local ceps, the roast fallow deer with salsify, smoked bone marrow, walnut and chocolate and the blackberry souffle, still pretty as leftovers for a discerning scavenger. This is the top of the tree for food fans in Brighton. 

Heading up towards Western Rd, Market is a-buzz with cool tunes and counter culture as the windows steam up with happy foodies. Again, there’s no Valentine’s menu, but there’s a party any day of the week out the back for us feathered foodie fans. As we peck at the morcels in the bins, our migratory chums, freshly back in balmy Brighton from warmer climes, share exotic stories behind our titbits; the cheese from La Mancha, jamon from Teruel and spiced pork from Monroyo as we dream of riding the thermals across the Spanish plains.

A last flight across to the sea (and an almost full moon this Valentine’s Night), and Moshimo is packed to the gills. News of its ethically sourced fish and seafood has sent its reputation soaring, especially among the younger gulls who are also pretty impressed with its vegan menu and high welfare meat sourcing. Its Fishlove campaign to end overfishing has done much to protect fish all over the world, which goes down very well indeed among seabirds. 

There’s no Valentine Menu so Brighton’s love birds will be sharing the most ethically farmed salmon in the UK, grilled with a teriyaki sauce or a Cornish crab and cucumber crispy seaweed handroll, as they always do. 

But if Valentine’s Night is but a cruel reminder that life is a bicycle made for two, remember that this Gull flies solo. Find yourself a thermal, even if it’s a night in with 6Music turned up, and enjoy the ride.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

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