REVIEW: Deliveroo services in Brighton

This is the second instalment of my restaurant food delivery reviews. As I said, I think there really was a huge gap between restaurant standard food and typical take-away food (the latter I firmly steer away from). So raising the bar on the quality of delivery food can only be a good thing and it widens the dining-at-home market to people who may want a little more than a sweaty kebab in a bag for their dinner.

Today I tried out Deliveroo. Being fresh to Brighton, they are starting with a small delivery area so my home wasn't within the catchment for now. So a treat lunch at my studio it was then! Deliveroo already have some decent local restaurants on their books like Warung Tujuh, H.en, Indian Summer, Gars, Kenzi and my choice for today, Moshimo. But they also have some home delivery food that you would typically expect for home delivery like burgers, pizza and burritos.

You order though the website so this is a huge part of the customer experience. Happily, Deliveroo have really thought about the user experience of their site. It's quick, efficient, clean and well laid out. It also gets to the point from the homepage with little waffle. Enter your postcode and time and away you go.

The restaurant menus are clear and you can add and subtract from your order with ease. There are no irritating drop downs and all the information is presented at top level. You can see the total of your delivery at all times as well.

Payment transaction was also nippy, even with an account registration to fill in.

The status of the order was updated in real time (as well as an email alert) and the option to give feedback once your transaction is complete also given.

Website-wise I really had little to complain about. They could maybe include a field for further delivery instructions for awkward properties or flats (or doorbell ban warning for sleeping babies!) as well as a special dietary requirement area.

Delivery is just a flat rate £2.50 which is reasonable. I really put the delivery chap to the test as my studio is build on a development where the wayfinding part of the project was conducted by a sadist. But he found me at 12.30 spot on without so much of a sweat on his brow. I was also pleased not to see any cheeky credit card fees added to the order unlike some other food delivery services.

So to the food...Well I didn't need to know that Moshimo food was good, I really like the restaurant already, but how did the meal travel? My crispy vegetable gyoza were still true to their word on the outside and looked pretty in their patterned container.

I won some serious brownie points for my healthy choice of Loch Duart Salmon Teriyaki with brown rice. This was as enjoyable as the food envy looks it was getting from my colleagues and the salmon skin crisp. I was expecting two "salads" as per the menu but these were a nice selection of seaweed and ginger pickles. Lovely. (Dine in or in their stunning restaurant but you MUST try Moshimo out.)

Everything was hot and well packaged when it turned up. If delivery services continue to take off, maybe we need to consider packaging for the environment though. At the end of the day, it needs to be transported in a container but maybe there is a sustainable solution that is also appealing to look at.

Anyway, Deliveroo gets the thumbs up from me. The process is excellent, the delivery fees sensible and the scope for quality restaurants to get involved really exciting.

I was invited to review the Deliveroo service. Thoughts, as  always, are my own. 

EVENT: Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Food Festival, Spring Harvest, 20 May-1 June plus Easter Weekender, 1-6 April 2015

I can't believe it's that time again with the Spring edition of the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Food Festival. I keep saying it but boy, oh, boy, this festival has evolved from a few stalls and events to a gourmet onslaught of dinners, events, quizzes, markets, supperclubs and pop-ups.

Not just for the food geeks, the festival is inclusive for all tastes and budgets, with many of the events still free to attend. The festival used to be something I would attend mainly on my own a few years back. Now my friends contact ME with long lists of things they want to go to together.

Luckily the shops are teeming with trousers with an elasticated waistbands this season, because this spring you are going to need them. As always here are my favourite events that I've picked as the unmissable gems. However, it's now almost impossible for me to give you a concise list as there is so much going on with lots of micro drink and children's food festival off-shoots too. For the full line up visit

Do book early for the events as some are really popular and tickets get snapped up quickly. 

Sussex Food and Drink Routemaster Tours
For full information and tickets for the individual tours visit:
Standard tours are £75pp and the Michelin-star tour for £150pp

I've featured a couple of the fabulous Sussex food and drink Routemaster tours on the blog now. Available still are the classic Wine tours (21 March, 23 May) which visit some of the best Sussex vineyards with a buffet and the gourmet tours (18 April) for behind the scenes visits to local producers plus a great lunch and other goodies. New on the list are Sussex Beer, Cider and Wine tours (27 June) and a very special Michelin-star Sussex Gourmet Bus Tour (25 July) with a lunch at The Pass restaurant at South Lodge.

