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Brighton Beer Blog Visit Busby and Wilds, Kemptown

A descriptive, beer-by-beer account of our visit…

Date: Saturday 5th Feb

Beers:
Gun Brewery Numb Angel Lager

 

On a flukily sunny Saturday morning, my family and I took a slow walk down the beach to Kemptown with some friends. My master plan was that we’d arrive at the Daddy Long Legs in time for a pre-lunch drink and menu peruse, but unfortunately we realised upon arrival at about 11.30am that they weren’t opening until 12 and, while it was sunny, 2 hours on the breezy coastal walk had got us pretty desperate for some sanctuary sooner rather than later.
Thankfully, Busby & Wilds called to us from a Google map search with it’s 4.5 star rating and nice pictures of food accompanied by some reverent reviews.

 

The slick and simple frontage is far from the traditional Brighton pub facade and that threw us for a moment, are we sure this is a pub? and are we sure they’re going to take kids and dogs in somewhere that looks this upmarket? But we headed in to find out.
The pub is 2 spacious rooms, bright and airy with plenty of room between tables. The modern bar sits at the back wall, connecting the rooms. Décor wise it’s fairly statementless, soft grey tones, modern touches such as the filament bulbs hanging above the bar, juxtaposed by an old set of weighing scales on a sideboard. The massive rolling stones poster was about the only touch of personal character that hinted the pub could have latent personality.
We bagged ourselves a comfy and spacious booth area in the second room where the leather bench seating runs along the back wall and curls round the table cosily.

I was delighted and surprised to see that the bar was offering some fantastic beer options for craft fans. Maybe i was expecting a fancy wine menu plus Birra Moretti, but no. Here they stock Gun Brewery and Hand Brew co pales on the taps, plus Blue Moon, Leffe and Camden Hells for more continental styles. The chalk board above our heads pointed to even more options in the fridges from near (Big Hug & Lost Pier) and far (Japan, Iceland and Belgium represented).

It was pretty empty when we arrived just after 11.30am. Other than ourselves just a big table of 3 families with kids of various ages plus a couple in the other room, who like us had opted to beat the masses to an early pub lunch. The pub seems really well laid out and spacious enough to handle young children, of which there were a few present as well as dogs, and both are very welcome.

The barman was quite attentive and friendly as well. I asked him about the pub’s name as I ordered a drink and he mentioned loosely that it was linked to an architects firm. Later on when writing this and researching, I found out that Busby and Wilds were responsible for designing a wide range of regency buildings in Brighton and Kemptown in the 1820s, and the pub was so named to really link it to the city. I also learned that it’s independent owners are a couple, one of whom, Emily, used to work at John Torode’s restaurant Smiths of Smithfield.

We didn’t know all this at the time because I get the eye-rolls when I spend too much time researching and instagramming around my wife in pubs, but we were soon to discover what is arguably this pub’s real draw, it’s food.

The clues were there though, as another massive chalk board in the second room maps the local region with little images depicting the area where certain menu ingredients or beer offerings originate. It’s another example of the pub very visually linking itself to the local area via it’s producers, and seeming incredibly proud that it sources locally.

 

Between us we ordered the Fish and Chips, Halloumi and chips and a vegan Gnocchi. The Halloumi was some of the most moist and juicy I’ve ever had, not greasy or oily at all despite it’s dip into a fryer. I didn’t want them to end and I’m honestly still craving more while writing this now. At first glance it seemed there weren’t many chips, but then you realise they are the size of branches and are actually more than enough and totally filling.
The fish was light and fluffy. My wife, who likes a salad, was really impressed with the side-salad as well, it had a great but subtle dressing, too often pub salads are ignored as part of the meal, just a couple of spinach leaves drenched in something vaguely lemon and vinegary, this one however was memorable.
Our vegan friend was really happy with her gnocchi, which came with a visually textured topping of vegetable crisps, so full marks all round.

I washed this all down with a pint of Gun’s Numb Angel Lager, a clean and refreshing beer to accompany food which has enough of a malty character to make it interesting.

 

The pub slowly got buzzier with more groups, some accompanied by dogs and young children, and the low sun, which must have just cleared a building, was now streaming through the windows in serene diagonal rays. What I first thought was a bit of a sterile space, actually creates an enigmatic blank canvas and a fresh, airy and decluttered space to enjoy wonderful food. We couldn’t help but feel real sense of tranquillity and satisfaction from our unplanned pub and lunch experience.

I do wonder though, if in the evenings this type of gastro focussed place might shun the groups of locals happy to stand and lean against the bar chatting away, as you’d expect in a modern craft tap bar, in favour of having people sat and eating at tables. I’m leaning towards the latter but happy to be informed otherwise.

 

Maybe it’s going too far to say we’re glad The Daddy Long Legs wasn’t open that day, but we kind of are, because our gamble of a visit to Busby and Wilds was a total success. We even tried since then to get a table at the end of a walk on a Sunday morning, only to find them fully booked all day. So word is out, and on Sunday’s at least, the reputation is such you probably need to book about a week and a half early.

Busby and Wilds Kemptown is an incredibly welcoming foodie and craft beer pub with a relaxed atmosphere and that will definitely pull us back in for more grub soon.

