As a lifelong resident of Brighton, I sometimes pull an involuntary grimace when I walk around certain parts of this vibrant and beautiful city. There’s a tiny bit of the beach that will forever remind me of the time I drunkenly tried to travel in a kid-sized dinghy to France. There are shops that remind me of spending my pocket money solely on Blackjacks and Beano magazines while leaving nothing for the things I was actually saving for, and there are venues that seem to merge together to create a decade of partying. Of these venues Audio, located on Marine Parade, was somewhere that I lost many a sweaty, drink-fuelled night of dancing to. Fast-forward more years than I care to mention and the club has undergone a well-publicised makeover and has been re-named Patterns. This re-brand has also caused a possible religious conversion as it is also now serving food upstairs. Drinks, food then the option of music all in one venue- it didn’t take a lot to persuade me to try it out.
Walking through the entrance it was nice to see that they had kept the outdoor seating plentiful as I have wiled away many a sunny day sitting with friends and remarking on the talent …ed bands that frequent the seafront! The most noticeable change when walking in was that the place felt incredibly spacious. It has been transformed into a venue for friends to gather, and this feeling was emphasised by the inclusion of table football, a large moving image photo booth and a rather suggestive looking giant hot dog that must have certainly been the focus of a selfie or ten. Perusing the hot dog-themed menu, The Dog Haus (see what they did there?) aren’t run-of-the-mill dogs that would have caused one of my involuntary grimaces, but gourmet, lean meat sausages of joy encased in the ever-popular brioche buns.
While it’s clear that the team behind the naming of the dogs have had a bit of fun with titles such as Acid Haus and The Hound Dog, the one thing they have in common is a tantalising description behind each one. I couldn’t resist the Hot Mess (£7) which promised a hot beef frank, topped with beef chilli, cheddar cheese, jalapeños, and sour cream. For those who like a boozy main, there’s the Acid Haus (£6.50) consisting of BBQ bourbon pulled pork and potato dog with guaranteed smiley faces. Signature Spiced Chips (£3) were my dining partner’s accompaniment, but feeling more than gluttonous I opted for the Chilli Chips (£4) to complement my dog. The food arrived promptly and looked fantastic. I knew I’d picked right when I saw the sheer length of the Hot Mess (a good four extra inches on the size of a normal dog) and my first bite left me knowing that I would finish the whole thing.
I can’t say that I had tried a beef frank before, but the undercurrent of spicy heat running through the juicy frank added a tasty and sophisticated dimension to what can be seen as a predictable meal. The abundance of fresh beef chilli slathered in sour cream and cheese made it feel as it there were two luscious meals side by side, rather than just one hearty dog with toppings. I wasn’t complaining as I relish meals not for the faint of heart. The chips were exactly as I like them – crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. I laughed slightly when I saw the size of the Chilli Chips, but I have no shame (OK, maybe a tiny bit of shame) in admitting I polished them off along with my dog, and more than a few bites of my partner’s meal. The Acid Haus had a much more subtle flavour, and certainly a less greedy size but packed in just as much taste. The pulled pork was succulent and dripped with rich bourbon, and the previously mentioned ‘guaranteed smiles’ came in the form of Potato Smiles – an absolute blast from the past!
Feeling the need to wash this all down with some cocktails we were offered 2-for-1 from a well-chosen menu. For me the Cosmic Rita (£7.70) with its El Jimador tequila, Cointreau, Agave syrup, fresh lime and cranberry was an obvious choice and I wasn’t at all disappointed. Presented in a cosmopolitan-style glass, but tasting like a smoky margarita, it cut through the richness of the meal perfectly. My dining partner was swayed by Curd Your Enthusiasm (£7.80), which paired whisky, Drambuie and lemon curd but tasted like a gorgeous explosion between a sweet shop and off license. It was so nice to eat and drink but still feel in the throng of it all. We had to leave, but I was tempted to stay longer as a band that had a very impressive sound check was just about to start. Combining a meal with a night out in one venue seems such an obviously good idea that I’m surprised it isn’t the norm. One thing is for certain, the next time I’m told I’m in The Dog Haus; I’ll start licking my lips.
Patterns 10 Marine Parade, BN2 1TL Brighton and Hove
Photo credit: Emma Harrel