To see what you can expect visit my posts at:

Wednesday 1 April
Chateau Musar Wine DinnerThe Restaurant at Drakes, 43-44 Marine Parade, Brighton
7.30pm, £85 in advance
Tickets from Drakes on 01273 696 934 or via link at
I'm a big fan of Drakes’ head chef, Andrew MacKenzie. Here he prepares an exquisite menu to match fine wines from the distinguished Lebanese winery of Chateau Musar. French in origin, the Hochar family has been making wine in Bekaa Valey since 1930s and achieved international fame and acclaim. Should be an interesting evening.

Thursday 2 April
Make Your Case: Extreme! (supporting Rockinghorse Children’s Charity)Hotel du Vin, Ship Street, Brighton
7pm, £35 in advance
Tickets from
Personally, I already thought this event was extreme! Always good fun and without a wine bore in sight, presenters have three minutes to pitch a wine to you the judging audience whilst you taste it blind. The only difference is that they’ve all been challenged to present something that is absolutely out-of-the-ordinary. Its fast, its furious, and its a wine tasting unlike you’ve ever experienced before. Tickets include all your wines, sharing platters of food and cheese.

Good Friday 3 - Easter Saturday 4 April
Big Sussex Market
New Road, Brighton
10am - 5pm both days, FREE ENTRY
The big one. Producers, restaurateurs and farmers from across the county showcase food and drink at Brighton’s biggest street market of the year.

Thursday 30 April
Ridgeview Wine Dinner
Jeremy’s Restaurant, Borde Hill, Haywards Heath
7.30pm for 8pm, £70 in advance
Tickets from Jeremy’s on 01444 441 102 or

I must say I was VERY impressed with my recent visit to Jeremy's, so I would put money on this dinner being an absolute corker. Plus, Ridgeview wines!! Love them. You will be served a tasting menu created by chefs Jeremy Ashpool and Jimmy Gray, perfectly matched with award-winning English sparkling wines from Sussex’s Ridgeview Wine Estate, presented by Tom Surgey and Mardi Roberts. 

Friday 22 May
Cantina’s Taste of Guernsey Supperclub
Central Hove location
7pm, £40 in advance
Tickets from

The crown for Brighton’s supper club queen, sits firmly on top of Tina Horvath's head. Here she cooks up a special evening showcasing the stunning produce of the Channel Island of Guersnsey, including organic pork from farmer and butcher Jason Hamon, Torteval cheese, Fresh Guernsey Herbs and the dairy produce that the island is rightly renowned for. Hosted in Tina’s own cosy living room, her supper clubs always sell out so book early!

Sunday 24 May
Food Lab
64 Degrees, Meeting House Lane, Brighton
2-5pm, £70 in advance
Tickets from

This was the hottest ticket of the last festival and I am still sad I was away and missed out big time. The second outing of Food Lab sees seven top chefs matched randomly with seven Sussex producers, and challenged to come up with a unique dish or product. Participants including Michael Bremner (64 Degrees), Matt Gillan (The Pass), Seb Cole (Boho Gelato), Jimmy Gray (Jeremy’s Restaurant), Matty Bowling (Terre à Terre), Alun Sperring (The Chilli Pickle), Andrew MacKenzie (the restaurant at drakes), Mardi Roberts (Ridgeview Wine Estate), Sarah Thompson (Blackdown Sussex Spirits), Tom Stephens (Wobblegate Cider), David Deaves (La Cave à Fromage), Kier Foster (Brighton & Newhaven Fish Sales), Michaelmas Blackman (Blackman Bee Farm) and Niki Deighton (KingBeer). 

