Event – Launch night at The Cyclist Refreshment Room
Brighton Station is now a destination for two reasons! On Monday night The Cyclist Refreshment Room, newly opened and looking spick and span, had its grand opening on the station concourse. The mayor was there and even the odd character from The Bill. All stops had been pulled out – a caricaturist turned up, as did two Victorian gentlemen on Penny Farthings, juggling hats and spinning rolls of sellotape on their umbrellas (honest).
Drinks flowed, expertly mixed by the resident bar-person Lucy, who even invented a cocktail for the occasion – The Stabilizer – which did just the opposite with its lashings of gin, orange, rosemary and chilli. The house white, a Verdejo from Spain, slipped down well on a warm evening.
Inside it was all very welcoming, with old suitcases propping up the bar and fun still-life paintings of food around the room. For vintage cycling buffs, there are plenty of knick-knacks to peruse around the place. Plenty of space too, which is good as despite being in a station, I can imagine this being popular with families as well as post-work drinkers.
Someone here can cook for sure and I hoovered up as many canapés as possible, without actually pushing people out of the way. Mini burgers and cauliflower arancini got the double thumbs-up from my eight-year-old daughter. Delicate smoked haddock tempura were my personal favourite, but asparagus in puff pastry with herb aioli and smoked salmon blinis all hit the spot too. Braised sticky pork wontons were declared the winner by others.
We even got dessert, with brownies and chocolate sauce and strawberry and Prosecco jelly showing that puddings are no afterthought here.
The regular menu looks great with food on offer throughout the day. The Cyclist full breakfast (£8) and bacon bap with spiced tomato ketchup (£4) will be popular with commuters (they even do some breakfast items to go), while dinner options include braised sticky pork shoulder with wasabi peas (£6) and griddled asparagus with herb salsa and truffle yolk (£6.50), plus fine-looking burgers, fish and chips and steak.
As someone new to Brighton, I am very glad to see this recent addition to what’s always been a light, airy, friendly station that just needed somewhere decent to eat and drink. Cocktails on Wednesdays from now on are in order – after The Stabilizer I’m itching to see what comes out next …
Words by Sam Redfern