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Date: Saturday 5th Feb

Beers:
Gun Brewery Numb Angel Lager

 

On a flukily sunny Saturday morning, my family and I took a slow walk down the beach to Kemptown with some friends. My master plan was that we’d arrive at the Daddy Long Legs in time for a pre-lunch drink and menu peruse, but unfortunately we realised upon arrival at about 11.30am that they weren’t opening until 12 and, while it was sunny, 2 hours on the breezy coastal walk had got us pretty desperate for some sanctuary sooner rather than later.
Thankfully, Busby & Wilds called to us from a Google map search with it’s 4.5 star rating and nice pictures of food accompanied by some reverent reviews.

 

The slick and simple frontage is far from the traditional Brighton pub facade and that threw us for a moment, are we sure this is a pub? and are we sure they’re going to take kids and dogs in somewhere that looks this upmarket? But we headed in to find out.
The pub is 2 spacious rooms, bright and airy with plenty of room between tables. The modern bar sits at the back wall, connecting the rooms. Décor wise it’s fairly statementless, soft grey tones, modern touches such as the filament bulbs hanging above the bar, juxtaposed by an old set of weighing scales on a sideboard. The massive rolling stones poster was about the only touch of personal character that hinted the pub could have latent personality.
We bagged ourselves a comfy and spacious booth area in the second room where the leather bench seating runs along the back wall and curls round the table cosily.

I was delighted and surprised to see that the bar was offering some fantastic beer options for craft fans. Maybe i was expecting a fancy wine menu plus Birra Moretti, but no. Here they stock Gun Brewery and Hand Brew co pales on the taps, plus Blue Moon, Leffe and Camden Hells for more continental styles. The chalk board above our heads pointed to even more options in the fridges from near (Big Hug & Lost Pier) and far (Japan, Iceland and Belgium represented).

It was pretty empty when we arrived just after 11.30am. Other than ourselves just a big table of 3 families with kids of various ages plus a couple in the other room, who like us had opted to beat the masses to an early pub lunch. The pub seems really well laid out and spacious enough to handle young children, of which there were a few present as well as dogs, and both are very welcome.

The barman was quite attentive and friendly as well. I asked him about the pub’s name as I ordered a drink and he mentioned loosely that it was linked to an architects firm. Later on when writing this and researching, I found out that Busby and Wilds were responsible for designing a wide range of regency buildings in Brighton and Kemptown in the 1820s, and the pub was so named to really link it to the city. I also learned that it’s independent owners are a couple, one of whom, Emily, used to work at John Torode’s restaurant Smiths of Smithfield.

We didn’t know all this at the time because I get the eye-rolls when I spend too much time researching and instagramming around my wife in pubs, but we were soon to discover what is arguably this pub’s real draw, it’s food.

The clues were there though, as another massive chalk board in the second room maps the local region with little images depicting the area where certain menu ingredients or beer offerings originate. It’s another example of the pub very visually linking itself to the local area via it’s producers, and seeming incredibly proud that it sources locally.

 

Between us we ordered the Fish and Chips, Halloumi and chips and a vegan Gnocchi. The Halloumi was some of the most moist and juicy I’ve ever had, not greasy or oily at all despite it’s dip into a fryer. I didn’t want them to end and I’m honestly still craving more while writing this now. At first glance it seemed there weren’t many chips, but then you realise they are the size of branches and are actually more than enough and totally filling.
The fish was light and fluffy. My wife, who likes a salad, was really impressed with the side-salad as well, it had a great but subtle dressing, too often pub salads are ignored as part of the meal, just a couple of spinach leaves drenched in something vaguely lemon and vinegary, this one however was memorable.
Our vegan friend was really happy with her gnocchi, which came with a visually textured topping of vegetable crisps, so full marks all round.

I washed this all down with a pint of Gun’s Numb Angel Lager, a clean and refreshing beer to accompany food which has enough of a malty character to make it interesting.

 

The pub slowly got buzzier with more groups, some accompanied by dogs and young children, and the low sun, which must have just cleared a building, was now streaming through the windows in serene diagonal rays. What I first thought was a bit of a sterile space, actually creates an enigmatic blank canvas and a fresh, airy and decluttered space to enjoy wonderful food. We couldn’t help but feel real sense of tranquillity and satisfaction from our unplanned pub and lunch experience.

I do wonder though, if in the evenings this type of gastro focussed place might shun the groups of locals happy to stand and lean against the bar chatting away, as you’d expect in a modern craft tap bar, in favour of having people sat and eating at tables. I’m leaning towards the latter but happy to be informed otherwise.

 

Maybe it’s going too far to say we’re glad The Daddy Long Legs wasn’t open that day, but we kind of are, because our gamble of a visit to Busby and Wilds was a total success. We even tried since then to get a table at the end of a walk on a Sunday morning, only to find them fully booked all day. So word is out, and on Sunday’s at least, the reputation is such you probably need to book about a week and a half early.

Busby and Wilds Kemptown is an incredibly welcoming foodie and craft beer pub with a relaxed atmosphere and that will definitely pull us back in for more grub soon.

e soon.

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