Tuesday 26 May
The Three Chefs go to the movies
Curry Leaf Café, Ship Street, Brighton
7.30pm, £42 in advance
Tickets from

The Three Chefs suppers are a brilliant way of being cooked for by some of Brighton's bests chefs, without leaving your seat. This time, they are moving venues to the Curry Leaf Café with three talented chefs who are currently really shaking up the food scene of the city and surrounding Sussex: Kanthi Kiram Thamma (Curry Leaf Café), Jimmy Gray (Jeremy’s Restaurant) and Semone Bonner (The Set Restaurant). Each of the chefs have chosen their favourite movie scene and will be creating a dish inspired by the action. I can't get my head around it (especially if someone has chosen Alien) but i be it will be a great night. 

Friday 29 May - Sunday 31 May
Waste not want not
sponsored by YELO Architects
supporting FareShare Brighton & Hove
Festival marquees on Hove Lawns
11am - 4pm, FREE ENTRY

This is totally different for the festival this year. The team at Yelo Architects will be building an interactive ‘house’, made purely from everyday domestic and commercial food packaging that otherwise ends up in the bin. Not only that, the Yelo team will also be creating unique furniture (which you can buy on the day) using bamboo chopsticks from Moshimo and plastic ice cream spoons from Boho Gelato. 

REVIEW: Jeremy's Restaurant, Haywards Heath, West Sussex

Jeremy's Restaurant is well known and established in Sussex, residing in the Borde Hill Garden estate for the past 18 years. It has been on my to-eat list for absolutely ages, but like most Brightonians, I get a little lazy when having to travel for food. To be honest, although I had heard positive feedback about Jeremy's, the mental picture I had was that of a very formal, traditional jus-with-everything food and a slightly stale environment in weekend blazers. But what I found couldn't have been further from my preconceptions.

With owner and chef Jeremy Ashpool still rightfully in the kitchen, he now has a young head chef Jimmy Gray (winner of Sussex Young chef of the year 2013) to bring some fresh ideas and a modern approach to Jeremy's. This strikes the ideal balance of keeping a firm foundation in solid, classic cooking that champions the local and the seasonal but introduces inventive detail. Despite being just 26, Gray is some real talent and has clearly grown up with his own family ties to the restaurant industry. I've been to other in-the-middle-of-nowhere fine dining establishments that have become stagnant but investing in new talent will always keep you current and also attractive to a new generation of clientele.

The amuse of spinach soup was a beauty to look at. Topped with a tiny, cheese filled wonton and given texture with finely chopped fresh radicchio, the soup was lifted with coriander micro herbs.

Our starters reflected the clever classic/contemporary contrast I mentioned with a very modern plate of salt baked heritage carrots and a more grounded bowl of scallops in a crab bisque.

The scallops were plump, sweet and perfectly cooked as you would expect and sat in a rich, decadent bisque. It was nice to see monks beard for flavour and texture as well as apple for contrast.

My jewel coloured heritage carrot dish was visually spectacular and had a lot going on. This seemed a bit of a wild card on the menu which always attracts me and the textures were really at play with a cold sorbet, smooth Slipcote cheese, firm black beans and a vanilla black bean puree. There was also a vibrant citrus dust. All in all a really experimental dish that whilst not entirely harmonious, was definitely one to remember. I also really loved seeing proper flat leaf parsley back on the plate. Personally I find it a really nice leaf to eat and a break from the micro herb trend.

Beetroot and venison will always belong together in my book. Their earthiness go together so well and couldn't have been more pleased with my main choice. My worries about the chocolate sauce was unfounded, just adding a richness to the dish. The Balcome Estate venison loin was beautifully tender and the smoky venison sausage and meatball kept the dish interesting. This was such a gorgeous plate of food and I loved the visual effort of matching the loin shape by cutting the cabbage, beetroot and turnip slices into perfect rounds.

Equally, Mr GF was very happy with the tenderloin and confit belly of Plumpton pork. I was scratching my head at the strange shape on top of the plate, thinking it may be some obscure root vegetable I'd yet to come across but they had cleverly dehydrated then fried the pork crackling which made it puff up to the lightest, most airy and crispy crackling you will ever taste. Chefs seem to be dehydrating everything in sight these days which getting a bit dull, but when it's done to enhance rather than for sake, I'm on board.

