Fancy a real hunk of meat? Smokeys American Roadside Cuisine on Brighton Seafront fulfils that BBQ craving...
Reviewed by TSR’s latest guest reviewer Nicky (@nickywilmshurst)
I couldn’t think of anything more stressful than finding a restaurant last minute that could fit in 17 work colleagues the next day, especially as the truck load of us had decided we were craving American BBQ food that would have to be enjoyed inside rather than outside thanks to the rubbish weather that had dispelled on Brighton.
*View from restaurant front
But thankfully for us, after a recommendation from one of our group, Smokeys in Brighton was our destination of choice. After one look at the restaurant’s website and the mouth watering menu we knew we had to get in there for a meal that was to start off a night on the Brighton lanes with a bang. Smokeys describe themselves as “a celebration of satisfying American cuisine, lovingly crafted from the very best local ingredients.” Let’s just say our minds at work that day were on nothing else but Ribs slathered in BBQ sauce, tender pulled pork falling to pieces on our plates and burgers toppling over after being piled high with fillings. We were just hoping that the food lived up to our day dreams! Boy we weren’t disappointed…
Fortunately for us the friendly staff went out of their way to get us a table, especially as we wanted to eat early. Walking a long the seafront (or should I say a leisurely jog as our tummies were rumbling at this point) we arrived at Smokeys. Situated on 124 Kings Road, Brighton it was a great spot. Walking down the steps and through the entrance the restaurant a lot larger in size than the outside led us to believe which was great news for our large group. After filling up with drinks at the bar we were led through to the restaurant.
The restaurant walls were smothered in old school film memorabilia, with little labels telling you how old and where they were from. The tables décor was warming and gave you the sense you were in for an all-american experience with wooden tables and chairs and Texan colours on the walls. But the first thing that greeted you when you walked through their doors was the delicious salivating aroma of BBQ sauce and smoked meats.
Surprisingly for 17 people it took no less than 15 minutes for us all to decide what we were after. Don’t get me wrong, the menu didn’t lack in size, there was something for everyone’s taste buds. With a lot of us favouring the BBQ Pulled Pork and Spare Ribs the cheery staff came over, took our orders and despite the size of our party the waiting time on food was surprisingly short.
I chose the BBQ Pulled Pork, as did one of our American friends who joined us that evening, so his opinion at the end of this American food experience is as important as any of ours! (Best BBQ Pulled Pork he’d had in a long while!) The food arrived on large plates with a generous amount of meat and fries and a small portion of coleslaw on the side and straight away we tucked in. Let me just say that that first mouthful to me was heavenly, the pork simply melted in your mouth and the BBQ sauce was tangy, spicy and sweet all at the same time. We ploughed on through, with one of my colleagues having chosen a FULL rack of spare ribs which were chunky to say the least – I got to try some and sort of wished I’d gone for the Rib/Pulled Pork combo! (there’s always next time…)
Full rack of spare ribs
There were a lot of happy faces up and down our table, and as the staff whisked away our plates we were left with our tummies full and feeling very pleased with ourselves. As well as the food, the service from start to finish was faultless. As for value, the price of the meal was very reasonable, not cheap, but given the quality of meat we enjoyed it certainly wouldn’t put me off going back again. It was totally worth it for the awesome experience and the quality of the food. If only I could have sweet talked my way for the BBQ sauce recipe as I would happily eat it everyday if I could.
BBQ Pulled Pork – melt in your mouth!
So if you fancy yourselves a hearty American BBQ meal stroll on down to Smokeys on Kings Road, they’ll welcome you with beaming smiles, great service and platefuls of food and you’ll leave feeling like you’ve hopped over the pond, just with a more reasonable bill and the satisfaction that you can head back again any time!
Tel: 01273 323888
Address: 124 Kings Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 2FY
"Home is where The Hearth is" - Pizzeria 'The Hearth' in Lewes lives up to the hype
Following a lip smacking 5 rib review from TSR’s own Jen (@Jen_terra) of Pleb Pizza, we witnessed some fighting-talk on twitter from a place we had yet to discover called The Hearth. Also based in Lewes, East Sussex they boasted of their wood-fired oven and unique sour dough recipe. Naturally I was keen to see if their pizza lived up to the banter so last Saturday I set out, in disguise, to review The Hearth in secret and expose any shortfalls in their restaurant experience.
