Review – The Gladstone
The Gladstone is a very student-ey drinking establishment along Lewes Road. When the chance to review ‘The Big Yellow Pub’s’ (as it’s affectionately known) new BBQ food menu by Adrian Geddes, former Head Chef at The Cow, being the meat lover I am, I jumped at the chance.
A few of the Lewes Road pubs have adopted new chefs lately, and we’re starting to see this area wake up to the potential that that London Road revamp has enjoyed. The Gladstone is still a fairly new venture for Adrian, and he tells me that they are developing the branding with new menus and signage expected soon.
For now however, The Gladstone doesn’t look like the kind of place I expect to serve food. It’s more like a place I expect to down as many snakebites as possible and sway around to my mates new band at. Fake flowers sprout eccentrically from the light fittings and it’s quite a dark and empty place without the local university population in town.
We sit down in a back room, empty but for us, and check out the menu, which is produced under the name The Union Grill. Salivating at the array of burgers, ribs and deep fried sides, the menu presents a lot of choice but still has a clear sense of identity.
I order the Blue and Bacon Burger (£8.50) whilst my BBQ buddy goes for the pork ribs (£10.95). As burgers do not come with fries I also order the Swine Fries (£5.25) and a side of fat onion rings (£2.50) and I find the idea of the cutely named Frickles (£2.50) too irresistible to ignore.
The frickles are slices of crunchy pickle, deep fried in a light batter. Incredibley more-ish, I enjoyed munching through these, and the accompanying spicy paprika mayonnaise had a really intense kick to it.
The crispy onion rings are of the big and chunky variety, making them ideal bar snacks on their own. The swine fries sit under dollops of tasty pulled pork, melted cheddar and sliced jalepenos. A tangy dry slaw on the side cuts through some of the rich heaviness of the cheese and meat.
The burger has a well cooked patty in a soft bun, with melted, rich blue cheese, chewy bacon and a sweet bacon jam offset by tangy mustard. I would have liked to have had more lettuce and maybe some more bits on the side (a big pickle perhaps) as I look enviously on at my dining mates stack of ribs and other trimmings. Her meal comes with a side of fries, a dipping sauce, a pickle, a pile of the coleslaw and two slices of jalepeno bread. #foodenvy
I settle for swiping a tender rib slathered in a tasty BBQ sauce. I try some of the jalepeno bread too but find that a little dry.
It’s fair to say that if you are expecting a restaurant type venue with slick waiting staff this is not the place for you. The Gladstone is a laid back kind of joint where you order at the bar and pick up your own cutlery. Probably a lot of people would find it a bit too rough and ready for them, whilst others will love it all the more for this. For me this is the kind of place you go to with a bunch of mates, down some pints and line your stomach with some hearty, beefy food offerings that go beyond your average pub grub.
There’s some really tough competition when it comes to BBQ food in Brighton and there are a few tweaks here and there that The Union Grill can make to improve. Adrian seems to be on the case. Personally, I will revisit and look forward to seeing how The Union Grill develops.
The Gladstone, 123 Lewes Rd, Brighton, East Sussex BN2 3QB – 01273 62088
Laura’s food was complimentary, courtesy of Adrian and The Gladstone.