It's always good to give you more than one top tip in my foodie blog posts and this time I have two great food experiences to share. One relates to a Mexican restaurant I've found and the other to a new way of helping people discover great independent places to eat.
I'll start with the new way to find a hand-picked selection of Brighton restaurants, cafes, pop-ups and pubs. Wriggle has created a service that connects diners with places to eat, with the added benefit of discounted prices while participating businesses get to fill empty seats. It's a new, fast-moving approach and I've been loving the choice of places I've seen on the app so far. The deals only cover a select number of places and are limited to deals on the same day, the next and the day after.
The app is free to download, then you choose your city from Brighton, London and Bristol and flick through to discover deals. The discounts include breakfast, lunch and dinner options and are available in cafes, restaurants and pop-up supper clubs. For instance in today's choice for Brighton you can have a burger for £6 (normally £11), 1 kg of mussels, fries and glass of wine for £9.95, (normally £17.20) or two mains of either burrito, enchilada or chimichanga for £15, (normally £23.90) at Los Amigos.
Invited to try out the Wriggle app by Wriggle HQ I went for this last deal, almost half price and what looked like a glorious Mexican feast. Once you've chosen your meal on the app or via the website you make your payment through Wriggle and go and enjoy your meal.
I had invited a friend to join me and we arrived at Los Amigos in Hove last Tuesday evening just as the sun was coming out. As soon as we walked through the door we were greeted by the most friendly welcome. I love that. Kamran asked us where we'd like to sit and offered us seats in the window and brought over the drinks menu. Los Amigos has been seeing some changes recently, the management of this Hove institution has changed in the last couple of years from mother to son and the son is keen to bring in change.
Kamran tells us its one of the few places in central Hove to have remained in business for over twenty years. He's passionate to bring his youthful energy to this family-run restaurant and has already made changes to the menu. His enthusiasm was infectious and we loved the selection of beers Kamran brought over for us to check out. Customers can now choose from the familiar Mexican bottled beers by Modelo to beers from the Cucapa micro-brewery or the pilsner-style Pacifico.
We chose Modelo beers and as the golden bubbles sparkled into my glass, Kamran arrived with some agua frescas for us to try. He's considering adding this traditional Mexican drink to the menu and wanted our thoughts. Using a flower typically found in Mexico, Kamran has created his own version of the popular Mexican thirst quencher using hibiscus flowers. The drink had been brewed then chilled and the taste reminded me a little of cranberry juice except less bitter and yes definitely worth trying.
He also brought us over a starter to try. A plate of quesadilla, flour tortilla filled with cheeses and chilli with a side of salsa. We devoured it. The tortilla tasted light and fresh and there was just a hint of chilli mixed in with the oozing cheese.
For the mains we ordered a chilli beef chimichanga and a chicken burrito. The servings were substantial, we were in for a feast and in fact neither of us could finish our plates.
Our experience had been hugely positive and for me highlighted the difference between eating at a chain and going to an independent. At Los Amigos the hospitality felt real and personal, rather than scripted and (sometimes) insincere. The food tasted fresh and full of flavour. It was absolutely delicious and the atmosphere encouraged us to linger.
We were so full we couldn't even consider dessert so I'm sorry I can't share any pics of pud. More changes are on the way for this family run Mexican in Hove so if you haven't been in for a while I hope you're tempted to go back.
Los Amigos, 60 Church Road, Hove BN3 2FP
With thanks to Wriggle for my complimentary deal and Los Amigos for their hospitality. My views my own.
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