The Fable of The Brew Dog – A Beer Tasting Tale

Come closer, tiny darlings, for it is story time. A story of one dog and his fight for the purest of beers…..

…..Okay, it isn’t story time yet, I’ll get to that at the end. First, let me tell you about my delightful evening spent with The Brew Dog.
The Demon Gin, brew dog, beer tasting

A couple of weeks back, I chanced upon a flyer for a beer tasting that promised to bring not only Scottish craft brewers Brew Dog to fair Canterbury, but would also be a meeting of two lovely local businesses.
The event would take place at Mrs Jones’ Kitchen , and was hosted by The Bottle Shop, Canterbury’s premiere purveyor of bottled beer. Run by Drew and his crew inside The Goods Shed on Station Road West, The Bottle Shop is the place to go for excellent beers and really special brews – the shelves heave with dozens of obscure and new beverages, begging to be quaffed. Well worth a browse and all of your money.
This is Drew

For our £15 ticket, we were promised an evening of beer sampling, food and beer talk from the experts. I was sold.
For those of you not familiar with this brand (where have you been?), Brew Dog was launched in 2007 by a pair of pals who were tired of stuffy ales and industrial larger. They started small, brewing small batches and filling bottles by hand to sell at local markets but within a year, the brand had exploded in popularity.

Having produced the (then) strongest beer in the UK, they attracted their share of headlines but also a legion of fans and the brand has grown and grown ever since. These are beers made with flavour, with passion, with balls and, if you don’t check the strength, with a near-lethal punch. 

So, the promise of beer and then more beer soon attracted the attention of the beau and two of my beeriest friends, Tim and Stella, so the four of us bagged tickets to the tasting and hastened to the venue one crisp Saturday night. The event sold out quickly, but we were lucky to grab a table and someone’s shoes because sometimes I steal people’s shoes for no reason*. It’s a problem, I’ll learn to deal with it.

Mrs Jones’ Kitchen itself is a beautiful, spacious café on The King’s Mile in Canterbury, serving solidly lovely food by day. It opens in the evening for special events, and Mrs Jones herself is a big supporter of local entertainers and artists. The café is also very family friendly, with plenty of space, big scrubbed farmhouse tables and an open plan bar.
On arrival, the MJK staff furnished us with delicious hot dogs in thick baguettes with beer battered onion rings, made (of course) with Brew Dog’s Weihenstephan. The Brew Dog representative and Drew’s team manned the bar, handing out special glasses (which you could buy at the end of the night) and dispensing tasters of the night’s brewskis.

Most of the beers on the menu were new prototypes from the brewery, not yet on sale. Stella and I worked our way down the list in order, while the boys chopped and changed depending on the strength.

We started out with the Vagabond, a pale ale at 4.5%, followed closely by the Hop Fiction IPA at a more serious 6.5%. Both were delicious, particularly the Vagabond which was my favourite of the night. Golden, light, full of flavour – and gluten free! This brew has since passed the prototype stage and is now available to buy. Get it now, and bring me some.

Then came the Alt Amber, a seasonal Alt Bier at 5.2% which was perfectly respectable and is available October to December, and then the All Day Long, a mild that would suit drivers at only 2.7%.
Then things got serious.

The prototypes consumed, we moved onto the big daddies of the night – the smoked porter and the imperial stout.

Stella and I weren’t sure about the porter, named U Boat Victory. We were already starting to get giggly, and with this brew coming in at 8.4%, it took no prisoners. It was pleasant, but very intense.
Then came the stout, Dog C. The 15.1% stout that retails at £15 a bottle. I’m not kidding.
It’s name conjures images of a medical experiment gone horribly wrong, and it looks like one too. Thick, black and terrifying it was, languishing in the glass, daring us to have the balls to drink it. Stella and I took a sip.
It tasted like tyres. Tyres with stilton. 
It was not our cup of tea at all, and much as we tried to grit out teeth and think of England, we could not finish it. I’m not sure who this stout would appeal to, but it was an experience to say the least. Ben baulked at our inability to finish beer, and proceeded to drink our leftovers. (He was not well the next day.)
While we sampled, the representative from Brew Dog took to the floor to explain a little about their work and the beers we were tasting that evening, before the tastings reached their conclusion. We were pleasantly mellow with beer, and most of the guests stayed on to buy more drinks from the bar and to discuss important things like beer and why we all needed more beer.

