Situated in Brighton central train station, is a hidden treasure everyone should know about. Behind the ticket machines on the left hand side of the station, looking out to the sea is the 8 month old, hybrid bar, cafe and restaurant, The Cyclist.
As soon as you walk in the front door, you instantly start smiling. The decor is light and bright, scattered with quirky items ranging from the counter being made out of vintage suitcases, to a ceiling high shelf immediately on your right filled with massive dice, dog statues and lights made out of old tins. The floors are wooden and true to its name, a vintage cycle overlooks the entrance to the kitchen.
Straight away you realise from the open plan that it's a large venue, absolutely perfect for lunch or dinner parties but also a great venue to hold meetings in. The only problem being you would need to have enough time to join the long queue for one of their amazing coffees. Usually it's a good idea to pick one part of the hospo industry and do it well. They decided to attack it head on and got all three areas nailed down too a tee.
I was expecting the clientele to be mainly tourist types waiting to catch the train back out, but I was definitely wrong. There was a nice mix of people from Brighton, happily trekking up the hill to indulge in one of their amazing menus, and tourists talking about the favourite part of their time spent in Brighton.
The Food and Drink
They have named themselves The Cyclist - Refreshment Rooms for a reason, and the latter note is bang on. Their menu isn't filled with heavy meals, but amazingly tasty and well thought out dishes. Boasting locally sourced and grown produce, I was torn between the mussels and chips, Thai salmon fish cakes or the fish and chips. Being from New Zealand and being next to the sea, I had to go for the beer battered fish and chips. The fish was so fresh it crumbled when my knife hit it, and with a coating of the homemade tartar sauce. Every mouthful was a pleasure. I then treated myself to the best Bread and Butter pudding I have tried, sorry mum. Absolutely incredible. The dinner menu changes nightly, depending on what produce they can source but you won't be disappointed. Main lunch and dinner meals vary between £6-9; absolute value for money.
The last part of the experience is the drinks. Boasting a wine cellar that touches the roof and a number of craft beers and traditional beers on tap. Following the laid back atmosphere of The Cyclist, they don't try an over do the cocktails, with 3 on the menu that again rotate daily. A much welcome surprise though is the £7 price tag next to each one. They also have a large selection of top quality spirits for after a hard day or night cap.
My time at The Cyclist was a pleasure and with the friendly staff visibly enjoying themselves, I left with a big smile on my face. I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting quality food, drinks or coffee, needing time to kill before heading back out of Brighton, or more importantly the locals in town. It's well worth the walk up the hill.