Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Chilli Pickle comes to you...

Today we are going to hand over to Alun Sperring - Head Chef and owner of the Chilli Pickle restaurant - to tell us about launching their new delivery service, The Chilli Pickle Canteen...

As owners of the Chilli Pickle, an independent regional Indian restaurant on Jubilee Square, Dawn and I realised a long term ambition when a smart car carrying our first delivery drove out into the January night.

Outside the Chilli Pickle
The idea of recreating the inventiveness of an Indian bazaar, backstreets restaurant or railway canteen had been taking shape for some time. We’d also had frequent encouragement to deliver favourite dishes from our regular guests, for those evenings when time or inclination kept them indoors.

As you might imagine, we’re frequent visitors to India, making the trip not only for speciality ingredients and to research dishes, but also to spend time in a culture we love. Last year, we visited the former princely state of Hyderabad to learn the secret of the perfect biryani. In Bangalore, we sampled world-famous rava idli. Even stopping by the roadside for a snack in India’s coastal mountains, we were served freshly-made green chilli pakora. We felt that we’d found dishes made to travel, and the concept of the Chilli Pickle Canteen took on a life of its own.

By the start of this year, it was getting harder and harder to keep our plans a secret. With help from some of Brighton’s best web developers and graphic designers, we felt we could unveil a delivery service as distinctive as the restaurant. The online ordering system was hand-coded to our specifications by a local firm, and local illustrator Geo Parkin brought our story to life with a comic strip. The specially designed boxes enclosing each dish are adorned with rangoli, the geometric patterns used to brighten Indian homes during festivals, as interpreted by a local designer.

As far as the menu is concerned, our new inventions join some touches you might recognise from the restaurant. The Grand Thali is a spread of small dishes, designed to show off the best seasonal produce and the inspirations of our Indian speciality chefs. For a speedier dinner, the Railway Tray offers an express introduction to regional Indian flavours. Finally, we pay homage to our Hyderabadi inspiration with a guest biryani – our current offer is a Persian-style mutton version with dried limes, fresh dates, smoked aubergine and harissa sauce.  You can also find the ice creams we make on the premises – and it goes without saying that our signature homemade pickles and chutneys are available too.

We’ve worked hard to show a distinctive experience of Indian cuisine in the home to Brighton’s discerning diners. To try it out, visit http://thechillipicklecanteen.com/order-now.  For Geo Parkin’s comic, please visit http://thechillipicklecanteen.com/inspirations.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Winner of January’s Flickr Competition

Greetings LoveBrightonters!

Is it really the second week of February already? Is the passage of time really all I talk about? Seemingly so. And as time is of the essence, let’s get on with it!

January was a wonderful month for photos of Brighton & Hove. The snow-capped hillsides and blizzard-ridden seafront provided some wonderful snaps of the city in the ice-box. The theme for January’s Flickr competition was Love Architecture, LoveBrighton and there were simply LOADS of great photos of the diverse architecture in the city. From up-close pebbles on Brighton’s infamous bungaroosh houses, to the sleek Deco designs of Embassy Court. The impressive iron-work at Brighton station also got a mention, as did some more humble, but no less iconic, seaside structures…

I am of course referring to the charismatic beach huts along Hove Promenade. We loved the many photos of the coloured front doors in the snow, and also this, the winning photo of January’s competition, rather more bleak but no less beautiful shot taken by Finn Hopson:

We loved how the colours of the sky and the snow-dusted Hove Lawns all shared the same turquoise hue, which is also the colour of Victorian Brighton & Hove as can be seen along the iron railings of the seafront.

Finn Hopson has won an annual Single Membership (plus guest) to the Pavilion & Museums Foundation, which gives free entry to the Royal Pavilion and other paying exhibitions, as well as special invites to opening and private talks whilst supporting Brighton’s cultural heritage. Er, jealous?

Here are a few words from Finn about his shot and links to photography:

I grew up in Brighton and I think it snowed about three times when I was a kid. Even though it seems to snow at least once a year now I still can’t believe it’s going to happen. I get childishly excited every time it actually starts to fall, run out of the house with my camera and stay out there until it’s thawed.

The day I took this photo I headed to the beach to be met with a vicious wind blowing most of the snow sideways across the prom, drifting up around the edges but leaving everything else with a fine dusting of white. The visibility was awful and the light was incredibly flat, leaving everything looking muted, bleak and cold. Whilst not a particularly original subject to shoot, these huts on Hove Lawns looked just perfect as the snow started to settle. They are such an iconic part of the seafront and the fact that the sky and the grass were almost exactly that same ‘Brighton’ turquoise colour made the whole image something special. It’s my favourite from the collection I took that day and really sums up what it felt like to be down on the beach that morning.

When its not snowing I divide my time between photography, video editing work and looking after my tiny daughter. I spend as much time as possible shooting landscapes, particularly on the South Downs and along the coast. I currently have an exhibition of photos from the South Downs around Brighton hanging in Redroaster on St. James Street, which runs until 30th March. I also have three photos featured in this years North Laine Photography Brighton calendar.

You can see more of my work and buy prints on my website www.finnhopson.com

For February we’ve decided to ignore all that gooey Valentine’s stuff (well, not completely – check out some top Valentine’s Day ideas on VisitBrighton!) and the theme for this month’s competition is Love Landscapes, LoveBrighton.

