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bits and pieces on Brighton and thee beyond…..

Archive for September, 2009

Happy Autumn

Posted by Sara on September 22, 2009


Today’s Autumn Equinox marks the end of summer and the beginning of one of my favourite times of year for taking photographs and admiring the  beautitiful palette of  colours  created by winter creeping ever closer….


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New Look, New Blog

Posted by Sara on September 20, 2009

Inspired by the brilliant Dave Avenue’s fab new look earlier ths summer, I thought it was time to spruce up these pages with a change a theme. I might not have the computer know-how to do too much exciting but thankfully with WordPress a change of image can be just a click of a button away. There’s been a few teething problems – not least gettng the photos to fit and the font a decent size (what is it about me and wordpress – I’m always fighting with their inflexible fonts) and after a few trial runs I’ve decided to settle on this one – so goodbye Quentin and hello Andreas 09…for now.

Though that’s not the end of the road for my beloved Quentin theme as I have recycled him into a new blog about one of my guilty pleasures – vintage gothic romance. So for the teensy tiny minority of you who might be interested in this forgotten literary genre you can read and drool over it at: My Love-Haunted Heart.


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Sand Circles?

Posted by Sara on September 19, 2009


A low, low tide yesterday has revealed what I’ve suspected for a while now. Fed up with trying to contact us through elaborately drawn patterns in corn crops, those pesky Aliens have decided to try communicating with their long lost brethren from Atlantis instead – via means of an undersea network of symbols  decipherable only by followers of the great Cthulhu himself.


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The Dumb Waiter

Posted by Sara on September 17, 2009

05/09/2009 The Dumb Waiter, 28 Sydney St, BN1 4EP.

dumbwaiterThe Dumb Waiter is a regular of ours when we’re in the Laines. There are a wide range of reasonably priced breakfasts on offer with lots of extras giving you the opportunity to mix and match a tailor made fry up to suit any particular tastes, including plenty of vegan options too. The colourful decor outside extends inwards, with brightly stenciled walls  covered in posters and local artwork creating an arty, community feel perfect for ths side of town. There is also the choice of eating outside in the garden or in front of house. We choose to eat upstairs today, which is a nice and quiet area with a lovely big window giving us a great view of all the frenetic shopping going on down below.

DWMeatyYou order breakfast at the counter from a large chalkboard menu on the wall. I chose a veggie with coffee and D the meaty with tea. There is nothing negative to say about the service, which  is fast and friendly, though they rather foolishly waylaid D on his way back from the toilets and entrusted him with carrying the drinks to our table; inevitably resulting in a rather deadly trail of tea and coffee  snaking its way up the stairs.


Breakfast is delicious. The meaty comes with mushrooms and chunky golden potato wedges.  The egg looks a treat, cooked sunny side up on a fried slice. The sausages are flavourful and overall D voted this breakfast one of the best so far.

insideDWPortions for both breakfasts are generous though I was wishing I had paid more attention to the menu and ordered an egg with mine – but technically speaking I suppose eggs aren’t really vegetarian. My bubble and squeak was a chunky, tasty addition and the veggie sausages are nice and spicy tasting.

Toilets are ok with plenty of reading material on the door to keep you occupied. Both breakfasts, complete with drinks, come to £12.60 which is fairly good value round these parts. We really like this place – it’s a friendly, relaxed place to enjoy a yummy breakfast with plenty of choice on offer.

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Heritage Open Day

Posted by Sara on September 13, 2009

Stained Glass Detail - Middle Street Synagogue

Stained Glass Detail - Middle Street Synagogue

There has been loads going on this week as part of the Heritage Open Days, in which interesting and historic local buildings open their doors for (free!) public viewing. Visiting relatives and work commitments meant  we couldn’t take full advantage of all we wanted to this year but we did manage a few visits nonetheless.


Sussex Masonic Centre

The Sussex Masonic centre is one such place I walk past all the time, wondering what it’s like inside – so what a treat to be able to visit for a very interestng tour and talk, hosted by the building’s curator, Reg Barrow. The centre, first bequeathed to the Masons in 1897, has grown over the years and has  merged with the buildings on either side so it is very spacious inside and comes complete with all the usual features associated with this sort of ad hoc development – including wonky floors and tempermental plumbing and electrics; there are even passages that run right under the pavement, complete with grills allowing one to look out on to Queens Road. We were shown two of the Temple Lodges, including the very grand and beautiful main Lodge on the top floor. There is lots of masonic memorabilia on display and throughout the tour we learnt about the history of freemasonry and the role it plays today.  Charity is one of the fundamental tenets of modern masonry and anyone involved in a local charity was invited to make contact. I was struck at how big the place was, in contrast to how it looks from the outside, and I thought the central staircase was particularly striking.

Main Lodge Sussex Masonic centre showng part of the beautiful wooden domed ceiling depicting the signs of the zodiac

Main Lodge Sussex Masonic centre showng part of the beautiful wooden domed ceiling depicting the signs of the zodiac

Next up was another place  I have long been curious about – the Middle Street Synagogue, consecrated in 1875. What a splendid building, I was in stained glass heaven! The mosaics on the eastern wall and the ornate ironwork railings were also very beautiful and contrasted nicely with the clean, classical layout of the synagogue’s interior. The synagogue has a Grade 2 listing and has been officially described as “an extremely sumptuous example of late 19th Century craftsmanship.”