After such a stellar few plates of food, I was keen to see the desserts so chose a fresh rhubarb and stem ginger mille-feuille. Is this not the prettiest dessert you have ever seen (top image)? Now this IS a good choice of plate to enhance the food, we can clearly toss out all those naff slate plates now! The candied fennel was the element that added the sweet hit to the dish and was exactly the refreshing taste I wanted to end the meal (I'm not one for chocolate and sweetness after a meal).

Mr GF may as well start a sticky toffee pudding blog. I swear that man must have had every one in Sussex. It's that boy's drug of choice! But again it was a great dessert and the tart buttermilk ice cream helped to take the teeth, tingling sweetness down a notch.

I really miss smart, traditional service and still think there is a time and a place for it. At Jeremy's the waiting staff hit that formal yet friendly balance well. The whole meal was perfectly paced throughout.

We ordered a la carte, but it's worth mentioning that there is also an unbelievably good value set menu available 2 courses £18 and 3 for £22 available Tues - Sat lunch and Tues - Thurs dinner. The wine list was varied and sensibly priced too.

Although I was expecting a slightly stuffy environment and menu from my own preconceptions, the award-winning Jeremy's is a great modern restaurant in an elegant setting. It may have been around for 18 years but as you can see, there is still plenty fresh about it to warrant the trip up from Brighton for. I know it can be hard to go that extra mile for dining, especially for the younger city crowd, but sometimes it's really worth it. Jeremy's is just a short train trip and cab away from Brighton if you want to have a drink with your meal and in the summer the terrace overlooking the gardens is another bonus for visiting. There is also a more informal cafe next door (run by Vera Ashpool) which I popped into that has a nice outside space and would be great for children too.
Borde Hill, Borde Hill Gardens
Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 1XP

I dined as a guest of Jeremy's.

PRODUCT REVIEW: Charlie Bigham

At my happiest pottering in the kitchen, I can't say I rely on ready meals in any way. But I do keep a keen eye on food industry and shopping trends for working life and there is no denying the huge demand for prepared food. Increasing time poor and with the whole family working, it's sometimes just not do-able to get a slow-cooked meal on the table every night. And as a working parent myself, I can now totally sympathise!

Charlie Bigham products definitely have shelf appeal in the ready meal aisle. The crisp white packaging and nicely crafted script writing pings out from the sea of brown, red and green. The illustrations are fun but very broadsheet in tone and a nice touch that each range has it's own joke between the characters.

And let's face it, everyone has a peek under the sleeve of prepared food. Normally you are met with a brown, lumpy mush but CB have gone one step further in the presentation stakes with oven-safe wooden trays for the meals and ceramic ramekins for the pies, that are also topped with branded paper tied with string. A bonus as well is that all of this is a darn sight more environmentally conscious than piles of plastic trays. So yes, if you could specifically brand a ready meal for the middle classes, then this hits the nail firmly and squarely on the head.

Price-wise they are amongst the top end of the ready meal sector at £7 for a meal for two. But to me I find that a little reassuring. There are more quality questions raised with a ready Chicken Korma that can be sold for £1.20.

But looks aren't everything. Are these really going to make me down my kitchen knives?

First up was the fish pie. It looked great and was very well made with plenty of chunks of fish salmon and white fish. To be fair, I was surprisingly impressed with it. It tasted like a very, very good homemade fish pie both texturally and visually. As I may not use too much butter and cream in my everyday cooking, this was richer and felt like a treat. Looking at the ingredients, there was nothing that you wouldn't  put in a fish pie yourself and the addition of breadcrumbs and fresh parsley on top helped it feel hand crafted. I'd be more than happy to eat this one again.

The Steak and Ale pies looked the part in their ramekins. Unfortunately I left Mr. GF to cook them (oven. 30 mins) but they seemed to have become a tad singed in his care. It had been a hard week for him - clearly. Now I'm not one for a pie like this normally. I find flaky puff pastry more irritating to eat than anything. Underneath though there were generous hunks of tender meat in a rich gravy. For me though, the gravy was too intense, too much ale resulting in the filling being quite one dimensional. I like a bit of variety in there, more vegetables and more vibrant flavours. The quality of the pie however, couldn't be argued with. Maybe I'd be better off with one of the other varieties personally, as this was more to the husband's taste.

