Wandering aimlessly on a lazy day in Brighton with a friend recently, we had agreed to stick to our usual mantra of cheap and cheerful, reducing our food options down to two choices; Wetherspoons or Pizza Express (we had vouchers!).
Then wandering down a backstreet towards the seafront, we stumbled across a place called JBs. Initially thinking it was a typical seaside chip shop, we then realised it was an American Diner, and were both inexplicably drawn to it. Having a quick glance at the menu outside, the prices seemed reasonable, and we agreed that it was an option. Fast forward a couple of hours, and a few fairground rides and a couple of air hockey matches later, I was still thinking about the burgers on the menu, so we headed back to JBs, not too sure what to expect.
At around 5pm on a dull Tuesday afternoon, only about four tables were occupied, so we were seated and served immediately. The drinks menu, normally the easiest decision for someone as indecisive as me, provided the first hurdle; Dr Pepper as on the menu - one of my favourite drinks, but not usually available in restaurants. But then I saw one of the most exciting things I have ever seen listed on a menu- a Lucky Charms milkshake! I was seriously tempted, but at £5 a pop, it took some serious consideration, to the extent that I had to ask the waitress to return a few minutes later to take our drinks order. In the end, I decided against the idea of the Lucky Charms milkshake, purely based on the price (my heart was saying yes, but my head was telling me I could get almost a whole meal for that in Wetherspoons!).This is a regret that I will live with until my dying day, or at least until the next time I am in Brighton with money in my pocket.
Onto the food, and despite my thoughts of the burger which had drawn me back there, I went for the scampi, and my friend went for the Blues Brothers burger. The food arrived within about 15 minutes, although the episodes of Tom and Jerry being shown on the TVs made time go a lot faster, simultaneous reverting us to our childhoods and, in our exhausted states, causing us to laugh way more than two 20-somethings should have done at a children's cartoon. I wonder if today's children will still be laughing at Spongebob Squarepants when they're in their twenties?
I digress. The food arrived, and we were thoroughly impressed. The portion sizes were very generous (it felt like the fries were multiplying as I was eating them, in a relentless cycle). The side salad, with dressing, was delicious, and far more effort had gone into it than the usual limp lettuce leaves that are half-heartedly placed on the plate.
Stopping halfway through our epically sized meals, waiting for second wind to strike, gave us a chance to fully take in our surroundings. Decorated like a stereotypical American diner, t-shirts from films such as Back to the Future and Ghostbusters hung from the ceiling, whilst the walls were adorned with the usual film star posters, and car number plates and American road signs. I was particularly enjoying the electronic Coca Cola sign with a countdown to the millennium clock, until I realised that although this felt like very recent history to me, the turn of the millennium had taken place before the children at the next table had even been born. In a quick act of emotional self preservation, my eyes reverted back to the episodes of Tom and Jerry still being shown on the TV screens, allowing me to go back to the innocence of childhood.
Although the food was delicious, the large portion sizes meant that we both left some food on the plates. At this point I was glad that I had not gone for the milkshake, which no doubt would have been even more filling. Although I was upset a not getting a chance to try the Key West Key Lime Pie (something which I have always wanted to try but never got round to), the food I had was more than adequate to sedate me.
The bill came to around £20 for the two meals and two drinks, an absolute bargain considering the quality and quantity of the food, and cementing my intention to return here next time I visit Brighton.
On the way out we noticed that there was a small retail kiosk selling other American memorabilia, however fears for our hastily dwindling finances prevented us from looking too closely.
Owing to my food induced comatose state, I forgot to take a photo when leaving the restaurant, but if you're even vaguely familiar with Brighton, it's pretty easy to find, situated on the seafront about halfway between the pier and the cinema. Alternatively, set your Lucky Charm radar to "milkshake" and you'll find it within seconds.