You’re a creative bunch, so we’re thinking panoramic views of the cityscape from way up high, views of the South Downs from, well, way down low, or even slightly more bonkers interpretations – the only limit is your imagination so get shootin’.

Ooh, and don’t forget it’s Pancake Day tomorrow so get flippin’!

Love you lovers,

Siobhan x

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Pop-ups and Hidden Gems

One of the joys of Brighton is that there are always new things happening, even in the theoretically 'quiet' winter months.

For example, last week a pop-up bar arrived in the city and we thought we'd better pop in and try it out. For a short time only the Buffalo Bourbon Empire has taken over the upstairs of the Wick Inn pub in Hove. Don't worry if you're not a bourbon connoisseur as the bar staff definitely are and were very helpful in advising us what to try. The bar has a prohibition theme, complete with concealed entrance and very dapper bartenders. If you want to try it you've not got long as the bar will only be there until Saturday 9th February, although if a lot of us go down maybe we can persuade them to stay a bit longer...

Photo of drinks at the Buffalo Bourbon Empire

While I like a lot of the traditional pubs in the Lanes, it was nice to try somewhere a bit different, and there is something rather satisfying about finding these hidden bars. So just in case you don't make it down for the Buffalo Bourbon Empire here are a couple of other hidden gems, worth seeking out:

Drinks at Metrodeco
  • Metrodeco - Continuing with the Prohibition theme, the much loved 1930s Parisian tea salon is now open weekend evenings, serving tea cocktails from teapots. To help you really get into the swing of things they also have vintage clothes for you to try, borrow or buy.
  • Alcove - Just off the busy Western Road is this chic French restaurant and cocktail bar, serving up classic drinks with a twist including the Datequiri, Hedgerow Sling and the Caipirinha D'Alcove.
  • Paris Wine Bar - Moving away from the city centre this Hove wine bar, offers a wide selection of wines from around the world.
  • 10 Green Bottles - It is easy to miss this wine bar on Jubilee Street but you'll be glad you found it as the wine list is impressive and the staff really know their stuff! They also serve delicious charcuterie.
  • Northern Lights - Tucked away behind Brighton Town Hall is this Scandinavian gem, the perfect place to escape the chill with a warming beverage with over two dozen flavoured vodkas to choose from.
Let us know what you think and if there are any others you'd add to the list.

Of course while we hope you enjoy trying these drinking establishments we must add that you should enjoy their drinks in moderation. See www.drinkaware.co.uk for more information.


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Sunday morning run...

Today one of our regular bloggers from the past - Alix - returns to give us an insider's view of the Brighton Half Marathon... 

The Brighton Half Marathon takes place on Sunday 17 February. Thousands of runners of all abilities will take to the streets for the 23rd annual half marathon. The event attracts seasoned running veterans gearing up for the full marathon season through to newbies tackling a long distance with more enthusiasm than experience.

Last year I joined the Half Marathon for the first time. I was nervous about tackling 13.1 miles having only done a 5 mile run before. I needn’t have worried, it was a fantastic day. The atmosphere among the runners was buzzing and the crowds lining the route were amazing all the way round. I set off at a moderate pace and found myself moving faster than I expected, buoyed by the race day excitement.

For a novice runner like me, one of the big benefits of the Brighton Half Marathon is the route is very flat. There is only one slight incline at about the fifth mile, on the way out to Roedean. The rest of the run is a whistle-stop tour of the city’s iconic sights, including the Royal Pavilion and the Brighton Pier, without any gradient to worry about. The seafront is the grand attraction – miles and miles of glorious flat running surface with the most fabulous view!

The race starts and finishes on Madeira Drive, near Steve Ovett’s bronze statue and the Brighton Wheel. The dash to the finishing line is exhilarating, not least because it means the running is almost over! I completed my first half marathon in 2 hours and 25 minutes, more than half an hour faster than I’d dared to hope for, and loved every minute of it.

Image provided by the Brighton Half Marathon
I promised myself I would keep up with running after having such fun. But I was distracted by the amazing international sporting events of last year. Somehow I didn’t find time to go for a run. Instead I was rather obsessively following the Olympic Torch Relay or passively watching the astonishing achievements of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Suddenly it was autumn again and I’d not been for a run in months.

With the New Year came lots of good intentions. I have been running over the snowy hilltops of Ovingdean and the ice covered promenade of Hove. Yet I am nowhere near up to speed and have very little time left now to get ready for the big day.

I am determined to give it my best shot though because this year I am one of the many thousands combining the running fun with fundraising. I am hoping to raise funds for a local community event and I am going to make sure I earn every penny contributed to the award winning Deans Festival. (This is my sponsorship page in case you are interested – cheeky plug! http://localgiving.com/charity/deansfestival/project/alix-is-on-the-run)

Charity is at the heart of the Brighton Half Marathon. The event is an amazing opportunity to help others by seeking sponsorship for a wide range of charities. Hundreds of good causes benefit from people converting the pounding of their feet into donated pounds in the bank.

The run is organised by and the main fundraiser for Brighton-based charity The Sussex Beacon providing innovative services to meet the changing needs of people living with HIV. So if you are around on the day and see a donations bucket – please give generously.

Good luck to everyone taking part and a big thank you to anyone coming to support the craziness by cheering from the roadside!

Alix at the Finish Line
Thanks to Alix for today's post and everyone here at LoveBrighton would like to wish Alix and all the others nutters - oops I mean runners ;) - good luck!