Qype: The Old Bank Steak & Ribs Restaurant in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingRestaurantsSteak HousesEating & DrinkingRestaurantsEating & DrinkingRestaurantsFamily restaurants

Inside The Old Bank

After wanting to visit The Old Bank for a while, I was delighted to be invited to another Brighton Qype event to sample the wine list and menu. Being a BIG fan of a good steak (and good wine, of course) I’ve been to a lot of steak houses – mainly chain-style ones which try hard to be faux-American and never quite beat a steak from a good butcher which I’ve cooked myself. This place is (thankfully) something completely different and in a class of it’s own.

I was the first one to arrive at the event (I have an awful habit of turning up to things stupidly early) and was greeted by Helen, the owner, and Jonathan, the general manager. It was lovely to chat to them a bit about the place first, which despite only being open for a couple of months already has the fantastic homely atmosphere of a well-established restaurant.

So, onto the food and wine. We started with a Prosecco which was wonderfully light, easy to drink and an absolute bargain at £19.75 for a great bottle of bubbles. The next wine we had was a Muscat – a gorgeous, sweet dessert wine priced at £16.50 for 50cl – accompanied by a chicken liver pate (on the menu at £4.50) which complemented it perfectly.

Next came a Chardonnay blend accompanied by warm goats cheese (£3.95 on the menu) – even though I’m not normally a lover of Chardonnay, this wine was actually really nice and very decently priced at £13.95.

Then it was onto the reds and the meat dishes. The next wine we sampled was a Riesling supplied by local wine merchant Henry Butler – priced at £24.95, this was at the top end of the wine list and it was easy to see why. It went fantastically with the chicken wings (from £3.95 a portion) which come in either ‘hot’ or ‘not’. Because I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to spice, I went for ‘not’.

I’ve heard great things about The Old Bank’s ribs and I wasn’t disappointed – they are blimmin’ fantastic, especially when accompanied by another of Butler’s fantastic wines – a beautiful Malbec priced at £22.50.

The minute steak and chips, £6.95

But they saved the best until last – the steak. Jonathon bought out a medium-rare 28oz rib eye steak on a platter (which is ALL yours for £29.95) and I’m not ashamed to say I could probably have eaten the entire thing. With the steak we had a gorgeous rich, full-bodied Shiraz priced at £20.25. Perfect.

After such enticing tasters of the menu I had to order something – I went for the minute steak which is served with chips, jacket or a salad for £6.95. Keen to sample more wine, a few of us sampled their house Malbec which (although not as good as the one from Butler’s Wine Cellar) is fantastic value for £11.95.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the evening – great food, great wine and a great atmosphere. I’m very much looking forward to going back there and tackling one of those 28oz steaks. You never know, I might even share it. Yeah, right.

Check out my review of The Old Bank Steak & Ribs Restaurant – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype Guru Event: a meal at Giraffe in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingRestaurants

Living in Brighton, it’s very easy to develop an aversion to chain restaurants as there are so many fabulous, quirky, independent places to eat. I usually find chains horrendously overpriced and poor value for money by comparison. For this reason, I had avoided going to Giraffe until I was invited there for a Qype Guru event. So, with an open mind and an empty belly, along I went.

On entrance, we were greeted by a wonderfully smiley and enthusiastic waitress who offered us a seat and had no hesitation in suggesting to us the best wine on the menu – a Sauvignon Blanc which I must say was absolutely delicious. Their wine list is good, but rather expensive by the glass so I would recommend getting a bottle with your meal.

Sitting down and perusing the menu I was surprised as there really is no way to classify what type of food Giraffe offers – the menu had everything from burgers to Mexican food to Oriental influenced dishes. Picking a starter that complemented the main was a bit of a challenge.

In the end I went for the chicken wings sharing starter, which was about the same price as the individual ones (around the £5 mark). The size of the starter was impressive – six enormous chicken wings coated in a tasty Asian-style marinade. Probably a bit too much for one person as an appetizer, but hey, I was feeling greedy.

For the main I went for the teriyaki salmon and wasabi rice because I thought it sounded like the most intriguing thing on the menu. The salmon fillet was beautiful and cooked to perfection – and for £12.95 it wasn’t bad value either. As for the rice, I’m still undecided. A brave and interesting idea but one I’m not sure quite worked the way I thought it would.

As far as chain restaurants go, Giraffe really isn’t half bad. The staff are great, the feel of the place is fun (even if the music was a bit loud) and the menu, wherever possible, is locally sourced in Kent and Sussex. The quality of the food is good and there are several deals on food and drink available throughout the week which make it even better value for money. Definitely worth a visit.

Check out my review of giraffe – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: In Vino Veritas in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingRestaurants

This place is absolutely fantastic. If you’ve got a fair bit of cash to splash and are after a really top-notch meal then you’ve got to get yourself to In Vino Veritas. I came here for the first time last month with my friends from Elwood Wines and had what was probably the best meal I have ever eaten in Brighton.

Determined to stuff ourselves silly, we started in the bar area with the Tapas/Canape menu which included the most delicious charcuterie plate, king prawns and deep fried mozzarella (£3.95 each) along with our first bottle of wine – I think it was the Hoher Rain, Gruner Veltliner, Geyerhof (£34). Not usually to my taste (a little oaky), but a great accompaniment to the cured meats and seafood.

