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Twisted Lanes: a Brighton venue to twist and shout about

Dishes at Twisted Lanes in Duke Street, Brighton

Brighton is by no means short of cocktail bars. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, as a relatively small city we punch well above our weight in terms of premium venues that really know how to make proper cocktails rather than unmentionable pre-mixed drinks containing more sugar than a stick of rock.

One of my personal favourite is Twisted Lanes on Duke Street; in fact I dare say its a venue that I pop my head in for a cheeky Brighton Gin navy strength negroni or perky Arbikie Highland Estate vodka martini whenever I’m bobbing around town. You could say its my version of TV’s ‘Cheers’ because everyone knows my name…

A sister venue to the ever-popular Twisted Lemon and Twisted Lime bars on Middle Street, Twisted Lanes is a somewhat more grown-up space where there’s no jostling for a drink at the bar nor a seat at a table. As an increasingly irritable middle-aged man, I just want to sit down with a good drink and have a conversation that I don’t have to strain to listen to over the background mêlée of jibber-jabber and angst-ridden contemporary pop muzak.

In keeping with those vibes – and an ethos of enjoying food whilst you savour cocktails – Twisted Lanes offers a really decent offering of small plates and sharing boards which is pretty unusual for a cocktail bar as most seem to consider food somewhat of an after-thought rather than an integral part of the wider experience.

The kitchen is headed-up by chef Patrycja Bobrzynska who formerly worked at Petit Pois on Ship Street. For those of you who’ve dined there, you’ll know that Petit Pois is one of Brighton’s hidden gem restaurants, serving top-notch French food and wine at great prices.

Now at the helm of her own kitchen at Twisted Lanes, Patrycja’s menu certainly has nods to rustic Gallic cuisine but her new-found freedom has allowed inspirations from further afield and also closer to home with Sussex produce strongly represented.

Brighton Gin negroni at Twisted Lanes in Duke Street, Brighton

Following a cocktail at the bar – okay, actually three cocktails but who’s counting? – I dined mid-week with a couple of colleagues for a good old gossip about all things Brighton and Hove hospitality and tourism. First up was a sharing platter of Sussex charcuterie that matched perfectly with a smokey Mezcal negroni, a great twist on what is generally regarded as the favourite aperitivo drink of bartenders.

Whilst Sussex has been rightly recognised as one of the best cheese producing counties in England, the past decade has seen cured and smoked meats take centre-stage so it was definitely pleasing to see a really good and well-considered selection from local craft producers and farmers on offer.

Next up was a veritable plethora of moreish snacky dishes that we shared with polite vigour including crispy fried squid, rosti and a particular favourite of mine, juicy corn-on-the-cob.

Hands-down the hero dish was the beef short rib that literally fell apart if you glanced at it. This must have been slow-cooked for hours, demonstrating that the kitchen isn’t cutting corners with neither the sourcing nor preparation of ingredients. It went particularly well with an accompanying rye Manhattan.

In terms of pricing, with a cocktail from the extensive list and three small plates for a set price of £20 per person you really can’t sniff at the value that Twisted Lanes is serving up.

Should you be in need of a morning-after-the-night-before emergency Bloody Mary, it would be amiss not to mention that the venue is open from 9am Wednesday to Sunday for breakfast and brunch. With everything from buttermilk pancakes to a full English at £11.95 – and a bargain bacon butty for a fiver – you’d be hard-pressed to find such well-priced dishes featuring quality ingredients at this time of the day in the heart of the city.

And with selected cocktails priced at an incredibly pocket-friendly £6.95 during the extensive happy hours on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon until 10pm and Friday until 7pm, it makes a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of central Brighton.

Twisted Lanes is a genuinely unpretentious cocktail bar that serves up cocktails made with skill and passion, alongside a much wider offering of informal all-day dining options that please the palate and the eye without making too much of a dent to the wallet. No doubt I’ll see you sometime soon at the bar.

Nick Mosley

Twisted Lanes, 16 Duke Street, Brighton BN1 1AH

07880 235 514


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