While first impressions are important I have learnt since the birth of the Sussex Review that they often don’t mean jack. The Hearth is based above Lewes bus station, once home to the nastiest, smelliest, smoke-ridden greasy spoon cafe I’ve ever encountered. Ascending the stairs (for the first time in 20 years – the last time being to meet my gran for a fry-up) it didn’t look like much had changed. The walls and ceiling still looked brown from the tobacco smoke and the decor hadn’t changed in 40 years or more. Thankfully the restaurant (while still a little rough around the edges) is far nicer that than the bus station waiting-room through which you walk first. Deliberately simple and unfussy, The Hearth is, according to their website, styled as a contemporary Caninetta/Osteria (or in plain old English, a hostelry with a hearth).
Be aware, the restaurant is currently unlicensed so it’s a case of bringing your own booze. They charge a very reasonable corkage fee of £3 for wine and 75p for beer, rendering it an ideal place to throw a party. What’s more the local brewery,Harvey’s of Lewes, had given them some different beers to try out while applying for their license, which The Hearth were kindly giving away to customers, for free! Who doesn’t love free beer?
The menu is very simple and reasonably priced. The pizza topping options are plentiful and of good quality. As well as their signature sour dough they boast 100% Italian buffalo mozzarella. For me, the quality of a pizza is evident in the basics, not in how many toppings you can cram on a pizza. With this in mind we ordered a ‘Holy Grail’ (a simple margarita) and a ‘Pepperoni’ to spice things up. Keeping the toppings uncomplicated helped us get an indication of the quality of the base, crust and basic ingredients.
After eating one slice my wife claimed it was, wait for it, “the best pizza I have ever eaten’. I sat and chewed in silence trying to think of reasons why she was wrong. I could not think of a single one.
Now I can’t claim to be a pizza connoisseur, but short of eating pizza on the Piazza Navona in Rome, I couldn’t think of a time I’d had better than this. The base and crust were outstanding; thin and crisp and a perfect vessel to carry the sweet marinara sauce and sumptuously milky buffalo mozzarella. It was simply delicious and reading into the background of the man behind the dough it became evident why (make sure you check out the link at the bottom of this review to see Michael’s background in Artisan baking).
It took a little while for us to acclimatise to the quirky surroundings of The Hearth pizzeria, but it soon started to make sense. If you’re after a 5 star dining experience forget about it. The service was pleasant enough but if this were a regular restaurant I could pick holes. However, the joy of watching a passionate professional prepare pizza dough from scratch in front of a beautiful wood-fired pizza oven while the vintage juke box blasted out old 7” singles; we couldn’t help but fall in love with the ambience of The Hearth. The restaurant is unique and the pizza is delicious. Thankfully, it more than lived up to the hype.
* Check out the Bakehouse downstairs serving up coffees, cakes, stoned baked hearth bread and Sicilian pizza slices to take away!
The Hearth, Eastgate, Lewes, BN7 2LP
Tel: 01273 470755
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
The Sussex Review is looking for food bloggers to join our team
With growing families and shrinking spare time we are now at a stage where we are actively looking for a few extra food bloggers to join our team. If the thought of writing about food is something that appeals to you then drop us a line for further information.
Before you get carried away and think that this gig is all about free meals at the counties finest eateries there are a few things you should know;
1) Firstly we don’t make any money at this (if only!) we do it for the love of food (and Sussex) and as such we can’t offer you any financial reward for your time. What we can offer you is the chance to be part of a site that is growing rapidly and becoming well known in the Sussex food community. We do get invites to restaurants to review and the occasional VIP entry to places. We also hope to arrange a couple of events a year where everyone who helps with the site can come along, meet each other and enjoy some good food.
2) We don’t expect you to go out and spend your own money just for the sake of the reviews but, like us if you do eat out anywhere in your spare time – use it as an opportunity to review it!
If you’re interested drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk some more.