Review – Sidewinder
Sidewinder. Noun: a pale-coloured, nocturnal, burrowing rattlesnake that moves sideways over sand by throwing its body into S-shaped curves. It is found in the deserts of North America.
Sidewinder Brighton. Noun: a charismatic and welcoming boozer that moves with the times by constantly evolving and bringing new ideas to the city. It is found on Upper St James’ Street.
Somewhat of a Brighton institution, Sidewinder have upped their game recently with the introduction of manager Hannah Waddington and new Head Chef, Matt Young. With both parties coming from broad food and hospitality based backgrounds, the citizens of Kemptown and surrounding areas have something to be excited about.
Visiting the Sidewinder is a leisurely affair, expect chats with bar staff and a varied and interesting clientele that is reflective of the diverse residents of Brighton. Couples, groups of friends, sports fans, students, young and old alike constantly strode through the door in search of a cold pint and perhaps some shade from the sunniest day of the year so far.
Along with the introduction of Hannah and Matt, the menu at Sidewinder has also been revamped. An affiliate of Bang Bang Burrito, Matt has brought the hottest food trend of 2014 to Sidewinder and they now serve an exclusive Mexican themed menu from Monday – Saturday. But it wasn’t burrito’s I was after; this was all about what Matt can concoct on a Sunday and whether the roast dinners were truly worth the trek into Kemptown for.
By 2pm the beef had already sold out and with chicken, veggie and pork the remaining options, I opted for Pork Shoulder priced at a reasonable £10.50.
Complimentary bread and oils devoured, the roast dinner arrived on a deep, pristine white plate with a huge, doughy yet crisp Yorkshire pudding on top. Hidden underneath was a well cooked array of vegetables that included braised red cabbage, thick roasted carrots, crispy green beans and a mountain of large roast potatoes; crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
The pork shoulder serving was long and thick, sitting proudly atop the mountain of vegetables. Slightly over-done but became a glorious piece of meat as it fell apart toward the centre. The crackling could have done with a bit more crunch and a slug more gravy wouldn’t have gone a miss, but putting these niggles aside and taking into account the stream of roast dinners coming out the kitchen, a splendid roast was had.
Expect to find many oddities at Sidewinder to help your boozy afternoon or evening flow. An N64, a pull down screen showing sports and films, a vintage piano and a Dog of the Week board (yes, they’re dog friendly too) are all great touches to this Kemptown pub. Quiz nights and open mic posters adorn the walls and it seems that whatever the day of the week it is, both the grub and the atmosphere at Sidewinder is what brings in the crowds.
Fantastic atmosphere, great service and worth a visit, if not only to see what changes Hannah and Matt have brought to this renowned Kemptown boozer.
Originally printed in the Brighton and Hove Independent Newspaper 14/03/14