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Review of Lost in the Lanes

Lost in the Lanes on Nile Street, Brighton

Having opened its doors way back in 2018, Lost in the Lanes is by no means a new kid on the block, writes Nick Mosley. It’s firmly established and has been serving up truly epic quality breakfasts, brunches, lunches and coffee ’n’ cakes in the heart of the city for years.

That said, despite the double frontage and floor-to-ceiling windows, its location on Nile Street in The Lanes is easy to pass by in haste. Yet from mid-morning until the doors swing shut at 5pm, the venue is consistently busy with a mixed clientele of locals-in-the-know, ladies who lunch, weary shoppers looking for a little respite and casual visitors who are no doubt attracted to the welcoming interior and well-priced dishes.

Whilst there have been the occasional attempts at evening pop-ups in the past, surprisingly for a restaurant of this calibre there hasn’t been a consistent evening dining offering. As of last month though its all-change with a pivot from a purely daytime venue to one serving up a comprehensive evening menu – well, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at least.

I dined last week with a friend who is possibly the city’s longest – but not oldest – serving hotel general manager so expectations were high. As he was running half an hour late, I naturally dived into the cocktail menu and ordered a spicy Paloma – one of my favourite drinks consisting of tequila and pink grapefruit juice. It was beautifully balanced and it’s clear that the presentation – glassware and spice rimming – are well-considered. That said, the cocktail menu did read a little ‘girly’ to me (if I’m still allowed to term it in that way) which may be applicable for the daytime demographic but definitely needs beefing up for the evening; a minor detail and one that is easily remedied with the addition of a more ballsy negroni and Manhattan.

Lost in the Lanes in Brighton

The menu itself is – yep, taa-daa, you guessed it – a selection of small plates for sharing alongside a few larger portions. With owner Natalie Demetriou’s roots heralding from Greece, its no surprise that the evening menu crafted by the undoubtably very talented head chef Sophie Taverner has more than a nod to the Mediterranean. But equally there is a real effort to include hyper-seasonal and local produce wherever possible, meaning that the menu gets tweaked weekly; this is an admirable way of working and one that few restaurants at this price-point are delivering on.

The charcuterie plate was of good quality but perhaps a little skimpy however there was nothing meagre about the rest of the plates.

The salt cod bolinho – handcrafted balls of fishy deliciousness – took me back to lazy afternoons quaffing wine and grazing with the Adriatic Sea lapping in the background. A truly impressive dish at insanely affordable at £7.

The ox cheek ragu – pulled beef stacked high on a crispy potato Rosti and smothered in finely grated Parmesan and chives – was a true crowd-pleaser and an absolute steal at £10. Personally I’d say this is a meal in itself.

Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m – ahem – a man of very simple taste so I’m more than happy with a well-baked jacket potato. I’m pleased to report that Lost’s crispy potatoes scored 10/10. Amazingly crisp, slightly salted skins with creamy and soft inners, all smothered in spicy bravas sauce and aioli. If these were available on Deliveroo then I’d be ordering most nights.

Njuda clams at Lost in the Lanes, Brighton

For me, without doubt, the hero dish was the clams with spicy Nduja sausage with tangy tomato, earthy chickpeas and salty samphire. It was perfection in a bowl and – again – insanely good value at £12. There is also an option for a larger plate at £18 which I dare say with a side of focaccia would make a meal in itself. This will be a serious contender for my top ten dishes round-up at the end of the year.

Although we were pretty stuffed, it would be remiss not to have sampled the desserts. My companion opted for the chocolate panna cotta with oat tuile; supremely rich and luxurious. I ordered the pavlova – a melt-in-the-mouth confection of homemade meringue offset by tangy blood orange and rhubarb. It’s a sign of a darned good kitchen when as much thought and effort is put into the dessert dishes as the mains so hats off to whoever is heading up the pastry section.

There are plentiful options for vegetarians and vegans, and gluten and dairy free dishes – and options on request – are available and clearly marked on the menu. The sharing plates range in price from £7 - £12 so with a glass of wine, you’re looking at around £30-35 per head. This is remarkable value for the portion size and level of elevated cooking.

As you may have already guessed, I’m a big fan of Lost in the Lanes. Although there needs to be a little more thought in the shift from daytime to evening service, the food, ambiance and general bonhomie is exceptional. The offering is genuinely on par with some of the best of the best in Brighton so I can well imagine an AA Rosette landing on the door soon. There’s a very fine line between chic and cosy, but without doubt Lost in the Lanes hits that indefinable sweet-spot.

Nick Mosley

Lost in the Lanes, 10 Nile Street, Brighton BN1 1HW

01273 525 444 •


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