All in all though I was left with a new respect for quality prepared food. The fish pie was just gorgeous. Why can't all prepared food taste like this? (Production and consumer demand for cheap, cheapy, Mc cheap food is the answer, I know!) I suppose it's good to know brands like this do exist. Maybe for a more niche, affluent market but clearly there's one out there.

I was sent these products for review.

REVIEW: Hen, ethical chicken restaurant, Brighton

After enduring years of seeing Brighton laden with gaggles of women descending on the city with veils, L-plates, cringe-worthy blow ups and bottles of Lambrini, it’s good to see a new Hen in town. This one however, is a touch more stylish and inviting as the UK’s first ethical chicken shop.

Although I’m personally fatigued by 2014’s food obsession with upmarket fast food, I do appreciate that it has made a wider audience aware of what they are eating and heck, even McDonalds are suffering falling sales now people aren’t Lovin’ It quite so much.

At the time of writing, the exact definition of the chickens at H.en (meaning Happy. Eat Natural), wasn’t exactly black and white, complicated further with the very blurred lines as to what exactly defines “free range” “higher welfare” and “Freedom foods”. The chickens here are currently supplied by a small farm called Brooklands in Surrey that is not certified with any label but their hens are described as free roaming, higher welfare with no horrid additives or Frankenstein feed. I would hope H.en define this asap as it’s their main USP.

But what they do have is a limited menu and I love that. Simplicity and confidence is what I want to see when I order, nothing puts a downer on a meal than having to interrupt conversation for 15 minutes reading a restaurant’s version of War & Peace.

Here at H.en you choose from a quarter or half a grilled or fried chicken, wings or a chicken or vegetarian burger. Add a sauce and a choice of two sides (sweet potato fries, corn on the cob, a selection from their salad bar or grilled halloumi). Done. They also do brunch options, waffles and a chicken broth.

My fried quarter chicken was, for want of a better phrase, finger licking good (apologies Colonel Sanders). The batter was thick and crunchy, seasoned well and lightly herbed. I rarely eat batter on things but this wasn’t greasy and too tempting to miss out on and the chicken inside was succulent.

My salad was health-tastic kale, cucumber and raisin and along with grilled corn on the cob made an ideal, balanced meal. I would have liked a more interesting dressing on the kale other than lemon juice and dried raisins are a pet hate salad garnish, but I appreciate this is my pickiness.

The grilled version (I do appreciate the fact there is a healthier option here) that my dining mate ordered also looked pretty darn good too. Again simply seasoned and treated.

One possible contentious thing about this place is the fries are only available as sweet potato fries. They were thinner and crisper than I imagined they would be, coated in the house salt, but I think that the customer may demand the humble potato back on the menu before long.

Sauces were made in-house and the choice of three gave a good range depending on your taste. Personally, with chicken, the only way to go is spicy so it was The Duke for me, sweetened with dates and heat from ginger.

The drinks menu was good, with well selected bottled brands of soft drinks and beer, homemade lemonade or juices.

I have to mention the interior which is fresh and modern, on the right side of hipster with pegboard walls, industrial lights and planted succulents. HUGE plus point for the little kids table with chalkboard tabletop to keep the littlies quiet for five minutes while you, the parent, shove as much food as you can into your mouth while the kids are occupied (sigh, I know, I know…). The location is spot on and looks great from the outside, finally good to see the space used well after a couple of flops following the closure of the popular Nia Cafe.

Staff are young and friendly and the vibe exactly right for a modern chicken shop.

H.en is just in its first few weeks so obviously there are a few small points to iron out but once running smoothly, I imagine it will be very much welcomed as a casual dining spot with a conscious.
87-88 Trafalgar Street

I was invited to review Hen.

Where to get pancakes in Brighton this Shrove Tuesday

Better late than never! I normally do a pancake post for Shrove Tuesday but it's been flipping (groan) busy.  But here is a quick heads up on where to go.

The Creperie
They launched in 2014 on Shrove Tuesday so no doubt will be celebrating their first birthday as well as being Brighton's only true creperie. There's enough on the menu for a starter, main and dessert all in pancake form.

