Welcome to Pretty Ugly’s first travel guide! Starting off with one of my favourite UK cities, I ventured to Brighton last weekend to eat, drink and be merry for three whole days and it definitely didn’t disappoint…
BEST FOR BURGERS: Coggings & Co
Situated in the Seven Dials district, this is a burger joint with no airs and graces. Don’t be fooled by the dumbed down interior and lack of sass. Coggins & Co is all about the food, and if you’re a burger lover, then prepare your chops are in for a treat. Whilst my Aunt had the original burger (which she consumed without being able to mutter a word), I went for the Spanish alternative and opted for the ‘Manchego Cheese and Chorizo Jam’ variety. Two words: HOLY COW! The meat was cooked to perfection, the brioche bun was a doughy delight and the pairing of the cheese and rich jam was a match made in heaven. To top it off, I went for the triple cooked chips and beef dripping and a Wobblegate Pink Cider (definitely a marmite cider, it’s smoky!), to wash it all down. The restaurant is heavily focused on sustainability too – from the staff, to the suppliers, farmers and producers, it’s clear they all have a passion for wholesome local produce.
BEST FOR THE ECO WARRIOR: Silo
You can’t miss the sheer black and white bulk of Silo’s exterior on approach, whilst boasting the title of the UK’s first zero-waste restaurant is it’s USP. Everything from the seating (made from wood waste) to the receipts (only emailed, never printed) and the plates (made from recycled plastic bags) promote waste-avoidance. The menu itself is sparse, and projected onto a white wall (paper saving obvs), whilst the food itself has a very ‘earthy’ taste, but delectable nonetheless. Definitely worth a visit.
BEST FOR BRUNCH: Mangetout
Located in the North Laines, I stumbled upon this French bistro by accident and went straight in for brunch. I had the ‘Popeye’ (bacon, spinach, two organic poached eggs, sourdough toast and hollandaise sauce) and it was just what the doctor ordered. The daily specials board is definitely one to keep an eye on, for more ‘off the beaten track’ dishes, whilst the interior is all shabby chic and Parisian quirkiness with no luxe factor at all – another positive in my book.
BEST FOR COCKTAILS: The Plotting Parlour
Nestled away in one of Brighton’s many side streets, the Plotting Parlour takes out the ‘cockiness’ I so often associate with cocktail bars. Dimly lit and artistically chic (very Sex & The City), with old fashion music playing in the background makes this a great ‘date-night’ option to impress. I sampled (a few) and whilst the “Rock’ N’ Rose” was a little too sweet for me, the “Mowgli’s Fire” (old fashioned bitters, chai and burnt caramel) was a threesome made in heaven.
BEST FOR EVENING AMBIENCE: Artist Residence Brighton (The Set Cafe)
When you first walk into this hotel, the word that springs to mind is ‘funky’. A word that would ordinarily stop me in my tracks from booking into said hotel because ‘funky’, I am not. However, the neon lights adorning the walls, the rock ‘n’ roll feel to the place and the cracking cuisine means I am making an exception to my otherwise avoidance of ‘funk’, and am putting this to the top of the Brighton Best list. I opted for the cafe, over the restaurant, and chose a number of the ‘small plates’ for dinner, with friends. My compulsory choices for you, should you visit, are as follows: Oxtail Bolognaise with Garlic Croquette (order 3!), the Crab Mac’n’Cheese (outstanding) and the Cauliflower Cheese with Pork & Brioche Crumb (bloody good Brioche). Personally, I love a tapas style eatery and find it far more sociable, plus you get to sample far more dishes. Winning. Considering these are small plates, I left full to the brim too.
BEST FOR A WARDROBE TREAT: Tribeca
For the ladies who love a cheeky splurge, get yourselves to Tribeca. Stocking Isabel Marant, Sass & Bide, Ksubi and Vanessa Bruno (to name a few), it’s one for the label lovers. Combining great fitting jeans, staple shirts and one off pieces are why I loved this boutique, and ended up blowing a small fortune upon exiting. Unlike London based boutiques housing similar luxury brands, this takes away the hautiness so often found in places like Matches – in fact you forget you’re perusing products costing over £400 (dangerous), and it’s only when you get to the checkout that your card takes a serious battering.
BEST FOR INTERIORS: Igigi General Store
Hands down the most Instagrammable interiors store I have ever come across. All white and earthy tones, every item in the store is bespoke – from tables, to succulents, soft furnishings and ceramics. Set up by two friends, these ladies have over 20 years of experience within interior design and the beautiful products are testament to this. Prices weren’t extortionate and don’t forget to pop upstairs to the cafe too to soak up even more interior inspo.