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bits and pieces on Brighton and thee beyond…..

Posts Tagged ‘brighton lanes’

Regent Street

Posted by Sara on May 17, 2010

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Jellybean Queen

Posted by Sara on February 20, 2010

Window display in Fizziwiggs Finest Sweet Emporium, Brighton Lanes.

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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.

DWVeggie

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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Cafe Motu

Posted by Sara on September 6, 2009

31.08.2009 Cafe Motu 6 Trafalgar Street, BN1 4EQ.

cafemotu

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.

motumeaty

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.

motuveggie

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.

motumural

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Back of the Car park

Posted by Sara on August 20, 2009

door

Somewhere round the back of the car park in King Pl.

psychomouse

backroundthecarpark

kingspl

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Books and books and books and….

Posted by Sara on August 6, 2009

I’ve not been writing too much this past week but that’s because I have been reading loads – as the Gods of all Gifts Secondhand have been smiling down on me with some remarkable finds in my local charity shops.

spiralFirst up was Spiral off Western road, one of my favourite places for a Saturday morning browse. Spread out over three adjoining rooms trailing down Bedford Place and a veritable Santa’s Grotto for knick knacks and furniture, Spiral has an eclectic range of books and magazines – including a vast collection of National Geographics I am slowly making my way through – all stacked in big bookcases along the walls, one of them hiding a beautiful scenic mosaic behind it which is worth a visit to the shop alone.

sjacksonDuring my last Saturday Spiral excursion I stumbled apon The Masterpieces of Shirley Jackson, published by Raven Books. With an introduction by Donna Tartt, this edition contains The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Shirley Jackson and Donna Tartt are two of my favourite authors so the introduction alone was worth the £1 the book cost me. There are some writers you just never ever find in charity shops and Shirley Jackson is one of them. I have just finished We have Always Lived in The Castle and it has affected me deeply – what an amazing story, so funny and sad, bizarre and so true all at the same time.

Then on to Oxfam, Western Road for not one, not two but three Ray Bradbury paperbacks, all at a bargain 99p each.

RayBradburyRay Bradbury writes beautifully and I love his prose. Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of my favourite books that I can read and reread time and time again. I’ve not read any of the stuff above but have just started on the short stories  compiled in Golden Apples of the Sun – two that stand out for me so far are The Great Wide World Over There and The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl.

If that wasn’t enough bargain busting for one day I wander down to the Lanes where I spy this hardback in the window of Sandpiper books:

lordofavisibleworldOk so this isn’t secondhand but at £6.99 is a bargain none the less. Sandpiper specialise in remainder and bargain books with loads of those big coffee table type tomes, so fun to flick through on rainy afternoons, choc full of photos of anything and everything from arty sailors to modern architecture and antique charm bracelets to Andalusian equines. They also stock a wide range of books in specialist subjects and are always worth a browse. I’ve not seen this one much cheaper than £20 secondhand so to find it new for £6.99 is a treat indeed. They still have copies in stock last time I looked so get there quick if you want one.

Though HP Lovecraft is another one of my favourite authors and was a prolific letter writer, I’ve avoided reading much of his personal correspondence as the less you know about your heroes the better I think. But since being given his biography for Christmas my curiousity has been piqued; a lot of people who know much better than I do rate his life as having been a pretty tragic one whereas it didn’t sound too bad at all to me. Seems he enjoyed a sheltered, secluded life living off the missus and a small family inheritence, fuelled by strong cheese and coffee, free from the vicissitudes of regular employment – an introverts dream no less! Maybe learning more about his life in his own words will add insight so I am looking forward to tackling this selection of his letters and essays, some of which have never been published before.

Just a couple of doors away from Sandpiper is another Oxfam, this one selling nothing but books and records and guaranteed Werewolfofparisto have something worth buying, though their prices can be a little steep – but what the hey, it’s all for charidee. I spotted this – The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore and, though I didn’t know anything about this book or the writer, I have a thing for pictures of teeth so I had to buy it just for the cover – even though it was kind of pricey at £1.99.

One thing I love about secondhand books is the pieces of paper you find in them and there is a library type slip glued into the inside cover of this one from a place called Reads + Beads, Sant Bartomeu, Sitges. It appears to be some kind of book rental  co-operative and coincidently the last date stamped for this book to be due back is my birthday!

grimscribe

Well if that wasn’t enough for a fun filled afternoon shopping what did I spy when made my way to pay at the counter? Holy Guacamole Batman can this be true? For £1.50?!

