A home-from-home for anyone looking for a bistro experience with a boho twist, Kooks has recently opened its doors to Brighton’s finest and I couldn’t wait to get myself a table.
Quirky yet inviting, Kooks sets itself up for a great first impression. Tucked into the corner of Gardner Street, the restaurant’s bright yellow sign signals a welcome reprieve for tired shoppers and excited diners alike. Once inside, you’ll find the front of the restaurant serves as a bar area for those just stopping by for a drink, whilst the back offers plenty of seating for parties of all sizes. We settled into a table close to the bar, drawn in by the homely wooden panelling and yellow tea lights which add an extra touch of warmth. From here we had a great view of the goings-on in the bar and were also able to admire the inventive chalk art and old vinyl covers from the likes of the Manic Street Preachers and Primal Scream, which are scattered across the walls at the back.
The Food and Drink
If there’s one thing to be said for Kooks, the food menu won’t disappoint; with flavours from across the globe and mighty pub classics in equal measure, there’s something to satisfy every craving. My friend and I spent at least 15 minutes scouring the menu, before settling on the Thai-style fish bites (£6) and the roasted sweet peppers (£5) to start, which were swiftly followed by the Indian style chicken thighs (£13) and the pan fried sea bass on noodles (£16). The Thai style fish bites were particularly delicious (safe to say the third bite was fought over) and of the mains the sea bass stuck out as the one to watch- the egg noodles were the ideal accompaniment to the perfectly cooked sea bass, whilst the splash of chilli ensured the dish packed an extra punch. As we all know, it’s rude to say no to dessert, so we managed to find space for the chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream (£6.50), which arrived with a shot of Toblerone Baileys – what more could you ask for?
As for drinks, we were rather unadventurous in our choice of the Picpoul Sauvignon (which was delightful nonetheless) despite being spoilt for choice by an extensive range of cocktails. Ranging from £6-8.50, the selection is both affordable and original; Bacon Bloody Mary anyone?
Although we chose to visit on a quiet Tuesday night, atmosphere-wise Kooks delivered on every front. Sweet sounds of the soft rock playlist emphasised the natural buzz, which was helped by those who’d stopped by for a couple of drinks at the bar. Overall the clientele was quite young, but I can’t see any reason as to why a slightly older audience wouldn’t love it as much as we did. On a similar note, Kooks could work well as a destination for families with young children, although with only one food option for under 12s, it might not be your first choice. Praise must also be given to the exceptionally attentive staff; friendly and more than happy to provide recommendations, they were a mirror image of Kooks’ relaxed and welcoming vibe.
So, if you’re looking to stray from the beaten track of samey chains in your search for good food, but don’t want to find your bank balance getting completely lost, consider Kooks your slightly quirky best friend who always carries a map. In other words, Kooks is great. Go, go now!