Thursday, October 7, 2010
Two Days in Brighton
When I think of Brighton, the image of a pebbly beach and big-ass pier usually come to mind. Brighton certainly boasts both and last weekend, I was lucky enough to be staying at a hostel overlooking the flashing lights of the pier and the calm water. But turn your back to the beach and you’re suddenly faced with a side of Brighton that, in my opinion, is way cooler.
Brighton’s ‘Lanes’ area, just north-west of the pier, is where I would happily get lost again and again. Narrow, windy, random yet peaceful, this small part of Brighton is made for those who enjoy aimless strolls, al fresco dining and good food. This is where I found the vegetarian restaurant Food for Friends (17-18 Prince Albert Street) which appears to be quite well-known now, having won an Open Table Diners’ Choice award in 2009 as well as sporting a mention in Lonely Planet Great Britain. My Thai green curry with sweet potato, aubergine and countless other vegies was packed with flavour and had me considering turning vego.
Further north is a precinct known as the North Laine. With a vibe not dissimilar to Melbourne’s Brunswick Street or Acland Street, I felt instantly at home. The shops were funky and unique, and offered hours of aimless browsing. I spent a significant amount of time in the health food shop Infinity Foods helping myself to a range of organic herbal teas, cereals and spreads which I lugged back with me to London. Its sister cafe down the road served organic vegetarian and vegan foods – a great place for brunch and people watching. Sadly, I arrived heavily hung over and my garlic mushrooms and spinach on toast just didn’t quite hit the spot fried bacon and eggs probably would’ve. Not their fault though. The coffee was strong and much needed so I was very thankful.
Brighton is a bit of a party town, as I learnt on my visit last week with nights being the domain of pub crawlers and stags and hens. And that was a Monday night too. I arrived in my dorm room to the smell of weed and two dazed Belgians rolling their next joint. At least my other roommates – two Germans and an Australian – were very normal and fun. There’s to be no mention of the horny 19-year-old Dutch kid. Ever. So the two Australians and two Germans went down to the bar and learnt about each other’s cultures... by drinking Foster’s and Jagermeister. By the time we returned to our room, the smell of weed had, thankfully, more or less subsided. I got a whole two hours of sleep due to a horny 19-year-old Dutch kid’s idiocy. But let’s not go there.