I have so many reviews in the pipeline which are pending (late), but this week I had such a lovely meal that I have felt totally compelled to write about it immediately. Hell, I even want to go back immediately it was that great. 100% bona fide Brighton hidden gem.
Papa Pitta is a pop up offering ‘Cypriot kebabs and urban beats’ at the back of that random little passageway market on North Street (up from Wagamamas etc) in North Laine*.
I’d already seen some tempting looking pictures on social media, so when the owner, Yoddi, contacted me through Twitter, inviting me to come in to try the food- I booked in for two days later, on a Thursday lunch time with my Mum.
*yes that’s right folks North Laine, not The North Laine, or The North Laines or The North Lanes. I see businesses with premises in that area getting it wrong and it makes my blood boil. Oh and there are NO South Lanes either! Phew, I feel better for getting that off my chest.
We turned up at Papa Pitta after a particularly challenging (for me) trip to the Apple store and I was very definitely ‘hangry’. We were greeted at the entrance by Yoddi and from the second he ushered us through to ‘Cyprus’, any residual stress from phone shopping drifted away, and for the next hour and a half, my frown was well and truly turned upside down.
Using the word ‘vibrant’ always makes me feel a bit of a wanker (not sure why), but it really is the best word to describe the Papa Pitta experience. Great music, buzzy atmosphere even when half full and positively balmy in the mid afternoon sun. I can imagine it has a party feel in the evenings too.
I’m still staggered by how reasonably priced this all was. I didn’t pay for my meal as they invited me to review, but looking at this against the enormous volume of food that came out, the prices seem even better value for money.
The entire menu was calling my name so rather than battle with my commitment phobia I asked Yoddi to take the decision from our hands and just send out whatever he thought we might enjoy.
I didn’t want to ask if they had made these pitta in-house as I didn’t want Yoddi to think I was trying to mug him off (!), but either home made or bought in, they were rolled super thin and perfect for slathering with the tasty, homemade dips. For 3 quid you cannot go wrong ordering these, it’d be like going a curry house and not having poppadoms and chutneys.
I hate beetroot, it’s the first thing that will spring to mind if someone asked me what I don’t eat. I used to feel the same way about mushrooms and olives, but persevered, forcing myself to try them over and over again until I started liking them. I’m now attempting to do the same with my earthy-tasting purple nemesis, without much success… until now.
This salad, with it’s mint & honey dressing, crunchy walnuts and tangy feta, may in fact be the turning point, a step in the right direction towards getting over a lifelong loathing. I’ll keep you posted.
I’ve eaten a lot of questionable calamari recently and for £3.50 I wasn’t holding out much hope for this, however, I was mistaken. It was flipping’ fantastic. Coated in rice flour and fried until crunchy outside but still bouncy within, it was so good, I could have eaten piles of it.
These put me in mind of the sautéed potatoes that I remember so fondly from Olympic breakfasts at The Little Chef as a child with my Dad, but better. Crispy, twice cooked and seasoned well with oregano and salt, we ate these dipped in the remaining dips that came with the pittas. SO good.
Really struggling with not making a joke about sausage here guys… but as this is a family show, just know, this is some goooooood sausage. Super porky and filled with herbs, pepper and meaty juices- sensational is the adjective that immediately springs to mind when thinking of these, and three days after my visit, I am still thinking about them.
One for the veges, or vegans if the feta were omitted. The grilled veg were sweet and concentrated in flavour and topped with the baked feta which had a consistency not dissimilar to silken tofu. I really enjoyed it but the less adventurous may prefer to substitute for halloumi instead.
This is just what it looks like… an extremely nice kebab, not dissimilar to a shish… other than being pork, so unlikely to be found in your standard ‘charcoal grill’ offering. If pork’s not your bag then there’s a chicken or halloumi option. For me, the only thing missing was the ubiquitous pickled green chillies garnishing standard kebabs, but it wasn’t the end of the world.
Word of warning: the hot chilli sauce that comes on the side is really spicy so take care when dousing your kebab with it.
Salty olives, sharp, creamy feta and crunchy red cabbage, all of which was all brought together by the lemon, oregano and olive oil dressing. It is everything you could want from a Greek style salad and fabulous value at only £3, I thought.
I can quite confidently say that this loo, in a shack, in a yard is nicer than 90% of the ‘facilities’ in Brighton pubs. Clean, gleaming sink bowl and no unpleasant odours. It makes the state of some of the loos I’ve seen recently even more embarrassing.
Really handy opening hours
So if you couldn’t already tell I loved it, cannot recommend it enough in fact. Maybe not one for elderly relations or people with screaming brats, but if you like good food, great vibes and a lively and authentic dining experience, at a seriously reasonable price- check it out.
Have you been to Papa Pitta? Any other interesting pop ups in Brighton that you’d like to see me review? Please do comment below or tweet me, I always love hearing your recommendations for places to eat x