If you have been huddled indoors since New Year, counting the pennies and cursing the weather, Valentine’s night is the perfect excuse to come out of hiding and treat yourself, and each other, to a special night.

There are plenty of options to tempt couples and parties alike and with some gorgeous set menus around to suit all budgets and tastes, there really is no excuse.  Besides, there is nothing like a pile of washing up to kill the mood, so why not leave that to someone else? 


Buckingham Place, Brighton 01273 885555

sevendialsAt the heart of trendy Seven Dials lies this stylish family-run restaurant serving contemporary European cuisine made from fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Sevendials has made quite a name for itself since it opened in 2001 receiving much critical acclaim and two AA rosettes, and featuring in the Good Food Guide and the Time Out Guide To Eating And Drinking.

For Valentine’s Day, they are serving an impressive five course set menu at £45 per person, (plus optional 12% service charge) with champagne on arrival and hand-made chocolates to round off the evening.

Starters include a warm carpaccio of local sea bass with sautéed wild mushrooms, baby herbs and a truffle oil vinaigrette, while for main course they are offering a roast loin of lamb with a black olive crust, fondant potato, basil purée and tomato jus.

Open daily noon to 3pm and 6pm to 10pm.



Western Road, Hove, 01273 2214412501454993_951f8fb2a8

Focusing on locally sourced ingredients and fresh produce and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Real Eating Company is the perfect place to start your Valentine’s Day or, indeed, to end it.

The breakfast menu features breakfast pancakes with fruit and maple syrup for £6.50 and ‘Eggs Royale’ – free range eggs with smoked salmon – priced at £8, and is served until 11.30am. 

In the evening they will be serving a special menu for £29 per person for three courses.

Starters include seared Rye Bay scallops served with cauliflower puree and crispy pancetta and for main course you could choose rack of lamb with anchovy and rosemary, potato and fennel al forno.

Open 9am to 11pm Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm Sunday and Monday



East Street, Brighton, 01273 729051

The brains behind award-winning vegetarian restaurant Terre a Terre, classically-trained chefs Amanda Powley and Philip Taylor, want to change the way we think about vegetarian restaurants.

They want to banish the idea that vegetarianism is about puritanical denial and introduce some experimental indulgence.

terre2Their Valentine’s menu, £33.50 per person for three courses plus coffee, does just that.  Their ‘Better Batter and Lemony Yemeni Relish’ is halloumi dipped in chip shop batter, served with vodka-spiked preserved plum tomatoes, fresh pea mint hash with pickled quails egg, sea salad tartar – a tangy sauce made with toasted seaweed, capers and cornichons – and chips, finished with the poetic-sounding lemony Yemeni relish.

For pudding, you could try their sugar spice dusted doughnut straws served with dipping chocolate and ‘Rain Vodka sozzled’ cherries. 

They also have a selection of gifts.  Their Valentine’s Hamper, priced at £66 includes a gift box of Pink Fluery Champagne, chocolate truffles, chocolate buttons, smoked sundried tomatoes and handmade jellies.

Open noon to 10.30pm Monday to Friday, noon to 11pm Saturday, noon to 9pm Sunday.



Rutland Road, Hove, 01273 748 595

If you are unattached, or a couple who want to escape the Valentine’s hype, then you could head to Poet’s Corner in Hove for the Ancient Mariner’s Anti-Valentine’s Night.

They are declaring themselves a safe-haven for singletons and will be defiantly serving their usual menu, including their popular mix-and-match sausage and mash.

Alternatives include rolled turkey leg stuffed with apple, bacon and walnut and served with root vegetable mash and meat gravy priced at £8.75, or feta, corn and coriander fritters served with a sweet red pepper and tomato salsa and a dressed leaf salad for £7.25.             

The fun kicks off at 7pm with an acidic anti-Valentine’s playlist.  Manager Sarah Walton said: “One or two slushy love songs might slip through the net, but certainly not enough to make you sick.”           

Open noon to 11.30pm Monday to Thursday, noon to 12.30pm Friday and Saturday, noon to 11pm Sunday.



If the credit crunch means the cost of a night on the town has you breaking out in a cold sweat, or you simply don’t fancy fighting for a table and a cab on a Saturday night, then this is your ultimate guide to the perfect romantic night in.

Once upon a time, staying in for a Valentine’s meal meant half a day of sweating over a hot stove, guaranteed to leave you feeling rather less than romantic.  Nowadays Brighton has plenty of options for lazy Lotharios or savvy seductresses.  No cooking required. 


Cobden Road, Brighton, www.in2night.com, 01273 695178 or 07901 844328

in2nightIn2night is the brainchild of Julian Clark and Jan Dupree, a Hanover couple who prepare fresh, home-cooked meals for takeaway or home delivery within three miles of Brighton Pier. 

