Breaking bad. I’ve found it difficult, well to be honest near impossible, to think or talk about anything other than Breaking Bad recently. It’s not even the first time I’ve watched it…. I’ve seen every single episode before. I know more about Walter White than I do my own relatives; so it would take a lot to rip me away from my dysfunctional meth-cooking family. However a critic’s work is never done, so I shimmied my vitamin D deficient self down to the Anchor Bar on Edward Street to give their Mexican food and cocktails the once over.
Walking in the first thing that smacks you around the face is how incredibly cute the place is- we are talking newborn puppies opening their eyes for the first time levels of cuteness. Cosy and unpretentious the white walls, exposed brick and candles make it the perfect spot to escape the crowds piling towards the they’re-now-fashionable-because-they’re-so-crap Christmas jumpers. It feels like the Santa’s Grotto of the drinking world… a lovely warm and happy place to get a wee bit tipsy. I started with one of their cocktails, which are mostly classics re-named as local places and landmarks. I tried one of the ‘off-piste’ selections ‘Hove Park’, which is the brainchild of the beautiful owner Liz, and consists of Spiced Rum, Red Wine, Goldschlager, Orange Juice and Fresh Orange. Quite simply this couldn’t have tasted more warm and Christmassy unless it was accompanied by the Queen sitting on a bed of turkey and flanked by Rudolph. I also sampled the ‘Hove Lawns’, which was Raspberry Liquor, Prosecco and Fresh Lime and tasted fruity, refreshing and utterly gorgeous. Normally these lovely cocktails are £7 each, but on certain nights (usually over weekends) you can get two for the bargain sum of a tenner.
So after the very tricky task of lifting my drinks upto my mouth, I’d worked up a hunger and there’s not much that makes me hungrier than the mention of Mexican food. I ordered a plate of Chilli Beef Nachos to start (£7.95). These were, quite simply, the biggest most unctuous plate of nachos I’ve ever seen. To say they would satiate the hunger of at least three big guys would possibly be under-selling them. The veritable mountain of crisp, fresh tortilla chips, nestled among sour cream, guacamole, salsa and melted cheese were flanked by a beautiful heap of Chilli Con Carne. The Chilli was so perfectly spiced and succulent that I didn’t even care that I looked like a scavenger while dunking nacho after nacho into the tasty mound.
Feeling oh-so-content, but letting my greediness take over and wondering what awaited me next, I was happy to see the arrival of the Pulled Pork Baked Enchiladas (£7.50). Filled to bursting with tasty rice, onions, peppers, and a gorgeously big amount of pulled pork I was in Mexican heaven. The melted cheese enveloping the soft tortilla wrap encased the pulled pork in such a gentle and satisfying way that I nearly fell off my chair and did a little victory lap around the bar. It would be nice if Brighton was still the unique little snowflake it used to be, but increasingly the big chain pubs under the guise of being original, permeate its corners. The Anchor Bar is a genuinely cool, cosy and happy place to spend some time, and if you want a great cocktail and a massive plate of gorgeous Mexican food, then it has to be your next stop.
Anchor Bar can be found at 142-143 Edward Street, Brighton, BN2 0JG
Words by Lucy Hallett