Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Review: New Club, Brighton

Review: New Club, Brighton

Opposite the crumbling West Pier is a spacious, modern with a flavour of that now-ubiquitous rend for American diner style barbecue food and the dreaded “plates”.

We were very early so they changed menus over in the short time that we sat outside with a drink to peruse the food, but were very friendly about it and apologised.

We decided to eat indoors as it looked as though it might bucket down. I didn’t have very high expectations – it seemed quite hip, the young staff were very relaxed and were chatting to each other a lot (my only gripe is that this made service slow) and thought, here we go, another burger joint that is trying too hard. Still, I wasn’t in a hurry and enjoyed people watching outside.

When the food arrived I was impressed by the presentation. The Dirty Burger came over on greaseproof paper, sat in an enamel tin bowl, French fries came in a matching smaller tin and the slaw in a jam jar which gave a nice rustic look that, I admit although over used everywhere, does look cuter than a polystyrene McD’s carton. The burger cost £8.50 and they are made with 35 day aged locally sourced Hereford Beef. The patty was cooked slightly medium but it ws very juicy and still had the right amount of smokiness. Inside the glazed and toasted brioche bun was the right amount of sticky sweet hickory onion relish, melted Moneterey Jack cheese, shredded iceberg (the only type of lettuce that belongs in a burger!), pickled cabbage, gherkins and their own special house sauce. The fries were also perfectly crisp and well-cooked. The whole meal was utterley delicious and one of the nicest burgers I have had.

They also serve other American classics – mac ’n’ cheese, Caesar salad,  smoked pulled pork, plus brunch or “hangover” options such as pancakes and bagels which would make a change from a fry-up in a Brighton caff.

This place has very quickly become popular and may well last the course, much to my misplaced expectations.  Hope so!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Review: BBQ Shack at World’s End pub, Brighton

Review: BBQ Shack at World’s End pub, Brighton

This was another pub on my hit list to visit owing to a lot of buzz about it on social media. A friend of mine visited the week before and when I asked how it was he just showed me a photo and said “man, my eyes were bigger than my belly.”  Challenge accepted!!

When we arrived at around 2pm the pub was fairly quiet. It’s very spacious and the clientele was very mixed – young, old, families, couples and it had a very friendly vibe.

The barman was equally friendly and evidently very proud of their American fayre menu.  As if we needed to be taken through the “concept”, he asked if we had been before and how they make everything from scratch, do their own meat smoking and only serve homemade bbq sauce as a condiment - mayo and ketchup are sacrilegious apparently.  We said we were here for the famous burgers to which he recommended the Memphis burger and warned us it was big! No problem J.

My monster-sized burger arrived after a little while (all cooked to order) and came piled high with the most tender, succulent pulled pork piled on top. I ate that mostly separately, drizzled in the bbq sauce so I could savour the flavour. The meaty burger was wide but not too thick and they cooked them all the way through which I believe might be an EU law. It had a nice smoky char flavour and packed with umami savouriness. It wasn’t all that juicy because it was on the thin side, but it gave a nice chewy texture, complemented by the coleslaw underneath.

Pickles and tomato were placed on the side – this is something I am starting to realise is done by restaurants as they are the extras that divide people when it comes to burgers. Plus a hefty helping of French fries. Think they were packet ones, but who care – all chips are lovely!

The only small criticism is the bun. It was just a bit ordinary compared to the effort they had gone to with their meat and bbq sauce etc. Just a basic supermarket white burger bap – and this was where the challenge defeated me. I left about a quarter of bun. That’s all though (and surely you can forgive me for leaving a measly bit of bread?)…  everything else was demolished with greedy gusto… and followed by a long nap at home!