I guess this makes up for the time I spotted Teattro Grottesco in the very same shop tucked away in the foreign language section but decided not to buy it as I had a copy borrowed from the library and hadn’t made up my mind whether I wanted one to keep all to myself or not. So I left it there, foolishly thinking it would be safe for a week or two but alas by the time I realised how fine the stories were it had gone….

Ho Hum – too many books, too little time – I feel a poem coming on.

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Kensington Cafe

Posted by Sara on July 26, 2009

20.07.2009 Kensington Cafe, Kensington Gardens, North Laine, Brighton.

kensentranceSituated smack bang in the Laines and enjoying it’s own special outside balcony space to boot, this gem of a cafe is a prime spot for people watching and is always bustling.

We thought it’d be a good idea to test drive Kensington’s fry ups during a weekday so, making good use of a quiet monday morning off work, we make our way to the Laines where, behind a tiny doorway up a brightly coloured flight of stairs, we ascend into the cafe proper.

Inside is cosy with brightly coloured walls contrasting nicely with the bare woodmygodmanwatchoutforthesoldiers floors giving the cafe a  homely, bohemian feel. There’s a nice balcony outside where you can eat and watch all the frenetic shopping going on in the Laines below, but we were happy making use of the muted lighting and comfy big wooden booths indoors.

Music was an eclectic mix of the mellow, Sinatra / REM , to the not so mellow but nookytastic Placebo and QOTSA. Staff are very welcoming and friendly and there is a nice laid back feel to the place.

Well what about the grub? Having worked up an appetite from walking up the stairs we decide to order the Big breakfasts – I order the big Veggie and Dan the Big Meaty. Both are £5.15 with toast and tea or coffee included – making them excellent value. There are smaller breakfasts on offer at £3.95 and a vegan option, as well as the usual assortment of salads, jacket potatoes, chip n dips and burgers.

kensbigmeatyone Breakfast is soon served so we tuck in. I opted for scrambled eggs this time and they were deliciously light, fluffy and eggy tasting. The veggie bacon was also a welcome addition. Coffee was filtered hot and strong and served in a big mug. D particularly liked the sausages and said his fried eggs were cooked perfect with just the right amount of gooeyness. The only quibble is that we both thought the food could have been served a little hotter.

kensbigveggieAll in all a really good value fry up in the heart of Brighton’s best shopping district and a fun place to eat, relax and watch the world go by.

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Lanes Patisserie and Cafe

Posted by Sara on July 21, 2009

06.06.2009 Lanes Patisserie and Cafe, Ship street, Brighton.

(Apologies for the lateness of this post, but I have only just got my photo’s back from a hard drive that keeled over and died like an old dog in the desert last month.)

lanespoutEvery time I walk past this place I’m reminded of the sweety house in Hanzel and Gretel and this pink palace near Ship Street certainly looks good enough to eat.  So what about the inside? Downstairs there’s a range of delicious looking cakes and treats to tempt passers by and a takeaway service providing all the usual lunch time essentials – the sandwiches are very good value and the cheese coleslaw baguette is a regular favourite of mine.

The eating area upstairs is fairly small and decorated in a bright minimilist style with a dark tiled floor blending nicely with the cream and light olive green walls and the bay fronted window providing lots of light. Big mirrors and stained glass windows  provide added points of interest. Not so great were the wooden flowers on our table which loked a bit sad to me but sad looking flowers were certainly not going to dampen our appetite.

As usual, I ordered the Veggie breakfast and Dan had the Full English. Other lunch specials on offer were the Steak pastie and Pepper sauce for £2.95 and Ravioli at £3.95. The  Veggie breakfast cost  £4.15 and  the Full English £5.15. Drinks were extra.

There was no background music so breakfast was a little muted but  though it was busy, this being a Saturday, there was a pleasant relaxed feel to the place and service was friendly and brisk.

lpcmeaty

LPC Meaty Breakfast

Both breakfasts were very good with a home cooked flavour to them. The bacon was cooked nice and crispy round the edges and it was nice having two slices of toast with each breakfast. I would have preferred less beans with the veggie and maybe some mushrooms or hash browns to add variety but I did get three sausages which were very tasty. Coffee was served piping hot and strong and tasted delicious. The toilets, which are situated on the floor above at the top of what must be the narrowest stairs in Brighton, are clean and bright and get extra nooky bonus points for having the most delightful smelling anti bacterial handwash in the world.

