A Little Brighton Adventure & The Best Coffee Ever

Pete and I went on a little adventure this past weekend to one of our favourite places in the UK, Brighton. We decided to drive as we just couldn't find reasonable priced train tickets and I won't lie, the three hour drive down there was a bit torturous due to the horrible sheeting rain and relentless grey skies. Because of this horrible weather we hit a few traffic jams and ended up getting to the hotel with only half an hour before our dinner reservations. I really hate rushing and plan everything to the n'th degree so this did not make for a happy Nancy.

 Sorry for the rubbishy photo, this was taken at night under the electric lights...

We stayed in the Queen Adelaide Suite at the Royal York hotel. The room was lovely and the bed very comfy, and was only £110 for the night which is very reasonable for the area. The hotel has a 'luxury room concept' where 'luxury meets affordable prices' and it didn't disappoint. We had stayed once before on a Groupon offer in a 'superior room' which was also very pretty. I would recommend it if you are coming to Brighton and it is only a little more expensive than the Premier Inn in the city centre so you may as well pay that little more for a lovely bedroom like this!

So after a little peruse around the room we jumped into our fancy evening clothes and headed for the Lanes where we had a really tasty dinner at Las Iguanas. I was so thirsty when we sat down that I downed two cocktails in about five minutes and was a wee bit tipsy before the food had even arrived!

Our reason for visiting lovely B-right-on was that we had tickets to see Caro Emerald at the Brighton Dome. We arrived quite early and waited in the bar until we could go into the Dome itself, and several lovely people came up to tell me how nice they thought I looked which was so lovely of them - I had my new velvet hat and pleated chiffon dress on with my favourite bottle green rabbit fur stole and matching tights.
Caro and her band were absolutely fabulous as I knew they would be and before I knew it was time for the encore. Pete and I seemed to be the youngest ones there aside from a nice young man in a long tweed coat that had taken his mum which I was surprised by until a friend told me that they had advertised her album relentlessly on GMTV for about a month!
It was a bit odd being seated at a concert as I had only done it once before and everyone had stood straight away but we remained seated most of the way through for this one. At one point poor Caro got her lovely vintage dress snagged and had to get a stage hadn to cut it, I know I would have been devastated! They played lots of songs from the new album that's released in May I think and they were all great so I'm really looking forward to that coming out.

Sadly after the show we had a really big disappointment after taking a £10 taxi across town to our favourite restaurant bar The Medicine Chest. We stepped out of the taxi and walked up to the entrance only to find that it has closed down. We were both so gutted and then had to take a 20 minute walk back to the hotel looking far too overdressed for this part of town. I'm still sad about it now as that was a pretty special place to us.

This downer was made up for however as the next morning we found the best coffee shop ever - Mr Wolfe! We had read about it on Shortlist's article on the best independant coffee spots in the UK so knew we had to make the walk out to it. We skipped breakfast at the hotel and headed out into the world arriving at the cafe at about 10am, like magic there was a little two person table there waiting for us and an amazing selection of cakes and pastries on offer. 
We both went for a (very reasonably priced) cappucino and it was literally the best I have had. The coffee they use is Monmouth Organic Espresso and I wish we had bought a bag while we were there as we can't find it online anywhere - hook me up if you know where I can order it people!  

 One of the cakes available at Mr Wolfe - Photo Source

Pete grabbed a pain au chocolate that was plump and glossy with a brushing of honey. He said it was amazing with the richest dark chocolate inside. I went for broke and had a slice of carrot and walnut cake that was topped with honey mascarpone frosting and chopped pistachios and dried cranberries. It was a really great cake, and I hardly ever say that about something I haven't made myself. The frosting was perfect, not too sweet and delicately creamy so it played well with the spices, nuts and zing of the dried fruit.
We spent a good few minutes speaking to Travis one of the owners and he was absolutely lovely. He told me all about where they source the pastries and breads and how it is one of the partners that bakes all the cakes and they never know what they are going to get. My dream is to own a cafe where I can bake whatever I want each day so this was lovely to hear.
If you are ever in the area, both Pete and I would highly recommend that you hunt Mr Wolfe out, we will definitely be going back every time we visit Brighton!

 Another great find on our trip was Utility on North Road. The Queen Victoria tea towels (see below) hanging in the window drew me in and we walked into an emporium of beautifully no nonsense household goods like proper enamel pie tins, stackable wine glasses that reminded me of little Paris bistros, real silver plated ice cream dishes and even slabs of carbolic soap! The stuff of dreams! 

They have a fab little online shop and I'm planning on ordering some metal storage tins for my flours and sugars. They even sell such intensely useful things as spout doilies, post scales and canvas water buckets! The item descriptions on the website are a treat too, I especially like this one.

So that was some of our short but sweet trip to Brighton, I'm sure we'll be back soon and if anyone can suggest any nice quiet but classy cocktail bars that may take the place of our beloved Medicine Chest it would be much appreciated!

Are you planning any weekends away soon?