Stained Glass Detail - Middle Street Synagogue

An interesting feature is the wonderful stained glass wheel of the zodiac above the main door, which we were told is a very unusual feature to have in a synagogue and co-incidently the same was said about the zodiac featured on the ceiling in the Lodge at the Masonic centre – so maybe this proclivity for all things astrological on historic buildings is a unique Brighton thing!

Middle Street Synagogue

Middle Street Synagogue

Last but not least was the wonderful twilight tour of the Woodvale cemetery, with a chance to explore its beautiful mausoleums and to enjoy some stunning views over the grounds at sunset. ..


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Cafe Motu

Posted by Sara on September 6, 2009

31.08.2009 Cafe Motu 6 Trafalgar Street, BN1 4EQ.


We’ve been piling on the Bank Holiday pounds with yet another fried breakfast over the BH weekend. This time we’re a bit closer to home, just south of the Laines on Trafalgar St. This is our first time eating here, as every time we pass this place it is always busy, so we decided to make use of a quiet Bank Holiday afternoon to find out why Cafe Motu is so popular.

insidemotuFirst impressions are good. Chunky wood tables and chairs  – in fact, chunky wood everything – blends nicely with the old style beamed, mustardy yellow walls to give the place a homely, traditional ‘caff’ feel. There’s a bright bay window letting in loads of light where you can choose to eat if you like watching the world go by,  and plenty of papers, posters and pics on the wall to look at for those with butterfly-brained attention spans. Ye olde style toilets are downstairs, hidden by an undersea mural and cunning use of mirrors.

The menu’s written up on the wall and there’s a variety of food available, including a range of tasty sounding credit crunch lunches, all priced at £3. Another tasty treat was the fish finger sandwich at £2.50, which I was sorely tempted by, but duty called so I stuck with breakfast. Cafe Motu have six different breakfasts on offer, including omelettes, scrambled eggs and an American Breakfast with pancakes.  Surprise, surprise – I ordered the Vegetarian with coffee and D had the Meaty fry up with tea.


Service is fast and friendly. Coffee and tea were served strong and hot in bright coloured mugs and our food arrived soon after. The veggie sausages are particularly nice and the bacon was cooked perfect wth just the right amount of crispy bits. Though I had a slice of toast with the veggie, we were also given a plate of toast on the side. The meaty portions were generous but I would have liked some beans or mushrooms with mine – though these can be ordered extra and D had enough beans for the both of us.


Both breakfasts, with drinks and toast came to £11.60 making this a very good value breakfast for this side of town and it’s no surprise why Cafe Motu is popular. I for one will definitely be popping in for a fish finger sandwich soon.


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V Bites

Posted by Sara on September 1, 2009

29/08/2009 V Bites Cafe, Hove Lagoon BN3 4LX

VBitesSince the untimely demise of my fave vegan cafe on North St last year, I have been on the look out for a  soyatastic breakfast replacement, so it was with some sense of anticipation I made the (very long) trek down to Hove Lagoon to check out Heather Mills’ new venture and whether it lived up to the hype. Situated right near the sea front in the middle of not very much at all, flanked by a skate park and paddling pool, this looks a prime location to cash in on on hungry families out for the day and it certainly was very busy by the time we arrived.

Inside is bustling. There was nowhere to sit by the bar or in the small front seating area so we moved to the back where we were able to perch ourselves around the sushi style counter, apon which an endless procession of not so yummy looking cup cakes and flapjacks rotated throughout our meal. There is also additional seating outside but today was not a day for alfresco dining.  However the doors to the front and back were in constant use by staff and punters alike so we might well have been outside as the wind rattled across the cafe through my poor beleaguered bones- it was freezing!


Despite our best efforts to brave the long cold trek across Hove we were too tardy for a fry up, since Breakfast is only served till 11.30am,  so we ordered burgers instead. I had the Soya Cheese and bacon burger and D the Soya Nacho burger, complete with taco chips and guacomole. We also get a side order of fries to share with a ginger ale and Vanilla soya shake to drink.  There’s lots of other veggie treats on offer and to look at the rest of the menu click here.

Service was excellent – the staff are all very friendly and, despite the place being incredibly busy, we did not have to wait too long for our food. Food wise however the reviews are mixed – D loved his taco guacomole whereas my burger didn’t taste of anything much and felt kind of dry. I tarted it up with some of the condiments on offer and though the vegan mustard was delicious the mayonnaise tasted of nothing at all and had the consistency of seagull poo (but well done to anyone attempting to make vegan mayonnaise). The fries were ok – again D found them delicious but to me they weren’t hot enough and tasted a bit like oven chips.

soyacheesybaconThe food’s not cheap either – our meal comes to £17.50 for two burgers, one portion of fries and a couple of drinks and for that price I would expect a little more restaurant and a little less cheap n chilly seaside cafe.  So overall our opinions are mixed – while it’s great to have someone brave enough to open an all vegan eaterie I just don’t think the venue is quite up to the price and the food could be a little more flavourful.

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