In my long and illustrious career of being an idiot, there’ve been many times where I’ve been stopped from doing something which I felt was within my rights. One incredibly drunken night I had an uncontrollable desire to go and eat Paella in Barcelona at 4am. This resulted in me jumping in a cab heading towards Gatwick Airport and then receiving a stern and sensible phone call telling me this was in fact not a good idea at all. How does this brief insight into my ridiculous life possibly link into a food review you wonder? Well the owners of new Brighton watering hole Cease and Desist originally, and I have to say very humorously, wanted to name it The Les Dennis Lounge. Les, who originally was onboard with their shenanigans, changed his mind and instructed his lawyers to send a (you’ve guessed it) cease and desist letter – and voila!
You’d think it would be a hard ask to live up to such a cool story, but Cease and Desist manages it by lending itself very much to the Brooklyn dive bar style of interior. Relaxed and eclectic it has table football and a Playstation – Do you want to get pissed and play Tekken for an ungodly amount of time? This is now going to be your Mecca. The menu although relatively small is perfectly judged. Being proponents of the ‘messy is good’ philosophy we went for fries with bacon and cheese (£6.50), a hotdog (£7) and chicken wings which are normally (£5/6) but as it was a Wednesday came in at a purse-friendly (£3). Surveying the brilliantly named drinks and cocktails we couldn’t resist ordering a couple of Gooch’s (£6) which are a fantastically refreshing mix of gin and hooch.
After figuring out exactly which part of a man’s body the gooch is (clue – it is probably the rude one you are thinking of) our nostrils were filled with gorgeous smells signalling the arrival of food. I barely got a taste of the cheese and bacon covered fries as my dining companion swiped handfuls of them quicker than you can say ‘Oi! Let me have some bloody fries’, but they had a wonderful amount of gooey cheese and a lovely smoky bacon kick. The hotdog was in a buttery and ever popular brioche bun, enhanced with rich beef-fat onions, tangy mustard and gherkins. The wings were an absolute knockout and insanely good value at their Wednesday three quid special, as you get nine huge ones slathered in sauce. I was initially sceptical of the peanut butter ones, as I’m really not a fan of the flavour of peanuts, but the creaminess was gorgeous. For those looking for something more traditional the buffalo sauce wings had a beautiful depth of flavour and the Jacks BBQ had a satisfying kick.
For dessert it’s deep fried Oreo cheesecake, which is as devilish, dirty and magnificent as it sounds. What is not to like about a crumbly, chocolatey base and luscious rich cheesecake encased in batter? I for one think that far more desserts should get this treatment. With happily full bellies we waddled out like a pair of content penguins. However, I know with certainty I’ll be back soon to thrash my friend at Tekken and stuff myself silly with wings at what is one of my new favourite places in Brighton.