Review – Verano Lounge
Verano Lounge on Western Road is the third cafe to open in Brighton and Hove from the Loungers group. Set up in 2002 by three friends, the business is a fairytale come true as the Loungers continue to grow steadily, opening numerous branches of their neighbourhood cafe-bars across the UK. With Alcampo Lounge on London Road opening a mere few weeks ago and Modelo Lounge on Church Road bustling, I was interested to see what Verano Lounge had to offer.
The minute you walk into Verano, you can tell they have got the feel of the place just right. Even on opening night, the place felt cosy, warm and lived in. I overheard someone say it’s “like a posh living room”, something I completely agree with. Nailing the atmosphere is crucial and will ensure this cafe is both full and busy. The decor is similar in each of the Loungers cafe’s; big mirrors, framed prints and faux vintage lamp shades. Yet Verano, with its lovely glass domes upstairs and smaller size, easily maintains its own identity.
With the decor being top notch and the atmosphere enjoyable, the question on everyone’s lips was ‘would the food be any good?’
The tapas came from a large menu, which also included all day breakfasts, sandwiches, main meals and burgers. Serving the tapas in neat little terracotta pots gave an authentic feel and we were treated to Spanish chorizo in red wine and garlic and pan-fried halloumi with courgettes and peppers with rose harissa dressing plus bread and aioli.
The main tapas dishes all rather insipid and could have done with a serious jump in quality. However, the bread was good and we also tried the pulled pork, which was delicious. The menu also included Jalapeño mushrooms; surely thought up after a few beers!
I ventured back the following day for a burger which was decent enough. Although my feeling is that maybe the owners need to pare the menu down a bit and ensure for high quality not quantity?
With ambience being spot on and a great night had by all, a refinement of the menu would go a long way for this much needed central cafe. “Central Perk” from Friends popped in to my head when I was I there and I can see Verano being full morning, noon and night of friends, couples and families enjoying the varied menu.
Words + images by Sam Redfern.
Sam attended the press launch of Verano Lounge. His meal and drinks were not charged.