Our only grumble was that we couldn’t buy some of our favourite beers to continue drinking on the night, as they were prototypes and could not be sold to us – we would have to be patient. As it was, we settled for some Old Dairy Ales from the café’s regular menu.

It was a splendid evening nonetheless – top beer, wonderful organisation from The Bottle Shop and lovely hosting from Mrs Jones’ Kitchen. And Brew Dog may have their share of mental beers, but their everyday brews are consistently delicious, and well worth your time.

As we neared the end of our tasting adventure, a voice boomed across the restaurant floor, knocking us back into sobriety. Drew stood in the middle of the floor, arms wide, calling our attention. It was time for a story. The story…of the Brew Dog…
I could not possible attempt to describe it, so Drew kindly sent me a copy to share with all of you, tiny darlings. Read the tale, howl at the moon, and let the Brew Dog run free…
MY FRIENDS! HEEEEEAR ME!
Gather round and let me tell you a story.
A long time ago in a land not too dissimilar from our own there were millions of people and they all had one problem. They weren’t happy… They weren’t happy because the pale elixir of life had become bland, it had become predictable, it had become fizzy and tasteless. They hated themselves for consistently consuming this bastardised vision of what their favoured elixir had become but yet they could not help themselves, sucking obediantly at the teet of the Wicked Witch Stella and her Evil Wizard brother… Buddy Weiser.
And low the reign of Stella and Buddy went on, casting a dark shadow across the land!
All seemed lost to the people who once loved their sweet, pale, elixir of life. Nothing could stop them from weeping helplessly into their nonnets of insiped witches brew and fizzy, flavourless, Wizards broth…
A deafening roar bellowed from the North, a soul shattering, bone crunching roar that put fear into the hearts and minds of men, women and children alike. Weeping ceased and all stared to the rocky hills of the North and there, standing on great, rugged, paws, with a mohawk the size of a man-o-war. Standing on a bloody pile of broken bottles and the discarded corpses of the witches minions, was a dog the size of a town, with the eyes of a demon and teeth like… A dog’s teeth… because it was a dog.
The people were scared but then the giant dog crushed the Wicked Witch Stella with one stomp of his mighty paw and stabbed The Wizard Buddy in the knee.
“Jeez that smarts!” yelped Buddy in pain, only in time to see the giant dog blow down his evil laboratory with a solitary ice-distilled breath that smelt like penguins and replace it with a new one. 
One that would make an elixir for the people, one that would make an elixir that the people would actually like, one that would push the very boundaries of what could and could not be done.
The giant dog stomped on Buddy’s abdomen, spraying EVIL blood and EVIL guts across the room. With Buddy’s last, dying breath he balled his fist at the giant dog and let out a blood curdling roar…
“Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuude! Not cooooooool!”
The people rejoiced at the re-invigoration of their favourite elixir. And as the giant dog marched back to the North to continue his work, a small hipster with lens-less glasses and an ironic scarf approached the giant dog and said,
“We appreciate all you’ve done for us… But who are you?”
The giant dog growled it’s deepest growl, it felt like the very bowels of the planet shook in nervous anticipation, and it said…
“Woof woof woof, woof woof, woof woof woof woof.”
Because dogs can’t speak English. But what he meant was:
 
“Oh don’t mind me, I’m just the… BREWDOG!!!!”
And with that he donned a set of giant aviators he was keeping in his fur and sauntered off into the sunset.
THE END

*I don’t really. I steal their hair.

Dear Prudence – In The Heart of Sipsmith Distillery

The beau and I are getting into our drinks tours of late – breweries, micropubs, distilleries, we’ll visit anything and drink it dry. I know I know it’s sickeningly hipster of us, and also a terrible shame that drinking cheap wine in the aisles of Netto while sobbing is no longer good enough for us. But it’s a tipple-fuelled tide we could not swim against.

the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin


Craft booze and seeing where it’s made is officially where it’s ‘at’ these days, all the cool kids are into it. Even though calling it craft beer or craft gin always seems pointless. I mean, of course it’s crafted, how else would it exist? What, do other manufacturers just throw water and flowers into a pot and shout at it until it becomes alcohol?!………actually, they probably do. I do, anyway. Eh, I digress.

