“You don’t know what you’re missing”...until you’ve been to Nowhere Man!
I have lived in Brighton for around 18 months now, and there have been many food places that I have seen online or walking through the Lanes where I’ve caught myself saying, “oooh, I must try that place out!” With this being the day after pancake day, it was the perfect time to make a trip to Nowhere Man, where that particular treat is one of their specialities.
I discovered Nowhere Man via Instagram, and instantly became obsessed with their grid of fluffy pancakes, topped with a selection of chocolate chips, bacon, syrup, berries, banana or cream – or all of the above! Rarely do I find myself pausing on social media to really appreciate a food shot, but it’s hard not to stare at these mesmerising stacks without drooling or feeling the rumble of your stomach.
I am one of those people who likes to scan a menu before turning up to a venue. I am so indecisive I need to know exactly what I am getting myself in for. Whilst reading the menu, I amused myself playing the game of matching the Instagram pictures to the titles of pancake stacks: All American Dream, Chocolate Banana, and Strawberries and Cream amongst the options. Every combination sounded like an absolute dream and with the choice to go vegan or gluten-free, plus a long list of extra toppings to build onto each masterpiece, there really is something to suit all pancake lovers.
The morning was damp and drizzly, and I turned up to Nowhere Man with an umbrella underarm. It’s tucked behind Churchill Square, and without the guidance of social media, I honestly would have had no idea that it was there. ‘Nowhere Man’ is an appropriate name because, compared to the hustle of the Lanes or busy North Street, it really does seem like a random ‘nowhere’ spot. But the name refers, of course, to a song by The Beatles and stepping inside the store, away from the miserable weather, was a warm splash of retro comfort. With plants everywhere, a colour scheme of beige and brown, vintage posters on the wall, and a suitably funky playlist, it was like looking through the lens of an old camcorder at a time before my own.
I waited with a friend for a member of staff to spot us by the door, and we were welcomed by a smiling face before being pointed towards a table near the large front window. We were sitting on sofas with a coffee table between us – just one configuration of the café’s discombobulation of leather and wood furniture, with moody shades of faded burgundy complementing the plush yellow cushions. There was a real cosy and homely vibe to the whole place. I loved the super fun and personal touches such as a cactus wearing a sombrero on the shelf, and a mini yeti hanging in the tree beside my seat.
We were handed menus, listed with food choices that I had already become familiar with from stalking their Instagram page. We ummed and ahhed over the drinks options, and while I went for a tap water, my friend ordered a hot chocolate, which was completed with a steamed heart and a sprinkling of chocolate powder. For the pancakes, we chose the Raspberry and White Chocolate and The American Dream with its bacon, scrambled eggs, blueberry compote and whipped cream, both served with a jug of butter syrup on the side. They also have a menu full of bagels and sandwiches for those who have more of a savoury tooth, with chicken and avocado, pastrami, and halloumi amongst the fillings – combinations just as appealing as the sweet pancake choices. I have made a vow to return especially for one of those bagels and a banana and peanut butter milkshake.
While we were waiting for our pancakes, our conversation overlapped with the noise of coffee being ground, and songs such as “Young Hearts Run Free” playing in the background. The staff sang along as they made coffees and cleared empty cups, their flares swaying. (There was actually a sign that said you get a 10% discount if you’re wearing flares!)
Then the pancakes were placed on our table, and they looked unbelievable – like a sculpture of a pancake stack instead of the real thing. They looked ridiculously soft, the sprinkling of icing sugar adding to the cloud aesthetic, and when we sliced through them the knife sank in like it was cutting into a pile of feathers. Just to further add to our joy and appreciation, the crockery matched the retro decor of the furniture.
First we tucked into the American Dream stack. The eggs were deliciously creamy, the overall combination of sweet and savoury just right, and the blueberry compote not too sickly. As for the pancakes themself, they were perfectly light and far from dry even without a pouring of butter syrup. The Raspberry and White Chocolate pancakes were just as delicious. With a sprinkling of pistachio for textural points, the combination of flavours was everything I wanted it to be. Each portion came with three pancakes, and the balance of pancake to topping was ideal to fill me up without making me feel overly stuffed. Any more compote and I would have started to look like Violet Beauregarde; any more white chocolate and I would have begun to embody Augustus Gloop.
Once our plates were empty, we took some time to let our feast digest, and to savour the relaxed atmosphere of the café. There is wifi for people who want to work, and a garden outside for those who like to enjoy their pancakes in the sun. Nowhere Man is more than a café, it’s a whole experience – a step back in time with amazing food that perfectly complements this comfortable spot. With extremely pleasant staff and decor that is guaranteed to make you smile, I could not recommend Nowhere Man enough. I already cannot wait to make a return and while pancakes in the sun would be fun, Nowhere Man is warm enough to brighten your day whatever the weather.
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