Monday, 17 March 2014

Review: The North Laine Pub & Brewery, Brighton

Review: The North Laine Pub & Brewery, Brighton

After an afternoon drinking in the North Laines on the first properly sunny day of the year (yes, in March!) it was time to think about eating something to soak it all up and stop things from looking so blurry.  However, due to the blue sky and 19C temperature, the whole of Brighton and probably the rest of Sussex were in town and everywhere was packed out. So I wrack my slightly fuzzy brains for a large establishment which would have more room than the little caffs and bars nearby and remembered the North Laines pub which used to be my old nightclub haunt, The Gloucester, back in the day.

Of course, no one told me the rugby was on too, so on getting there we actually struggled to find a spare table in the huge place! Never mind, we eventually settled upon two stools around a table converted from a beer barrel. It is worth pointing out on that note, that this pub has its own brewery attached to it – you can apparently book a tasting tour and sample the various nectar.

Back to food, the menu is pretty extensive without being overwhelming – I think they cover off just about everything anyone could want – fish and chips, steak, pie to more unusual fare such as hot dogs with sauerkraut and mustard, hearty lamb hotpot and dumplings, turkey schnitzel (was very tempted by this), and the interesting-sounding sausage sharing board which are a mix of four local sausages with gravy and piccalilli to dip! Sounds brilliant!

However, my alcohol- induced hunger meant I needed some bulk so I went for the Angus Beef burger (they do lamb and rosemary and Cajun chicken, plus ‘The Greek’ halloumi for veggies) and my mate chose the posh ‘fish finger’ sandwich. We were told there was an hour wait on food – I expect that is not the norm at 3.30pm on a Saturday but it really was heaving so we got another glass of wine and waited.

Exactly one hour later the food arrived and I felt strangely sober again. We asked for cutlery as I didn’t want to push my face into my burger like I did at Burger Brothers! The fish fingers were indeed not from Birds Eye but were pleasing rustic breaded goujons and were clearly handmade. No clue what the fish was, but tasted nice and juicy apparently, and the thick cut white bloomer was the correct type for a fish finger sarnie in my opinion. My 8oz burger came in a nice soft brioche bun from a Brighton bakery and included a tumbled mass of bright purple onion relish (it looked like it was made from very thinly sliced boiled red onions – it was strangely tasteless, possibly because it was fridge cold). The fresh lettuce, tomato, gherkin were fine, but I took out the raw red onion as a matter of personal taste. Sadly the burger was very overcooked and without going for optional cheese, it was dry, hard and unpleasant to eat. The chips on the other hand were AMAZING! They still had their skins on and were of different sizes so some of the really slim ones were so crispy it was like eating baked potato skin – almost healthy, right?!

For £9.25 my burger and chips wasn’t bad value, just a shame the meat had no juices left in it. Going to try eating there again when it is quieter as I am convinced they will win points back on food, and the lively atmosphere was fun to hang out in.

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