I’ve done my fair share of beer tastings and tours, but a gin tour was missing from my life. Fortunately, Ben was able to take a hint and bought me a tour for two of the hallowed Sipsmith Distillery in London. A genius Christmas present from the beau; he got all the good sex that day.

Sipsmith – as you will have hopefully read about in my previous post about Junipalooza – is quite possibly my favourite gin at the moment. Ever since sampling it, I have used it as the benchmark against which most other varieties of mother’s ruin must be tested. It is the gin I use to bring the most steadfast non-gin drinkers over to the light: floral, delicate yet bursting with flavour, it is a ‘sipping gin’ that holds its own in a G&T and I cannot wait to try it in a martini.

So one fine and frantic day, the beau and I took a special trip to London* to go exploring ahead of our evening tour at the Chiswick distillery. On arrival in Chiswick, we jumped in a cab and found ourselves being driven down a very sleepy-looking residential street. At this point, we began to panick, thinking that we had fallen for a classic ‘free gin!’ scam and were being driven to a house of knives and liver. Then the cab pulled up at an entrance to a small yard/warehouse, hidden between the terraced houses. We sent a few texts to loved ones, telling them to avenge our deaths and not to touch our stuff, and crept through the wooden doors.

the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin

We had to shield our eyes from the brilliant gleam bouncing off a trio of glorious copper stills, and were guided by a friendly voice towards a shabby chic bar heaving with gin bottles, tonics, bowls of citrus fruits. A G&T was pressed into our hands. I was HOME.

the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin
the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin
the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin

We had time for a nose around the site while the other attendees filtered in. The building itself was once a micro-brewery, and the action centres on Prudence, Patience and Constance – the three copper stills where magic is made.

the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin
the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin 
the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin
the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin
the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin

Our guide for the evening was Briony, who called us to order around the sills and took us through the Sipsmith story, all the while dispensing tasters of London dry gin, barley vodka, damson gin and sloe gin to the salivating masses. 

Let me break it down for you.

The Sipsmith founders Sam Galsworthy and Fairfax Hall came together with a vision in the Noughties. A clear, junipery, damp, sweet, boozy, peppery….Christ, sorry, I slipped away for a moment there.

The vision was to bring artisan gin back to London and open the first distillery in London for two centuries. With solid backgrounds in brewing and booze, they were well prepared for the challenge, and with Master Distillery James Brown on board, the blend would be in good hands.

It all started with the grand mama of the copper stills, Prudence, which was the first of its kind to launch in London for nearly 200 years.

the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin

Her bespoke design with a pot, carter head and a column still means she is as versatile as she is beautiful. It is the elegant swank-like neck of the still’s pipe that inspired the Sipsmith label’s swan motif. And the copper of the stills is not just for show – it reacts with alcohol removing impurities.

the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin

But there was a big stumbling block for the distillers in the early days; licensing laws set up to prevent people from creating moonshine meant that distillers had to produce a minimum of 1,000 litres at a time. Prudence’s capacity is just 300 litres. It took two years of waiting, wrangling and wrestling before they received their distiller’s license (in itself a piece of history).

Prudence’s small capacity – and those of her sisters – means Sipsmith will only produce a few hundred bottles at a time. The team will spend months on batches that the big producers will churn out in a day.

the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin
the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin

The gin is made using the traditional ‘one-shot’ method, rather than using a concentrate. This involves distilling the botanicals with the Barley mash spirit – it is a pricey way of doing thing as it results in more waste, but you get a better gin. These botanicals are Macedoian juniper berries, Seville orange peel, Spanish lemon peel, Italian orris root, Spanish liquorice root, Belgian angelica, Madagascan cinnamon bark, Chinese cassia bark, Spanish ground almonds, and Bulgarian coriander seed.

the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london ginthe demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin

During fermentation, only the pure ‘hearts’ of the gin (the most flavourful) are retained while the evil ‘heads’ and vile ‘tails’ are discarded. The hearts are then watered down with spring water from the Cotswolds, and then ready to rock.

