Ben Gill is a Brighton legend. When he writes his autobiography we’ll be at the front of the queue to buy it – his time as owner of the Ocean Rooms is merely one of the chapters in his life. But while we wait for the book we can hang out at his new café bar – a slice of New York settled in Kemptown. As you can expect from the man who found a Banksy painting he forgot he had, it’s full of street art, screenprints, cool objects and great branding, while having a stripped back dive bar feel. There’s also a huge garden for the summer but we sensibly decide to sit inside and try the food.
The menu is small but ever changing – previously we’ve had an outstanding fishfinger sandwich – and we decide we must try the burgers that make up many of the options. Before we get to that we devour a big bowl of BBQ chicken wings (£7) that are crispy while being drenched in tangy, sweet sauce. There’s loads of meat on the bones and plenty of wings for the money. Then the burger (£6), which initially looks small but is actually very filling thanks to the huge amount of perfectly pink beef inside. The vintage cheese (£1) was worth the extra money as was the big pot of crisp chips (£2). The chilli was rich and tasty, even though we chose the mild route on the many options. If anything it could have done with a bit more sauce but the tortilla was interesting, very sweet, almost like the pastry in mille-feuille.
Good food and value for money, but that’s only half the story. The place has a real vibe to it. It looks great and was lively on the cold Tuesday we visited. If you want a quick meal, or to hang out over a few drinks or a coffee, there are few places as cool as Neighbourhood.
WERE WE SUSSED
We know Ben well and if we’d have turned up with a camera he’d have clocked our plan right away. Luckily after asking him about serving times we had a change of plans and visited a day early. Not sussed.
St James St
Mon – Sun 9am – 9pm