All food comes from local suppliers.  Meat is supplied by Archers organic butcher in Hanover and all fruit and vegetables come from Mears at the Open Market on London Road. 

Meals can be delivered hot and ready to eat or prepared and frozen allowing you to cook them yourself with minimum fuss and, if you are feeling sneaky, maximum credit.  Delivery is free for orders over £15, or £1 otherwise.

Valentine’s specials include a lobster bisque to start, home-cooked beef wellington or seared tuna with grated ginger and chive for main course and, to finish, a chocolate pecan tart or champagne and rhubarb cheesecake with a strawberry and rhubarb compote.  Argus readers can also claim a free bottle of house wine with all orders over £25 on Saturday.  To claim, just mention the Argus.

They can also provide DVD rental (see website), drinks, including wine and locally brewed Sunburst Ale, and even games for £3.50 plus £10 deposit.  Anyone for Twister?

Open 6pm – 9pm Sunday to Thursday, 5.30pm to 9:30pm Friday & Saturday.



www.dinner2go.co.uk, 01273 608526 or 0845 880 4040 (local rate).

Dinner2go is a delivery service that brings restaurant food to your home. 

The website lists an impressive number of local restaurants, from Al Duomo to Zamdani, as members, but if your favourite is not there, they can usually still arrange to pick your meals up if you know what you want.

Delivery charges start at £3.50 and vary according to your postcode (a list is available on their website) but if you are fairly close to town it is likely to be cheaper than a cab home.

They will also deliver groceries, snacks and desserts as well as incorporating an off- licence delivery service.  You need never leave the house again.

Open 5pm to 11pm Monday to Friday, 11am to 11pm Saturday, noon to 10.30pm Sunday.



Kings Road Arches, Brighton 01273 821218

due_south_bvp1Seafront restaurant Due South has been winning awards, popularity and critical acclaim since it opened in Autumn 2003. 

Their passion for local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients has been an undeniable hit.

If you are one of the restaurant’s many fans, but would prefer not to brave the cold, never fear.  They are now offering an outside catering service for anything from romantic meals for two to corporate events and weddings.

They provide a fully bespoke service, allowing customers to choose the type of occasion they would like and can provide everything from the waiting staff to the tablecloths if required.  Plus, of course, that award-winning food.

Restaurant open noon to 3.30pm and 6pm to 9.30pm Monday to Saturday, noon to 4.45pm Sunday.  Catering service on arrangement.



Upstairs at Three and Ten, Steine Street, Brighton, Saturday February 14

terry_saunders_sun1_jpg_displayTerry Saunders hosts a night of comedy and chat based on his ‘Sitting on a Rug’ format, in which a line-up of comedians gather onstage to share jokes and anecdotes.

The audience will not be seated on rugs. Nor, it is hoped, will they be snogging.

But if you like your comedy cosy, Saunders and friends invite you to “wrap yourselves in a blanket of mirth” for this Valentine’s special.

Starts 8pm, tickets £7/£5. Call 07786 984900 or book online at www.otherplaceproductions.co.uk.


Theatre Royal, New Road, Brighton, Monday February 16 to Saturday February 21

Long-running Broadway production Little Shop of Horrors sings and dances its way into the Theatre Royal next week.

Starring Clare Buckfield, Alex Ferns and former Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy, it tells the story of hapless florist’s assistant Seymour, who unwittingly aids man-eating plant Audrey II towards global domination in exchange for promises of fame, fortune and love.

With score by the song writing team of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, this spoof sci-fi sensation is fun for the whole family.


7.45pm, matinees Thursday and Saturday 2.30pm. Tickets £19 to £32. Call 01273 764400 or book online at www.ambassadortickets.com.


Komedia, Gardner Street, Brighton, Tuesday and Wednesday tour_09

Comedian Mark Watson has never been one for taking it easy.

He has broken records at the Edinburgh Festival with his 24- and 36-hour shows. Since then, he has acquired a fair amount of fame, thanks to appearances on BBC2’s Mock the Week and Dave’s Argumental, as well as his cult Radio 4 show Mark Watson Makes the World Substantially Better. But that is not to say he is resting on his laurels.

Last year he completed a 100-date tour of Australia and New Zealand, winning Best Show at the Adelaide and Sydney Comedy Festivals along the way, trained under Al Gore as a Climate lecturer and wrote a book called Crap at the Environment.

This show sees Watson trying to make sense of his whirlwind life and career in his fast-talking yet endearingly bemused way.

Starts 8pm, tickets £14. Call 0845 293 8480 or order online at www.komediabrighton.ticketsolve.com.