After this fabulous appetizer, we moved up the spiral staircase to the restaurant area. I started with the Seared Scallops (£7.85) – which were deliciously buttery and cooked to absolute perfection – before moving onto one of my favourite dishes: Rib Eye Steak with Pommes Frites and Green Peppercorn Sauce (£16.75). Divine.

Far too full for real dessert, we ended the meal in the most perfect way – with a strong, creamy liqueur coffee. After four courses and as many bottles of wine (not all to myself, I hasten to add) I felt thoroughly satisfied. Although it would take months, perhaps even years, to work through their incredibly extensive wine list I can’t wait to go back again and start trying.

Check out my review of In Vino Veritas – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: The Lanes Health & Beauty in Brighton

BrightonHealth & BeautyBeauty & WellnessBeauty Salons

Standing in complete antithesis to the calming atmosphere, plinky-plonky music and herbal tea of The Treatment Rooms, The Lanes Health and Beauty offers a young and funky atmosphere reminiscent of the image of beauty salons I gained from watching far too many chick flicks at a young age.

Decorated in cool black and hot pink, the decor is 90s-chic without being cheesy. The staff are generally very smiley and always look glamorous – like they’ve stepped right out of the cast of Hollyoaks. In a good way.

I went here recently with Saltatrix for a pedicure which could not have been more different from my serene, calming and private experience at The Treatment Rooms. Rather than a place to go when you feel like relaxing with a bit of “me time”, this is the ideal spot for a pedicure with one of your girlfriends as part of a shopping trip – huge, American-style, black leather pedicure chairs (with massage function), built-in foot spas, funky coloured nail polish (I went for the bright blue) and most importantly, a glass of Buck’s Fizz (which, let’s be honest, it’s NEVER too early in the day for). The £32 for the Spa Pedicure is SO worth it.

Check out my review of The Lanes Health & Beauty – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype Does Brighton!

Qype Does Brighton!

After enjoying huge success in London and all over Europe since it launched in Germany in 2006, international reviews site Qype is finally hitting Brighton. In style.

We’ve got three floors, yes THREE FLOORS of open-mic and open-house shenanigans at Lucky Voice, Brighton on 23rd June from 6pm. And the best bit? It’s TOTALLY free. Just make sure you RSVP to hartingale@qype.com so you don’t miss out.

The evening will feature live music from Brighton-based singer-songwriters Mike Wilton, Louis May and Gemma Williams, poetry from Tony Flynn and karaoke hosted by Brighton’s karaoke king Stephen Leppard. There’ll also be some thai-style nibbles (first come, first served), a free cocktail for ALL performers (even the terrible ones) and two-for-one cocktails for everyone else. Bargainous, eh?

If you feel like you’ve got far more to give than one karaoke number will allow, then get in touch with me on alicereeves86@gmail.com to be added to the main bill of performers.

There are also prizes to be won for the best performances and the best reviews of the venue and event – including dinner at new Vietnamese restaurant, Pho.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Add yourself to the Facebook Event

Read more at the Qype Blog

Qype: Cath Kidston in Brighton

BrightonShoppingArts & CraftsFabric Shops

Girly, flowery, stylish… I don’t believe that there’s any self-proclaimed ‘girly girl’ out there who dislikes Cath Kidston. From the signature baby blue and pink flowered designs to stripes and polka dots, everything sold in this place is absolutely gorgeous.

I’ve long been in love with Cath Kidston’s nightwear, particularly this gorgeous dressing gown, which is so chintzy it’s brilliant. I could totally see myself lazing around the house drinking tea in this. For £65 though, I think I had better save my pennies first.

My other love affair of the Kidston range is with the luggage bags, my favourite being this one – so pretty, but undeniably practical. So I’d feel far less guilty if I were to spend £85 on it. It’s an investment after all, right…?

Guys, if you want to get your girly girlfriend a special present she’ll absolutely love, then this place is an absolute failsafe bet. Trust me.

Check out my review of Cath Kidston – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Cargo Homeshop in Brighton

BrightonShoppingHome Shopping

I was a big fan of Cargo Homestore when it was on East Street, but now it’s moved to the bigger and better premises on North Street, I’ve got to say that I love it even more. Spread over two large floors and stocking everything from soft furnishings to snazzy picnic hampers, this place has everything you could ever need for your home and garden.

Prices range from reasonable to expensive, but you can find some real bargains in the sales – last time I was in here I bought some plain white espresso cups with saucers for the bargainous price of £1.80 each. Result.

Upstairs, past the sofas and beds, they have a lot of similar and often identical stock to the smaller, independent shops like Bert’s Homestore – including the fantastic range of Colour Works brightly-coloured silicone kitchen wear, almost everything you’d need to open your own in-house bakery and funky Cath Kidston mugs.

I would quite happily spend a LOT of money in here, as I’m rather obsessed with both kitchen items and fuzzy cushions, both of which Cargo stocks in abundance. If you’re looking to kit out your home in style, then this is your one-stop shop.

Check out my review of Cargo Homeshop – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype