PLEB Pizza in Lewes will ruin you for all other pizzas
Where the magic happens
Reviewed by Jen (@Jen_Terra)
At the Sussex review we love a good story almost as much as we love wonderful food produced in our beautiful County. When we went to the press launch of new Lewes-based street food venture, PLEB we found both.
School friends Jake Fitch and Joe Lutrario came up with the idea in the pub, (where many a great idea has been conceived) “we then bought an oven, and once you’ve done that, you’re kind of committed” Joe told me. And committed they were, painstakingly, developing dough recipes, kneading methods and cooking times to develop the perfect Roman pizza. Not that these super-nice chaps are novices – Jake has a long-standing interest in food and cookery and is something of an expert on Rome’s pizza scene. Joe is a food and restaurant journalist and has worked on respected industry magazine Restaurant for six years.
“PLEB pizzas are much thinner than most pizzas available in the UK, which owe more to Naples than to Rome and the Lazio region of Italy. The dough is fermented for 48 hours and cooked in a wood-burning oven at more than 400°C.” said Joe
We joined their journey in the back of a car park in Lewes for probably the friendliest press launch of all time to sample their seasonal recipes and find out more.
The menu changes with the seasons, although classic margarita is always available, and we tried the asparagus (perfectly cooked local baby asparagus with a hazelnut pesto, which was ridiculously moreish), and the mushroom and truffle oil, which took the humble fungus to a luxurious little treat. I couldn’t tell you which was the better of the two, I changed my mind constantly. The thin base was the perfect accompaniment to the well thought out flavor of the toppings, and I for one was pleased to see that their menu was considerably more adventurous and sophisticated that the usual pig and cheese on a thick, doughy base.
With prices between £3.50 and £4.50, if you’re in Lewes around lunchtime, I couldn’t recommend these thin, crispy delights served with great personality highly enough. Be prepared though, this will ruin you for all other pizzas.
We’re happy to award this eatery with 5 ribs “the Full Rack”
cooking most Saturdays in Lewes Precinct and at various events – follow them and check the Twitter feed for details @plebpizza
The 'Abergavenny Arms’ in Rodmell, East Sussex is difficult to fault
A first review from latest member of the team Chris Stonor.
One of the more impressive diverse pubs in the Sussex region, the ‘Abergavenny Arms’ is well worth a visit offering a variety of weekly events, excellent quality food and a busy family-friendly atmosphere.
Located four miles south of Lewes in the hamlet of Rodmell, owners Jon and Lucie manage an enterprising and energetic business. Decorated with oak beams, ye olde alcoves and a ‘real’ crackling fire, pub events include a steak night on a Thursday, Sunday roasts and quizzes, regular live music performers and a recent addition - pizza evenings. Beer festivals are also popular with the growing clientele.
The food under the scrupulous eye of head chef, Matthew Ransom, is excellent. My partner and I attended a Thursday £10 a head steak night (6pm-9pm) that comes with a free drink. Given that a large glass of house wine costs £5.40, this is superb value for money. The steak was succulent and tender, the chips chunky and brash, even the garnish was tasty. Starters like the nacho sharing bowl at £6.95 is excellent value. The average price for a main is around £10 with puddings large enough to share too. The pub does not shy on servings.
Be careful with the price of certain alcoholic drinks but that aside, the ‘Abergavenny Arms’ is difficult to fault.
We are happy to award 4 ribs.
Tel: 01273 472416
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Excellent food, lovingly prepared and thoughtfully presented at The Chilli Pickle in Brighton
We’ve heard a lot about The Chilli Pickle in Brighton and its only been feedback on how great it is. This isn’t always the best way to go into a restaurant as high expectations can often be hard to meet. So we finally found a weekend where we could make it for lunch and it was always going to be interesting to see if they would live up to their top billing.
We pre-booked a table, it seems that this isn’t always necessary and you can often walk in at lunch time, dinner bookings should definitely be booked in advance.
We were greeted by a friendly waitress and taken to our table. The restaurant was roomy yet welcoming and even though we had full tables to both sides of us we did not feel ‘overlooked’.
We were both happy with our seats. One looked into the restaurant which is decked out in a cosy Indian street style and was positioned perfectly to view the varied clientele and the food as it came out from the kitchen. The other seat looked out into Jubilee Square where I could see people milling around and darting for cover at the occasional sudden rain shower.
We’d been left with the menus and quickly decided on what we’d go for. MLB had Chicken Xacuti – delicious chicken in a coconut masala gravy served with naan and a dosa (a naan/poppadom cross). I went for the King Thali Butter Chicken which was delicious in its own right, a mild curry with a rich tomato sauce and perfectly cooked pieces of chicken, but the beauty of this dish was that it came with loads of extras! A little taster of a selection of sides, starter and dessert;
The starters were a pea kachori, cashewnut bonda and khatti (sour) dhokla. Around the side of the thali plate there was makkai ananas (pineapple chutney), Rajasthani dal, sangri pickle (dessert beans from Rajasthan), baingan achari (aubergine with pickling spices), carrot pachadi, and a lime and chilli chutney. As a guest dessert, we were served the Rajasthani delicacy churma, made with course whole wheat and unrefined jaggery sugar.
Now I didn’t know what the majority of these dishes were and I probably still couldn’t pick them out in a line up but what I can say is that the combination of all flavours was truly a delight.
The side dishes that are served with the thali vary each week according to the inspirations of the chefs and what is seasonally available which means that you’re in for a new treat every time you go.
My meal was washed down with a bottle of Chapel Down Curious Brew which complemented the food perfectly.
And finally the part of a dining experience which is the easiest to get right but is so often done poorly – The service. This was excellent. Perfectly attentive, knowledgeable and charming all without feeling like we were being watched or pressured to move on. Top marks.
In fact when it comes to marking a restaurant I will tend to think to myself what would I have liked to be done differently, what could have been done better? On this occasion there wasn’t anything I would have changed about the experience. And to top it all off the bill came to less than £40.
The Chilli Pickle offers excellent food, lovingly prepared and thoughtfully presented my only regret is that I haven’t been more often. Something I hope to change from this moment on.
The full rack of 5 ribs
17 Jubilee Street