Our gin lesson complete, we had time to muse over the tipples we’d sampled. Ben’s clear favourite was the sloe gin, which is outstanding. I should have snapped up a bottle of it while in London, as it’s been rather hard to find down here in the wilds of Kent for some reason (I suspect I’m not looking in the right places. By which I mean I keep looking in my cupboards and wishing it was in there. Haaaaaaaaaaaa – comedy gold). I was also impressed by their damson gin, which is a little lighter than the sloe variety but still packs a spicy punch. But my favourite was still the London Dry gin that has made the brand famous. Silk in a glass.

the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin
the demon gin, sipsmith, sipsmith distilllery tour, distillery tour, craft gin, london gin

All too quickly, the event was over. We just had time to add our names to the guest book, swap damson gin recipies with other guests, and collect our gift of a miniature bottle of London Dry Gin before we fled into the night in search of food. And more gin.

An excellent experience for all gin lovers. Book your tours here, good people: www.sipsmith.com

*I was going to write a blog about our London day. Unfortunately, we were shattered for most of it and did a fraction of the fun things intended. Never start your day out in London with two pub stops and a massive lunch; you’ll never make it to Westminster Abbey and will have to go to the Travelodge for a bit of a sleep and BAM, the day is gone.

Silo, Brighton – A Zero Wasteland

Every day, we’re told to stop producing so much waste.

Weekly, we roll out our landfill wheelie bins under cover of darkness so no one will know just how full they really are. Daily, people in offices snatch rubbish from your hands and force it in to the recycling bin while cursing your existence. Hourly, a polar bear commits suicide because you keep buying plastic wrapped leeks instead of the PERFECTLY ADEQUATE LOOSE ONES.

Most of us grown ups grew up in a time of excessive, repeated and unjustified waste. It was pre-recession and we didn’t really care about stuffing plastic bags down a dolphin’s throat because we could just demand that the Government buy more dolphins. But times have changed and the world, thankfully, is more willing to embrace a ‘less is more’ and ‘ignorance isn’t bliss’ attitude when it comes to waste.

Which leads me to the centre of the shrubbery maze that is this blog’s introduction…

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Becky and I were nearing the end of our blogger’s jaunt to Brighton (did you read about it in my last post?), and had spent much of Saturday dodging the rain while exploring the Laines. Read Miscriant’s write up of our shopping and coffee pit stop here.
But there was one venue we were determined to reach – Silothe UK’s first zero waste restaurant.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo markets itself as a restaurant, bakery and coffee house, but its biggest selling point is its commitment to zero waste on site. They mill their own flour for bread, make their own beer, compost all leftovers, flush the toilets with their own grey water waste, trade directly with farmers and producers, and use re-useable delivery containers.
The website mission statement reads: “At Silo, we chose to provide quality through purity, adopting a more primitive diet with techiques both modern and ancient. We choose food sources that respect the natural order, allowing ingredients to be themselves without unnecessary processing. By creating everything on site from its wholest form, we can capture real food, and real food tastes better.”
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

For a full round up of the vast amount of work that goes into Silo, take a look at their blog.

We ventured down an unassuming side street off the North Laines, and soon we stumbled across the looming warehouse doors of Silo.
Inside the foyer was a table resplendent with freshly baked goods and treats, and Becky and I drooled quietly in a corner for a few minutes before realising we should probably try to obtain a table and stop scaring the children.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

During the day, they do not take bookings except for tables of six plus, but the charming hostess assured we would not have more than a 10min wait.
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

The restaurant interior echoed the aforementioned meeting of ‘modern and ancient’: tables made from old scaffold boards, box chairs to match, exposed lightbulbs, white-washed brick walls, giant blackboards baring the specials. All the cutlery and crockery is either recycled or upcycled. The kitchen is exposed to the diners, as is the bar and service area. 