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Easter Path

Posted by Sara on April 24, 2009

As lovers of all things Mystic and Otherworldly here at thee Nook we wanted to try something a bit different this Easter, so on Good Friday we went on the Easter Path walk around Brighton. Organised by Beyond, the walk was a contemporary interpretation of the Easter message, loosely based on the Stations of the Cross, using a series of art installations set up in shop and church windows across Brighton.

Our first stop was outside the Brighthelm centre, where a digital photo montage was used to illustrate the betrayal of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. I think most of us can in some small way relate to that ‘lying awake all night completely alone and dreading the next day’ feeling – as the rest of the world sleeps on oblivious. Somewhere during this dark night it is said that Jesus was in such agony his sweat was as great drops of blood falling to the ground. I wonder what that must have felt like?

station11The photo montage itself started life in Glasgow during anti war demonstrations; Jesus is shown in the garden surrounded by modern images of authority while he considers the cup of suffering that lies before him. He is alone in his awareness of what is to come while Judas is represented as a dark shadow behind him.

station1b2‘Jesus is Condemned’ was the title for the next piece at Sydney Street Bikes in the lanes. The image displayed here was of a pair of waxen hands bound in rope and this shop was chosen specifically for the iron railings permanently guarding the shop window.  Our guide, Martin, explained that the image of a God being bound and restrained by human hands is a very powerful one that shows us how cruel the human race can be and how much power we have. This got me thinking about Jesus as someone who had been judged to have broken the law and the way we punish crims in our own society.

handsWe then made our way to Daves comic shop for the display called Jesus receives the Cross. This consisted of a cross made  out of comics from a series called Final Crisis, featuring a force known as the God Killer. I don’t know much about this series myself but the location seemed a good one in as much many good comics feature similar themes involving redemption, death and resurrection.

Framework was the shop used for the next installation, Jesus Falls Three Times; a contrast to the invincibility of comic shop heroes, as we were once again reminded of the frailty of Jesus as he stumbles through tiredness. Still in the lanes we then made our way to Bell, Book and Candle for the next stop, called ‘Jesus meets his mother’. The exhibit in this window was a simple but thought provoking one, highlighting how it must have felt for both sides to meet in this way. I think most of us  close to someone who has been bullied, mistreated or beaten up often feel terrible at what their loved one has endured and here we were left to wonder what his mother must have felt at seeing her son treated like this.

In all there were twelve stations on the walk and at each one we were given time and a chance to reflect on different events leading up to the crucifixion. The walk finished at Fishtail Neon, a wonderful place on the seafront dedicated to all things neon that creates, among other things, light installations from recycled fairground rides and displayed here were some fantastic multicoloured crosses celebrating the resurrection.

cross1I thought this walk was a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon the Easter message and what I liked best about it was the unscripted spontaneous feel that came with trying to ponder on Deep Stuff while surrounded by the hustle and bustle within the sights and sounds of a busy city. Scattered as they were across Brighton, tucked away in shop windows, each one of the displays brought a life of their own to the Easter story in a very open and accessible way.

bigntallFor those unable to make the walk, all the exhibits from the Easter Path plus a few extras are being brought together to be exhibited at the Old Market on April 26th from 7pm, with bar open from 6.30pm. There will also be a visit from Siku, the artist who created The Manga Bible and he will be talking about his work.

For more information: www.beyondchurch.co.ukeasterpath

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Ghosts Upstairs – an evening of candlelit tales.

Posted by Sara on April 14, 2009

There’s plenty to titillate the paranormal taste buds this week as tomorrow, Wednesday 15th April, Brighton’s very own Ghost Walker, Rob Marks, be appearing in one of his many guises as Charley Jeremiah Tench, showcasing his new performance ‘Ghosts Upstairs’.

Starting for 8.30pm and taking place upstairs in the haunted room at the Northern Lights Bar, Little East Street, Brighton, the show will feature an hour of ghostly tales told by candlelight with a break for drinks, and no doubt there will be plenty of the house specialty – the fiendishly fortifying ‘Fisherman’s Friend’ – on offer to chase away those chills. Tickets are priced at a very reasonable £3.

Anyone who’s been on the Ghost Walk of the Lanes (you can check out our review here) will already be familiar with Rob’s storytelling skills and Wednesday’s showcase promises to be a real treat. Hope to see you there!

charley-tench

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