Summer is finally here! And now it’s gone. Wait, now it’s back! Hang on, now it’s… Well, you get the gist. Inconsistency is ironically the most predictable element of this season. The irritation of leaving the house in shorts and a t-shirt while having to pack a rucksack with wellies is just par for the course when navigating the British weather system.
As a food writer, you should sit down to every review with an open mind and no presumptions – but my word is it hard to relax when you dressed for Club Tropicana and the journey was more El Niño.
Stumbling into Idle Hands, my agitation immediately subsided. The pub has a Victorian charisma that oozes character.
Its wooden flooring and green walls adorned with pictures, craft beer cans, mirrors, and a stack of previous pump-clips, are perfect companions to the vast array of tipples on offer.
And with the new kitchen, Dirty Mac are offering an array of mouth-watering bites and comfort foods – it looks like I’ve stumbled well!
Seated as a group, we got straight into the menu and picked out whatever took our fancy, plus an extra to share. This way no one gets envious of the other’s eats. I know I always do!
Among us, we ordered up a storm treating ourselves to different types of Mac and Cheese and sides – a treat for the weather-beaten. I went for the Mad Macs (£8), topped with chorizo and caramelised onions. Bursting with brie, it was comfort food at its finest – I barely got to touch the curly fries before my friends devoured them.
The others went for Cluck-a-doodle Blue (£8) which was a filling Mac and cheese concoction of Buffalo Chicken, pancetta, blue cheese and a dash of Frank’s hot sauce. Spicy but not overpowering, the cheese sauce and pasta were deliciously indulgent with bold flavours fighting for space on my already primed tongue.
The arrival of Loaded Fries (£7), covered in signature cheese sauce, chili con carne, jalapeños and salsa sent the table into a frenzy until we realised there was enough to satiate us the lot of us. For an extra £3 (as an offer add-on), you can incur more arguments among hungry friends by grabbing the homemade Jerk Chicken, which unlike my outfit is perfectly seasoned.
After chatting to the delightful bar staff, we went all out and threw some Jalapeño Poppers (£5) into the mix. For anyone unacquainted with these mouth-tingling globes of unadulterated joy, they’re fried breaded jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese that burst on dental impact, spreading spicy juices into a mouth that can be only be placated by the calming dip of the restaurant’s homemade blue cheese sauce.
At bursting point, there was not much room for more; but there’s always room for research. After once again quizzing the delightful bar staff, next time I’ll be trying their signature Vienna style beef hot dogs., or perhaps their vegan options. I’m intrigued, as the vegan menu is a facsimile of what we had but with extra vegetable goodness. With vegan beef chili, vegan cheese sauce and myriad toppings, this place makes sure that anyone who pulls up a pew will be very well catered for.
Dirty Mac at Idle Hands, 59 Queens Rd, Brighton BN1 3XD