Sam's of Brighton
With their French head chef, it's hardly surprising that Sam's have a full crepe menu on the night which looks fantastic. They have black pudding, onions and fried duck egg or mushrooms and Gruyère cheese to start and the classics as well as caramelised apples and Calvados for sweet. Sam's will also match a small selection of beers and cider on the night, sorry "cidre".

Terre a Terre
Terre a Terre are making a meal out of it. On the menu will be "Okonomiyaki Hiroshima" - filled with togarashi noodles, sauteed cabbage, spring onions served with kewpie mayonnaise.

Plateau and Mange Tout and
There will be savoury pancakes at one of my favourite Brighton spots, Plateau and sweet ones at their sister restaurant Mange Tout. Pancake crawl!

64 Degrees
64 Degrees were hardly going to slap a bit of Nutella on a pancake were they? Instead expect bone marrow wraps and a take on a Korean dessert.

The Gingerman Group
All of the Gingerman pubs will have a crepe specials on the night.

The Coal Shed, Curry Leaf Cafe and Coggings & Co. also have something lined up too.

Or if you fancy staying in try one of my recipes:


RECIPE: Crespelle with Roasted Mushrooms, Bacon, Ricotta and Walnuts
RECIPE: Baked Crespelle stuffed with Celeriac, Pancetta, Ricotta, Thyme, Garlic and Parmesan


RECIPE: Buckwheat, Blueberry and Banana Oat Pancakes
RECIPE: Sicilian Cannoli inspired Pancakes filled with Sweet Ricotta, Vanilla, Orange and Toasted Almonds 

REVIEW: Dine in services comes to Brighton

It seems that the food home delivery service is booming. I've come across a good number of new sites that now offer a new way to order in your dinner. To be honest, I've only ordered take away to my home a small number of times as I can always rustle up a plate of spaghetti, aglio e olio, but really take away food has never appealed. A stale pizza in a box or a low-quality burger? No ta. But I am really interested in restaurant food home delivery and this is where these sites come in handy. Great for the restaurants too as they can easily increase their client base without the hassle of organising drivers and logistics.

As a parent now, I remember those early baby days (weeks, hell...months even) of not really being able to get out to my favourite restaurants. This really is a lifeline for new parents (or anyone that can't get out) to get their fix of favourite food too. I'll be testing out a couple of these services in the next few weeks but first up is

DineIn is well established in London with some fantastic restaurants on the list, they have recently launched in Brighton. At the moment there are only a few places listed like MEATliqour, Regency, Coggings & Co., The Creperie as well as some pizza places and fast food outlets. Great news is that Curry Leaf Cafe will be available from the spring and hopefully more restaurants will join them. I'd already been for a menu tasting at MEATliquor this week (hard life) so tried out Chaula's, an established Indian restaurant in town.

As 50% of the experience is the booking here I thought I'd show you the site too. If I'm honest, the website design and UX is pretty basic. The navigation isn't that intuitive and feels clunky. You also need to click on an info button for dish description which is a tad tedious as some restaurants have a huge food list. Although I do like the clean nature of the design in theory, the branding and colours don't evoke a sense of food, warmth or deliciousness (it's a word!).

The ordering side is not too bad though and ran pretty smoothly but again, I think a better design, bigger buttons and a slicker interface would improve customer experience. You only need to register an account if you have to use a voucher or code. Later you can track your delivery which I did think was a useful touch and the restaurants are given a tablet and an app so they can be quite specific as to the stage of your delivery.

My delivery from Chaula's turned up right on time for my chosen slot and was really well presented in a branded poly-fabric bag. Ten points for first impressions and food-wise this was a no-frills great curry. We ordered a Hydrabadi Chicken and Lamb Jalfrezi and thoroughly enjoyed them too.

There was a generous amount of meat in both dishes which was also tender and lean. Nothing worse than mean, gristly or chewy chunks of meat. The saffron rice was gorgeously fragrant (not just dyed with turmeric, which is what I was testing for!).

Delivery charges are worked out on distance and credit cards are charged at an extra 3%. So yes, other than a few niggles with the site design and build, all in all a really good service, and hope more restaurants are made available soon. In time I would like to see how my favourite fish, steak or other non standard takeout food travels but the concept is great and as I said before, really will appeal to various demographics.

I was invited to review Dine In with a part paid voucher.