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo reviewSilo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo reviewSilo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

Nothing is hidden away here, you can see the beer storied in giant plastic tubs, the jam jars that serve as glasses, even the compost machine is a star attraction by the entrance. But this stripped-down chic is paired with modern technological savvy.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo reviewSilo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

The daily menu is projected on to the walls, and menus are presented to diners on iPads. An extravagance? Well…for a restaurant where the menu must change regularly according to season and stock, imagine the cost of printing and reprinting paper menus? For the cost of three or four mini-iPads, they’ve probably saved a packet in printing costs.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

Earlier than expected, we were seated – space being tight, couples have to share a spacious table of four with others, but this was not a problem for us and in keeping with the restaurant’s ethos; be fussy about having a private table, then you have to reduce your covers, and one must assume that fewer covers means fewer meals and fewer meals means more waste.

It is a noisy, bustling place, for this is no place for staff to laze languidly over your customers while the bread turns mouldy. A water jug and two jars landed on our table within seconds of our being seated, as did our iPad menu, and the staff were attentive and in sparkling form.
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

Becky opted for a soft drink, while I could not resist a taste of the Moonface IPA, by Old Tree Brewery (operating from Silo’s basement). It arrived, true to form, in a jam jar and was a punchy little number.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

I opted for the fish – catchbox cod, seaweed mash, steamed alexanders and sea vegetables. As we waited, one of the chefs brought us our complimentary fresh baked sourdough bread and homemade butter, explained the ingredients and wished us a great meal.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
We didn’t go for starters, though I wish we had. The bread was beautiful, and when our mains arrived, we were in a flurry of flavours.
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

My fish was perfectly cooked, nestled in a delicate slightly tart sauce and accompanied by silky vegetables with just enough bite. I had never before tried sea alexanders (a forager’s delight), but it is a cross between asparagus and a fragrant chard…I think…never mind, it was delicious.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo reviewSilo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

My dish was probably one of the more pious offerings on the menu, as I saw plates of braised venison, caramelised artichokes and brown rice risotto being devoured by other diners.

The mains ranged from £8 to £12, and there was also the promise of sea buckthorn and elderberry fool or treacle sponge with goats milk custard and cacao for dessert. Sadly, we could not partake of the sweet treats.
Our time at Silo was all too short, as we had  train to catch, but I will be sure to return to try a full three course experience.
Silo’s concept may strike some as ‘gimmick’ restaurant, but I have no doubt, based on my experiences, that the quality of its offering will see it stand the test of time. The mission statement was true to its word, as Becky and I ate very well and felt pretty damn good for it.
Venture in to the zero wasteland, tiny darlings, and feast.
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

SILO

Upper Gardener Street, North Laine, Brighton

Open Mon to Weds 9am to 5pm, Thurs to Sat 9am to 8.30pm, Sunday 11am to 5pm.
Email contact@silobrighton.com Tel: 01273 674259
Find them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter

Blogging in Brighton – Oki-Nami & The Black Lion

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami

A mini-break, you say? To Brighton, you say? A chance to have some girly fun with fellow blogger Miscriant and try some new places, you say?

IN-teresting!

So it was that I decided to stop talking to myself and a get a train to the fair seaside town with my dear friend Becky for a night and day sampling Brighton’s delights. Miscriant will no doubt be blogging of our exploits herself, so please do visit her splendid blog and compare notes. Hers will probably less drunk then mine.

We decided on a blogging break at the last minute – Becky’s husband was abroad for work, I had some holiday to use up and I think the beau was dead or something that weekend – so we threw caution to the wind and snapped up some tasty deals on hotels and train tickets. I scoured Twitter for recommendations of where to visit, and we were blown away by the responses (thanks Visit Brighton for spreading the word).

We departed Canterbury on Friday, each dragging suitcases containing far too many outfits for a one night trip, and arrived in Brighton around three hours later.

A nice bottle of train wine helped our journey.

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Train wine #Brighton #traintrip

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Becky had recommended The Queen’s Hotel right on the seafront, and I found a twin room for £84 for the two of us. When we arrived, we couldn’t believe the size of the room we’d been given – king sized bed and a generous single with views of the promenade and the sea*, and a lovely bathroom.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, queen hotel brighton

Then Becky found another door….which revealed another double bedroom. We had a frigging corner suite!