Pavilion Theatre, New Road, Brighton, Thursday February 19 to Sunday March 1

missjason1Featuring a host of popular drag acts and top male NRG dance recording artist Jason Prince, Brighton’s alternative panto is returning to the Pavilion Theatre for the seventh year running.

Brighten up February by recapturing some of that seasonal glamour with Brian Ralfe’s unique all-singing, all-dancing take on the classic fairy-tale. But leave the kids at home – this one is definitely adults only.

A collection for HIV care centre charity The Sussex Beacon will take place after the show.

Shows at 5pm and 8pm (no shows on February 23, no 5pm show on February 19 or 25). Tickets £16. Call 01273 709709.


Ink_d Gallery, North Road, Brighton, until February 28.

Ink_d is kicking off 2009 with Life, Death and Other Colours, an exhibition of painting, interior design and limited edition prints from Brighton multimedia artist Ben Allen.

Allen describes his influences as “comic book art, Japanese graphics, typography, physical communication, nature and the human condition.” The result is an energetic blend of punk and Pop Art.

The exhibition continues upstairs, where visitors are encouraged to relax in Allen’s boudoir installation, showcasing his quirky and colourful interior design collection.

Describing the creative process, Allen said: “My work is representative of taking layers of time, recreating something that you can’t have control over, but in a controlled manner. I take all the pieces and make my own world.”


Open from 10am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday. Visit http://www.ink-d.co.uk for more details.


Pavilion Theatre, New Road, Brighton, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

stephenclark1Aspiring West-End stars can head to the Pavilion Theatre this weekend for a chance to create and star in their own production.

Beginners and seasoned performers alike can put themselves in the capable hands of Olivier Award-winning playwright and director Stephen Clark and movement and improvisation tutor Debra Stych, from the London International School of Performing Arts.

The workshop, which will be based on the theme ‘in the pub’, culminates in a performance of the production on Sunday night at the same venue.

Workshop: Friday 6pm to 10pm, Saturday 10am to 10pm, Sunday 10am to 6pm, tickets £40 (Adults 15+). Performance: Sunday 7pm (doors 6.15pm), entrance £3. Call 01273 709709.

X-Factor rock chick Ruth Lorenzo will be strutting her stuff at Revenge nightclub, Brighton, this Friday.


ruth-lorenzo51For the first three weeks in December, whoever is voted out of the hit ITV talent show each Saturday will perform the following Friday at the town centre hotspot.


With X-Factor viewing figures topping ten million every Saturday and plenty of controversy, Revenge Manager Andrew Roberts knows he is on to a winner.


He said: “With all the shenanigans that have gone on and all the fireworks, it’s even more high profile than it has been in previous years.  Since it’s been on I’ve noticed that people aren’t coming out until after the results show.  About 20 minutes after it finishes, the bar suddenly fills up.


 “It is the third year of doing this at the club, but we’ve never had such a full programme.  Last year we had Same Difference and the year before, Eaton Road, and we’ve developed a relationship with the X-Factor.”


Each act will follow cabaret drag performers The Lollipop Girls, and will sing at least four songs from the show, including the No 1 hit Hero.  Fans will then get a chance to meet them and have their photo taken with their idols in return for a donation to local AIDS charities.


Roberts has his fingers crossed that boy band JLS are booted from the show, so they perform at the club. “I want JLS,” he said.  “And the word on the street is that it looks like they might be out before the final.


“It’s funny, the feedback at the club is that girls seem to want to see Ruth and all the boys want JLS.”


According to the bookies, Roberts may be in luck, with JLS currently long shots to win, with some offering odds of 9:1.  Alexandra Burke has overtaken Diana Vickers as the favourite after receiving a standing ovation from both the audience and the judges for her rendition of Beyonce’s Listen in what Simon Cowell described as “the performance of the series”.


In this week’s semi-final, contestants will again sing two songs each, but this time one will be chosen by their mentors, one by themselves.  The decision as to who is out again rests solely with the public vote.


X-Factor Fridays will be happening at Revenge on the Old Steine on December 5th, 12th and 19th, with the runner up performing in the New Year.  Doors open at 10.30pm with the finalists taking to the stage at about 1am.


Roberts advises getting there early, though, as advance tickets are not available; entry is on a first come first served basis.  “If past experience is anything to go by, we should be seeing queues round the block,” he said. 



Former Gamesmaster to play the ‘Voice of God’.


skyatnight_moore2Britain’s favourite stargazer, Sir Patrick Moore, is to ‘star’ in the musical Little Shop of Horrors this week.


The veteran astronomer will play the ‘Voice of God’ in the Brighton-based City Theatre Company’s production at the Barn Theatre, Southwick.   


