Brighton Station as a food destination is usually hugely over-looked.
The Cyclist Refreshment Room
Brighton Station, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XP
01273 724 879
Unless you’re quite partial to an MandS meal deal or other convenience foods, Brighton Station as a food destination is usually hugely over-looked. But luckily, after a long remodel, this general public hub is starting to appeal to more than just commuters, travellers and train spotters.
Founded by Sussex company Greenwell and Tipple, whose former successes lie with the Geronimo Inn collective, The Cyclist Refreshment Room aims to introduce affordable, locally sourced, fresh, home-cooked food to train stations, viewing them as a gateway to an as yet, fairly untapped market.
And what a splendid idea.Why not rejuvenate stations into being the romantic place where people used to meet, converse, drink and date? Think Brief Encounter and you’re half way there. The Cyclist nods towards this black and white era with shoddy suitcases, rustic decor and copious amounts of charm.
The menu spans from breakfast and brunch options, to lunch bites and dinner plates. Affordability is prominent here with two eggs on toasted sourdough a mere £4 and a sausage or bacon sandwich also £4. Sharing boards - charcuterie, cheese or seafood - start at £12 and would make a great pre or post journey nibble, easily washed down with a bottle of red, white or rose. It’s worth noting that the alcohol menu is all- encompassing and it was great to see local craft ales from Brighton Bier and Longman Brewery.
The dinner menu originally started as small plates but has slowly evolved into larger, home- comfort food. Wild mushroom risotto, open fish-finger sandwich and sirloin steak featured alongside daily specials. We decided to opt for the Slow Braised Pork Shoulder with celeriac, apple and peas (£12), Macaroni Cheese (£8.50) with side orders of chips (£2.50) and broccoli with chilli and garlic (£3.50), washed down with a bottle of cherry tainted, earthy Spanish Merlot (£18).
Presented well on metallic, blue and white plates, the pork shoulder sat proud on a bed of apple, pureed celeriac and was surrounded by vibrant peas and greens. The shoulder was tender and didn’t carry too much fat, rendering the dish light and refreshing, especially when paired with the aforementioned vegetable selection. The apple did lack a punch and the celeriac could have easily been replaced with a more filling mashed potato, but it’s good to see The Cyclist toying with menu ideas and flavour combinations.
The Macaroni and Cheese was also welcomed at the metallic, broad table. Curls of pasta lay embedded in a rich and warming cheese sauce - home cooking and comfort food at its best.The broccoli retained a good bite to it, yet could have done with a touch more chilli and garlic to boost the flavour.
The portions left enough room for dessert, and I plumbed for the Lemon and Raspberry Crème Brûlée (£5.50), served with homemade shortbread biscuit. A neat and fruity pudding, this twist on a French classic was a great way to round off the meal.
The Cyclist isn’t reinventing the wheel with its menu, but what it does succeed in doing well is offering a welcome alternative from chain restaurants and convenience food.
Missed the next train? Pop into The Cyclist and experience Brighton Station in a way you haven’t before.
To read more by Claire Beveridge and the Places I Eat Brighton team, visit: www.placesieatbrighton.com.