I didn’t have the chance to try the spa, but Becky had visited before and recommends it. The only downside of our giant room was that it faced the street and on a Friday night, when things get festive late into the evening, it was pretty noisy. Fortunately, I’d drunk my weight in gin so passed out comfortably on our return, so it’s down to how heavy a sleeper – or drinker – you are.

I insisted on a power nap, and then Becky and I preened for our night out.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, Miscriant

We had been sent several recommendations for places to visit on Twitter, and by locals, so started with The Black Lion just round the corner from the hotel – a lovely, beautiful pub with a lively atmosphere, fine ale and gin selection, and the promise of late night ska music; we would return later.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, the black lion

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, the black lion brightonThe Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, the black lion brighton

Then it was on to The Mesmerist to laze in a booth and test our cameras – Becky with a G&T, my with a pint of Dark Star Hophead (I cannot resist Dark Star beer. It’s in my blood).

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, the mesmerist brighton

The bar claimed to be inspired by ‘gin lanes, burlesque and steampunk’ – which translates as leather sofas, dark wood, weird paintings and suits of armour. Drinks were reasonable and the vibe was good.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, the mesmerist brighton

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, the mesmerist brighton

Then we had to find food. This was tricky. We’d found a couple of recommendations but they were way out of our walking range, and one did not take reservations and was full by the time we arrived.

We wandered through the Laines, stomachs growling and shoes started to pinch, when we discovered this little gem: Oki-Nami.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton
The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton
The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton

People probably know about this place. All of Brighton probably knows about this place. It’s co-owned by Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) for crying outloud. But we didn’t know. We figured we’d get some Japanese food and crack on.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton

The host, and owner, greeted us and gave us a great table by the window. Becky and I chose from the Oki set menu – three courses for £22.95.

We ordered a pair of cocktails, and when we tasted them we knew we were on to a good thing. Absolutely spot on – sharp and bursting with flavour, perfect for the meal.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton

The starters arrived. My sushi selection was well presented and on the money – I’ve tasted more exciting sushi in my life, but it was still tasty.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton
The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton

But Becky’s Nikku Gyoza, which I stole, were incredible. Melt in the mouth goodness, best Gyoza I’ve ever tasted.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton

For our mains, we both went for the teriyaki dishes – salmon for me, chicken for Becky. Again, the food was delicious – sweet and spicy marinade, yielding fish, braised vegetables and sticky rice.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brightonThe Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton
The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton

We couldn’t resist dessert and ordered the flourless chocolate orange cake with plum liquor infused ice cream. Jut gorgeous, and light enough not to feel too sinful.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton
The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton

As we nibbled, we noticed several people had slipped past the restaurant’s front door and had disappeared up a curious flight of stairs at the back of the building. Indeed, the restaurant’s centre piece was an impressive spiral staircase. The owner told us that people were heading to their cocktail bar.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton

We needed no further encouragement. Filled with good food, we climbed the spiral staircase to sample more drinks.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brightonThe Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton
The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton
The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton
The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton
The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton

We really felt like we’d hit the jackpot with this bar/restaurant. It was clearly popular with locals, and the cocktails promised untold levels of debauchery. I can’t resist a good espresso Martini (and after a meal it’s basically a digestifs, so it’s stupid NOT to have one), and these did not disappoint. I managed two while Becky stuck to her concoction. As I said in my previous post, I’m a fast drinker.

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton
The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton
The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, oki-nami, oki-nami brighton

We just had time to dash back to The Black Lion to listen to their ska DJ before retiring to the hotel bar for a final few gins, and then bed at 1am.

Okay it was 2am. I think.

My next post will cover Saturday and our adventures in a zero wasteland…

The Demon Gin, brighton, blogger, brighton blog, miscriant, black lion brighton

*These views were lovely, but as we were on the 1st floor and Brighton is a popular place, the curtains remained closed for much of the stay so that no passers-by would see my nakedness as I strutted about, pretending I was King of all hotel rooms.