I am not a hippy. I’m not a crusty. I’m not a gypsy. I work for a living. I pay my taxes and I am a responsible citizen. I believe in recycling. I do not litter. But I want a simple life and so with my husband I’m moving into a van. Maybe we will hate it. Or maybe this is the beginning of a new life.

In search of another life

"They danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn..."

Jack Kerouac

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Top Six Cheap but Delicious Eateries in Brighton and Hove

Living in a van we tend to eat out a lot but we still balk at paying exuberant prices for flavour-less cuisine with little nutritional value. In lots of towns around the country finding a place to eat that is both cheap, delicious and nutritious is a near impossible task but Brighton is crammed with little gems if you know where to look.

When I first moved here in 2002 it was from south east London and I was shocked by how this apparently cosmopolitan city was lacking in ethnic variety. But these days Brighton is a much more multicultural place, and all the better for it.
Here is my top six list in no particular order.

1. Maz Maz, Blatchington Road, Hove.
This newly opened Iranian deli café is run by super- friendly staff and serves delicious meals for between £5 and £6. I’d recommend everything on the menu and I’ve pretty much eaten it all. I love the stuffed vine leaves and meat pastries, the curries and the couscous. I usually wash it down with a pomegranate juice but the coffee is excellent too.

2. Sami Swoi, Boundary Road, Portslade.
A lovely Polish café run by smiling girls and serving delicious plates of mouth-watering Polish meals. If you think Polish food is all about dodgy meat and pickled cabbage (like I did), think again. There is a lot of sauerkraut but it’s excellent and varied and the beef goulash melts in the mouth. Potato comes either mashed or as tasty dumplings similar to gnocchi and they also have a range of good beers.

3. Planet India, Richmond Parade, Brighton
This has long been an old favourite of mine. It’s a friendly, family-run business that is only open in the evenings. They have a small-ish menu specialising in Gujarati street food-style dishes and everything is delicious. My dish of choice is the bhel puri: a cold, spicy salad made with puffed rice, chopped onions, tomatoes and tamarind sauce but the dhal and curries are superb too. I think it’s best to go in a group and order as many dishes as you can. They also have a fantastic range of beers, ales and ciders but if you want to eat at the weekend make sure you book ahead as it’s always rammed.

4. Rasa, Little East Street, Brighton
Thank God someone replaced the terrible Mama Cheri’s! Rasa is a great little Indian cafe (I know I’m biased- I love Indian food!) serving up a range of southern Indian dishes. They do a tasty masala dosa (pancake wrapped around potatoes and spices) and the milk-based puddings are excellent.

5. Pompoko, Church Street, Brighton
This little Japanese cafe specialises in super-fast hot, steaming bowls of rice and noodles. My favourites are the tofu chilli don and the chicken chilli don: tofu or chicken in a tangy sauce with rice. The miso soup is good and the waiting staff are extremely cute.

6. Jack and Linda Mills’ Traditional Fish Smokers, King’s Road Arches, Brighton
This might just be my favourite. It’s English and fantastic. Jack and Linda are a friendly couple who serve basic but delicious fish meals. Last week I had a hot kipper role with chilli sauce, but the deep fried prawns or dressed crab sandwiches are equally good. I’ve never been disappointed. They have their own smoke house on the beach and on a summer’s day the queue is a permanent fixture of the beach. They go away each winter to take a well earned break so make sure you get in there first.


  1. Thanks for this --- a real public service. I pass by Planet India often when it is closed and forget about it when I am out in the evening so this is just the prod I need. Have made a note of all your other recommendations too.

  2. Oh, you will love it I'm sure. Let me know what you think.