On Saturday the weather looked rather too windy and wet for a cycle ride, so we ditched that idea and set off for a day in Brighton instead. Geoff found a place on TripAdvisor for us to eat at which was number one and called ThewitchEZ Photo Design Café Bar, which is close to the pier and opposite the big wheel. On the way to Brighton we usually stop along the way in Arundel and enjoy a cake and a coffee either at Belindas or The loft at Sparks Yard, both on Tarrant Street. Time was getting on though, so we had to do without a stop this time.
We saw some great colourful graffiti along the way. This one is of the Brighton naked bike ride.
The entrance to TheWitchEZ café is down a few steps where there is a little patio with a couple of tables and umbrellas to sit outside on a nice day. This was not one of those days. The wind was blowing a hooley by the seafront.
Opening hours are rather sporadic. We presumed the café would be open all day, but in fact it opens around 2.30, sometimes 3.30pm. It’s best to give them a call to check if you’re aiming on arriving around those times or drop them an email. We called and left a message and they did return our call. It’s a licensed café and open until late in the evening. It’s a good idea to book a table as it’s not terribly large.
On entering we were greeted by the very friendly owners and took a seat at a brightly coloured table by the counter. Inside there are lots of photos, many of which are black & white, of dogs, families, people, babies etc., The owners are graphic designers who used to work in London in a windowless basement. Meeting clients and customers in cafés they dreamed of opening up their own place incorporating the two. They struck lucky and found this premises, moved to Brighton and opened ThewitchEZ café in January this year. (I hope I have that information correct, forgive me if I’m wrong).
They have a little corner of the café set up as a photo studio where they can also do passport photos and a range of gift ideas such as photos on bags, mugs, pillows etc., you name it they can probably do it. Also web design. Whilst we were there they were using the blank studio wall to project an old black & white silent film of Sherlock Holmes, or something similar. In the background was some light music, nothing I recognised apart from one track, but all very pleasant and easy to listen to and not too loud either. Free wifi too.
While perusing the menu one of the ladies sat down with us to explain a couple of items to us, what the ingredients were, how it was cooked etc., The owners are Polish and as we’ve never been to Poland, nor to a Polish restaurant before, we wanted to try something a little different. Lots of the dishes are what they would eat back home, some changed very slightly.
Geoff had the soup of the day
witch which was beetroot soup containing two large Polish dumplings, filled with onion, sour cabbage (sauerkraut) and mushrooms. The soup was a lovely colour and served warm. It really was very tasty. On asking if this is what they would eat back home in Poland, the answer was yes, most common on Christmas Day. Some families have different adaptations of it, with crackling and mashed potato instead of dumplings.
My starter was ‘An Autumn Leaf’. It consisted of three mushrooms placed in a row, with a long thin piece of courgette curled around some soft herb cheese and placed in the mushroom, a little like a stalk and topped off with a basil leaf in each plus some pine nuts.
On one side of the trio of mushrooms was a red pepper pesto sauce and the other green pesto, this made it look like an autumn leaf and was very pretty and sprinkled with pine nuts. I must say it tasted truly delicious.
We were supposed to share our main meal, but Geoff liked his so much he only gave me a taste and kept the rest for himself – the meanie genie. He had the Hungarian Lecso pronounced ‘letcho’. This was a stew of mixed peppers, bacon and polish sausage, served with white polish bread. It was excellent. It seemed to have ‘many different flavours’ Geoff said. This again is a dish they would eat back home, but perhaps with a little less spice than their mothers recipe.
My meal was very nice too but I wish I’d had more of the Lecso as it was so good. My lamb was very tasty too though. It was tender and had been marinated in olive oil, paprika, thyme, rosemary and garlic. This was served with lemon and coriander couscous, pan-fried aubergines and red peppers.
We were quite full after all that but I just have to finish with something sweet.
We shared the home-made chocolate brownie, served warm sitting in a puddle of dark rum – you could have whiskey or amaretto too – and chocolate sauce with a dollop of whipped cream and two chocolate sticks. Delicious.
We also shared ‘sweet little hooves‘ which were like little deer hooves. These are potato dumplings cooked in cinnamon and sugar served with sour cream flavoured with almond and topped with a few blueberries and a sliced strawberry.
One of the owners popped out to buy some chocolate and came back and showed us the clever packaging and even offered us a cube each. They were so friendly it was as if we knew them.
I’d seen some photos on TA of some coffee art which they’d done, so I asked if it was possible for me to have a cappuccino, with either a rabbit or a bicycle on it. It took a while plus a couple of attempts, but I was very pleased with the result. Next time I think I shall ask for a rabbit riding a bicycle 😉
Now and again we find a ‘special’ place and I think Geoff will agree with me that TheWitchEZ Café is one of them. We shall most definitely return when we next come to Brighton. They certainly put a spell on us.
Living life loving cake
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