The Little Blue Smokehouse pastrami with pickles was one of the very first things I ate at my beloved Street Diner, over two years ago and I’ve been a repeat customer ever since. My little ears pricked right up when I heard that they were taking over the kitchen of Indigo’s newest acquisition, The Seven Stars and when my lovely friend Fran from The Graphic Foodie blog invited me to be her plus one, I was well up for it.
This is a venue which has been much written about already and been almost constantly under scrutiny since the very first week it opened. I understand that it’s nice to be one of the first to review somewhere new, but things rarely run smoothly at the start and this has been confirmed for me after reading some wildly varying reviews of places in their opening weeks, recently. I always like to give somewhere at least a few weeks to ‘bed in’ before subjecting it to my critical eye, I think it’s only fair. I really really wanted to like this one too.
I really like what they’ve done with the interior, the bar runs almost the whole length of the room which is extremely wise, as every Friday and Saturday night I’ve walked past it’s been absolutely rammo and lots of people I know have been and love it too.
Some people might find it a bit ‘trendy’ but I think it’s got a good vibe, a nice layout and a really great choice of drinks – I think it’s fair to say that it’s one of the only pubs (not bars) in central Brighton serving decent cocktails as well? More on those in a bit.
I gave the menu a thorough stalking online before visiting, and other than the kimchi fries and pigs head fritters, I was genuinely baffled as to what to have. It all sounded hugely appealing and I was surprised by the amount of variety, I’d imagined something similar to their street food with a few specials, but not a bit of it, go hard or go home, eh guys.
Thankfully Fran took charge beyond my two menu choices and I was thrilled with her picks, especially the braised ox cheek as it also came with the ham hock greens, which my roving eye was pulled back to again and again.
Reading this back now other things I’d love to try are the mac & cheese, trash can fries, and the confit duck hash. Let me know in the comments section below if you’ve had any of them and what you thought, please.
Daytime drinking can often be a bit of a disaster for me, even more so if gin is involved (I won’t elaborate) but I couldn’t refuse the offer of trying their Sipsmith gintinis. I loved both the watermelon and the rhubarb and vanilla flavours, but the latter was my favourite of the two. Neither were at all sickly, nor did they taste much like gin at all, just the flavours they were infused with, Sweet, refreshing and moreish.
All of the food
Korean fried chicken wings- £5.25
Fran loved these and I liked them. Unfortunately for LBSH, I’d very recently eaten the best Korean fried chicken ever at Bincho Yakitori and the memory of their perfection was very fresh in my mind. The sauce had a lovely flavour to it but had saturated the batter making it more sticky than crispy.
Deep fried pickle with chipotle mayo- £3.95
Not my favourite. I was envisaging a towering pile of crispy pickles like you’d get in MEATliquor, but sadly I was left wanting. They were nice, but I’d have rather have more of them but sliced thinner, and preferably in batter too. I thought nearly £4 was a bit steep too.
Smoked pigs head fritters- £4.95
Undoubtedly the highlight of the meal for me. I loved them. They were pure seasoned meat inside and they hadn’t been shy with the amount. One of my Mum’s pregnancy cravings with me, was for baked beans mixed with picallili. Whilst the thought of the two mixed together vaguely repulses me, I love nothing more than slathering the Christmas Eve roast ham with picalli, so for me, this was perfect.
Wedge salad- £4.95
This absolute beast of a salad was the perfect aside to the fried and meaty feast we had going on around us. Topped with crispy smoked onion, the chunky charred iceberg was something a bit different and I think it really worked. Loved the ranch dressing too.
Kimchi cheese fries- £5.50
Now, I know these are a massive favourite amongst almost everyone I’ve spoken too, so this is very definitely a matter of personal taste, but I liked and disliked them in equal measures. From the top I thought they were great, loved the cheese, the veg, the fries and the spicy seedy topping, so most of it really, it was just underneath which didn’t really float my boat. There was a large pool of the sauce which tasted strongly of soy and sesame and really overwhelmed the fries that had been doused in it.
Ox cheek with ham hock greens & pan juices- £12.95
This was incredible. The smoked and beer-braised ox cheek cheek was spoonably tender, the mash silky smooth and the side of ham hock greens was absolutely fantastic, buttery and delicious with a generous helping of meat. I would definitely suggest ordering this or at least a side dish of the greens when you visit.
Overall it gets a big tick from me. Yes there were a couple of things I ate which I wasn’t massively keen on, but they were things which other people rave about so it’s definitely down to personal taste. Love the venue, the service was lovely (thanks Marina) and I’ll definitely be back to try more.
They’re also launching a brunch menu this bank holiday weekend, from 10-12 every Saturday and Sunday, and having seen a few teaser images on social media (below), I think it looks well worth a try. I might have to recreate those waffles at home, they look filth.
Bacon, peanut butter and banana waffles with maple syrup
Have you been to The Little Blue Smokehouse? What should I try next? Please do comment below or hit me up on any of my social networks x (below)
The Little Blue Smokehouse at The Seven Stars on Ship Street BN1