I’ve decided to do a monthly round-up to show you all what a busy and, ultimately, cultured individual I am. Each month I’ll list a few places I’ve been to that have made me smile.
I’ll try not to include time-limited stuff, so that you can give ’em a go too, and unlike my previous blog series, I’ll try to keep this one up.
Ben and Pamela McKeller were barely out of their teens when they opened The Gingerman on Norfolk Square in 1998. Their business has grown so successfully that the pair now run four highly rated eateries in Brighton & Hove which, in spite of having been around since centre partings, I HAVE NEVER EATEN AT. Presumably having gotten whiff of my ignorance, Pamela invited me to the newly revamped Gingerman in February, to sample a delicious menu paired with Bibendum wines. There I learnt from wine expert Willie Lebus that “a dish of brain helps the brain”; that Bolney Estate Pinot Noir is “as good a glass of red wine as any produced in the UK” and that “drinking Barolo with someone you love is a fantastic way to live”. I also thoroughly enjoyed the food, so for shame, I’ll have to go again.
From wine expert to wheat expert, Michael Hanson at The Hearth in Lewes makes pizza the proper way, from sourdough cooked under fierce heat in a traditional wood oven. The Hearth Syrian flatbread is pretty much one of the tastiest things ever. I also love their no bullshit pizza menu with only the best toppings; the reliably excellent Bakehouse goods and the fact they do delivery. Lewes is pretty awful when it comes to takeaways. Our restaurants seem to think that in Lewes there are no single parents, or babysitters, or couples with their legs in cast who can’t go out after 7pm to collect. It was through my wanting a takeout that I found out about the small smouldering fire at the end of January which caused The Hearth to close for the best part of two months. The joy, and the relief of the many who attended their big re-opening do on 20th March was palpable. Thank goodness they’re back.
Bison Beer Crafthouse is the newest addition to Brighton’s booze scene: a craft beer bottleshop located conveniently close to the Palace Pier on East Street that opened on 27th March. What really grabs me about Bison Beer is the impeccable branding by Daniel Walters and the fact they sell ‘growlers’. Originated in the States, growlers are 64oz (1.9 litre) bottles of draught that are poured in store to be drunk on the beach, or anywhere legal. The Bison website informs me that ‘a state-of-the-art counter-pressure filling system’ ensures the beer in a growler stays good and fizzy for up to six weeks, if you can bear to leave it that long. At the opening I was impressed with the flavour of their own-brand Bison See Side APA; I reckon I could sink a whole growler of it, paired with some sea salt caramel ice cream from Boho Gelato. I told the owners they could make a good go of selling clip-on growler holders for prams. Just saying – I’d want a cut.