If anyone asks, it wasn't me. Locals will never forgive me for letting you all in on the delights of the Seven Dials/Prestonville area of Brighton. Just a short walk from the station but never a hen do or foreign student party in sight, this is one of the best areas to really nestle down in to true Brighton life.
This is a classic little Japanese restaurant. No sushi belt nor neon lights just great food and the best plum wine in the City. In the week you may get lucky and find a table but book for the weekends. It has all the classics and usually a great selection of specials. They even have a takeaway service if you/re own creature comforts are a calling. The bento boxes offer particularly good value and a wide range of choices. Check out number 9 on the current takeaway menu, Teriyaki Don with breaded, deep-fried tuna option, you’ll thank me. More sophisticated and well-travelled friends assure me that it's very reminiscent of a neighbourhood restaurant in Japan. Which is lovely and all that. All I know is that I'm obsessed with their korokke pumpkin. Just note that at lunch they have a slightly more limited, but excellent menu and they are closed on a Monday.
Ahhh Shakeys. The nights we've spent together, putting the world to rights whilst devouring mountains of mash and ladling gravy in to my mouth like some debauched Roman emperor. This is a brilliant boozer, complete with sticky floors, a terrace that despite overlooking a busy road is actually quite nice as well as another out the back and more types of sausage, mash and gravy than you can shake a stick at. 14 types of sausage to be exact, 10 mash and 4 different gravies. Meaties, veggies, vegans you're all catered for and coddled. Except if you're my weird boyfriend who claims not to like mash! I know. I'm not sure how this'll end either. They do a decent Sunday lunch and have a host of events from pub quizzes to life drawing. Do check out their resident guitar/accordion combo act for a bit of toe topping fun and if the place really takes your fancy, then it’s available for event hire.
Well priced, well spiced Thai food? Check. Quirky decor? Check. BYO policy. Oh yes, you betcha! Red Snapper is my absolute go to. Family over need something cheerful and not too demanding, I'll book Red Snapper. First date and need something fun, lively and not too pricey in case one of us does a bunk early. Hello Red Snapper. Been dating a while and want a date night without all the high heels and lip gloss. Bring on the Snapper. You get what I'm saying. This place just works. The food always tastes fresh rather than heated. The prawns are juicy and the masaman is a real winner for when I need carb overload. That and I can chase it all down with either a cheap bottle from the local Coop or something interesting from the delightful, few doors down, Seven Cellars who are rapidly becoming part of my extended family.
Without giving away my exact location to my legion of fans, this glorious pub is my local. It'd be fair to say that its proximity played a significant part in my decision to choose flat A over flat B. It's really that pleasant. And, I know, usually “pleasant” is pretty damning praise but this place just is. Good selection of staples, friendly staff that know your name...once you've told them obviously, they're not clairvoyant, and a restaurant that kicks out well cooked, creative, locally sourced crowd pleasers in a room that is hip without being judgey. I hate it when the walls are better dressed than I am. Sunday lunch is always booked solid so get in early. My other top local tip? If you're really feeling like a decadent slob, why not cross the street, order a fantastic Indian takeaway from Kamal, the tandoori king prawn starter is heavenly, and wait for it to be ready whilst enjoying a dark and stormy with black seal rum at one of the outside benches. This is absolutely not what I do most weekends.
I can't believe I'm letting this one out the bag but I feel it's my journalistic duty...just don't all go at once! Joe's is a true community staple. 27 years of breakfasts, brunches and lunches that spoil and delight. Super veggie and vegan friendly but with all the meaty goodness too, this place is a true hidden gem..although not so hidden that they haven't won a zillion awards over the years. Prices are really reasonable, crushed avocado is plentiful and the Spanish hash is one of the 7 food hangover cure miracles of the world. If you're good I'll reveal the other 6. Actually forget good, just treat me to a real fruit, banana shake and hashegeddon (honestly, that's a thing) and I'll tell you whatever you want to know. This is the sort of place that will have you signing up to the local estate agents for a “anything within walking distance of Joe’s.” You’ve been warned.
OK, so we all need one of those pubs in our life. The "I'm meeting mates and I want something lively but not so crowded I can't get served so we'll have a few there before hitting town" pubs. The Cow was born for that. Don't get me wrong, I've been there with the other half, I've been there with family, I've been there with...you get the idea, I’m a regular. But, The Cow really comes into its own when you and the gang are ready for a few pre drinks and a giggle with a crowd that's old enough not to get carded but young enough not to carry a bus pass. They do pretty good food and Sunday lunches are popular but trust me on this. Grab some friends. Put on the good butt jeans and have a laugh over a few vodka cranberries and local ales. Not everything has to be Hoxton.
It’s fair to say that Brighton has gone burger mad over the last year or so. Chic and not so chic burger bars have opened up all over town but Coggings is a bit special. All of their meat comes from two local farms, they can easily cater on the gluten free front and they’ve won numerous awards for the quality and price of their food. The restaurant space is pretty lovely too. You can sit in the front part which has a great glass frontage letting you spy on the comings and goings of the 7 Dials or top tip, they have a lovely little garden out the back that you just wouldn’t expect. Yes, the menu is short and simple but frankly, good honest food can make for a refreshing change in a City that does love a bit of “foam” and “reduction.” They have some brilliant artwork on the walls from local artists and you can breathe easy, you’re in Dials territory, so I can pretty much guarantee that a stag do is not going to pile in wearing matching onesies.