The show tells the story of down-and-out florist’s assistant Seymour who becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a craving for fresh blood.


In CTC’s version of the musical, the ‘Voice of God’ is a 1950s newsreader mysteriously appearing on a television dumped in a trash can.   


Sir Patrick, 85, will not appear on stage in person each night.  Instead his part has already been filmed in the study at his home in Selsey, from which he broadcasts the long-running BBC favourite The Sky at Night.


He said:  “I love the stage.  I’ve been on it more times than I care to count, but I’m not very mobile these days.  If I was, I’d probably be out there rehearsing for the local pantomime as we speak.  As it was, the company had to come to me.”


The director of the show, Andy Stoner, said it was brilliant to be able to secure the performance.  “Patrick Moore kept popping into my head for some reason as the person I’d like the character to look and sound like,” he said.


“I thought I’d chance my arm and write to him to see if he’d do it and lo and behold he rang me up at work.  I was really taken aback at first, because he has one of those voices that you know who he is instantaneously.


“I was a bit worried when we got there because he’d lost the script I sent him, so I thought we’d be hanging around for ages while he learned his part. But he got the script, read it for about a minute, chatted to me for a while and then we filmed it and it was perfect first time.  He’s absolutely amazing – so professional.”


Sir Patrick has not yet seen the results of his performance.  Stoner said:   “He’s coming to see the show.  I hope he’s happy with his performance.  I’m sure he will be – we certainly are.”


Sir Patrick will appear alongside the other star of the show, Audrey II, the plant the company are making from scratch.  There will, in fact, be four Audrey puppets of different sizes to represent the plant growing to outrageous proportions.  They range from the smallest, a hand puppet, to the fourth, which is huge and has six people operating it, with two people dressed as roots crawling out at the bottom. 


Stoner said:  “It’s a big risk designing them ourselves but we’re all really pleased with the way they’ve turned out.  We’ve really tried to inject some personality into them.  They look as though they could really eat somebody.”


Audrey II and Sir Patrick Moore can be seen at the Barn Theatre, Southwick from 25th to 29th November.  Tickets are available from the Barn box office, tel: 01273 592 819.

Brighton boys do The Full Monty

montyjamieBrighton bobby Jamie Collins will be baring all on-stage at the Theatre Royal this week in The Full Monty, with his boss looking on from the royal box.


Jamie, who is based at Brighton police station, plays the lead character, Jerry Lukowski, in the Brighton Theatre Group’s production of the all-singing, all-dancing Broadway version of the 1997 hit British film.  As a policeman, he initially had a few concerns about the effect his indecent exposure might have on his career.


Jamie said: “I was really worried about it to begin with. When I was first offered the part I had to square it with my supervisors, but it’s not as though I’m taking my policeman’s uniform off in a pub on a Friday night and degrading the police force.  It’s theatre.


“All the guys at work have done since they found out about it is rib me.  They keep asking whether I’m really taking my kit off.”


Jamie is expecting about 80 of his colleagues, including his Chief Constable, to come along on Saturday night, so they can find out for themselves.


The show tells the story of six unemployed steel workers from Buffalo with varying financial and personal reasons to turn to stripping.  They each have issues and hang-ups to overcome along the way but, as Director Michael Burnie points out, there was no room for any such bashfulness from the cast.


“We needed to know we had a group of boys together that would do it.  The last thing we wanted was someone backing out at the last minute,” he said.  “Upfront, at the auditions, we were really clear that they have to do the naked scene at the end and they have to do it for real, but they’re all very comfortable with it.”


For some of the actors, it is more nerve-wracking than for others.  Micklos Richardson-Hodge, who plays Noah ‘Horse’ Simmons, has never performed in a show before. 


The group were struggling to cast the character – an aging black man with a flair for dancing – when the director spotted Micklos, whose look was right for the part, working as a security guard in a department store and approached him.  As luck would have it, Micklos turned out to be a talented singer and dancer and sailed through his audition, despite almost turning away at the door.  He said he’s now very glad he went for it.


“I was spotted at work while patrolling the lingerie department of M&S,” Micklos said with a chuckle.  “I’ve done a bit of dancing before and I run a karaoke night, but that’s it.  I’ve never done a show before. Mind you, I love the limelight.  I’m just keeping my fingers crossed I won’t get stage fright.


“I’ve always wanted to do something like this, but at 44 I thought, ‘That’s it, I’m past it.’  But who knows?  Broadway here I come.”montystrippers1

The boys will be going all the way at the Theatre Royal Brighton from November 11th to 15th 2008.  Tickets are available from the box office, tel: 08700 606 650.