Two Hobbits Travel: Brighton, England
I figured I should do our first day-trip out of London first.
Despite the streams of Londoners making their way down to Brighton for a weekend staycation, it was still a refreshing change from the cosmopolitan life of London. To be able to sit at the beach and watch time go by as you listen to the waves and seagulls was almost like a luxury. Or walking down the beach to enjoy the sun (finally) and sea breeze.
Obvious sightseeing in Brighton included the pier and the Royal Pavilion Palace, but it held a hidden gem that probably became The Highlight of the trip. (Even our Dad hasn’t stop talking about it up till now.) It was lunch at The Gingerman that cemented our love of simple good food even more.
After getting ourselves lost for about 30 minutes, we managed to find it almost camouflaged in one of the rows of houses. We were utterly lucky to get a table despite having no reservations at this cosy restaurant. It probably sits about 20 persons, so you can imagine how tiny the place was. They serve set lunches with serving options of either two or three courses.
The amuse bouche was an espresso cup of comforting broccoli soup, and that itself set the bar for the rest of the meal pretty high. Most soups often taste processed, but here, you could pick up the earthiness of the florets from the cream easily. Freshly baked bread sprinkled with sea salt was served after. Nothing beats cutting into steaming hot crust.
Ned had the starter: pea risotto with poached egg and parmesan – the grains had a slight chew, but when infused with the egg yolk, every bite was light but full of luscious flavours. We followed up with a succulent salmon, mashed potato and greens topped with crème fraiche; and a beautiful melt-in-your-mouth beef shank with cauliflower tempura and spinach mash. Coupled with a glass of rosé, our sore feet and aching backs no longer mattered. In fact, it made listening to Dad and his famous stories much more enjoyable.
If the meal was a Lord of the Rings trilogy, dessert was definitely a finale worthy of remembrance. The Lemon Posset was possibly the best thing that ever happened to us. How can a simple dish of just lemon juice, cream and sugar create such mind-blowing textures? Paired with tangy blueberry jam and cream, we thought we’ve gone to heaven and back. Yes, we sound almost crazy but we thought we were insane too. It. Was. Really. That. Good.
Food wasn’t the only showstopper; service was a delight as well. There were only two servers and both were amazingly helpful and kind. The whole dining experience was worth every second we spent trying to find our way there. If anything, this is more than enough to pull us back to Brighton for another visit.
When in Hong Kong, we had dim sum every morning. When in England, we had tea almost every afternoon. Plus, I love scones. After pushing ourselves past the festive crowds and meandering down little lanes, we made a tea-stop at The Mock Turtle Tea Shop. What greeted us was this assault of blues and rows of oriental-inspired porcelain plates filling any space on the walls and shelves. And of course, the stacks of tea cakes on the table.
Still satisfied from lunch, afternoon tea was a simple affair with a cream tea set and a lemon sponge cake. The scones were much more crumbly in texture, and tasted almost wheat-like. If you ignore the misshapen forms, it’s quite a refreshing take on the biscuits. Pile on the clotted cream and jam, and any scone can be as pleasurable.
We spent most of time getting lost down little streets and soaking in the festivities. There was joy sitting at the pier as well, listening to the seagulls and watching the waves hit the shores. For a moment, time almost stopped and we could forget words like ‘deadlines’, ‘projects’ and ‘bosses’. Feeling the cold sea breeze across your face and sniffing the waft of food from the roadside stalls, yes, life felt really good that day.