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Economically designed for eating

edendum pizza and salad

On a surprisingly quiet Friday evening in Brighton last week, while desperately avoiding restaurants we’d already been to, my Mum and I came across this unassuming Italian café-restaurant-cum-food shop. It wasn’t our first choice on the street, but rather our realistic choice since our first choice was the vegetarian restaurant Terre À Terre, which from one past experience we already knew would tell us they were fully booked even as we looked at a restaurant with the majority of its tables empty.

But for its visible popularity with early-evening diners like ourselves and its Latin name, we would have easily passed Edendum by. But any doubts about the place that I had were soon quashed by the friendliness of the waiter, who welcomed us in with a smile and offered to hang up my coat on the coat pegs on the other side of the room as I looked bemusedly at the coat pegs directly above our table, and by the delicious food. We shared a seafood-laden Pizza Gennaro (£13.95) and a salad (£13.65) with a mouthful of a name – Spinaci freschi, arancia, melograno, caprino e salmone marinato – and my Mum had a Peroni Nastro Azzurro beer (£4.00).

I liked how the menu tried to be exciting without being unpretentious. By that I mean the dessert menu had a seriously tempting Gelato caldo (lit. “hot ice cream”), which I suspected was less innovative that it sounded but still marked it down on my eat-list, and yet the salad that we ordered was advertised in the menu as Chinese dishes often are, where what you see is what you get. And now, in the process of reviewing the restaurant, I’ve also discovered that the San Marzano tomatoes used to make the pizza base are, according to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, “considered by many chefs to be the best of its kind in the world”. Edendum is as quality-conscious as its wall-printed brand concept blurb claims to be.

The squids, mussels, mini octopus, and crevettes atop the pizza were cooked to juicy tenderness, and the only drawback was the inability to eat the pizza after cutting it into slices without the aid of cutlery. But if you think of the pizza as a seafood dish with an edible plate, then by Jove that plate is tasty! I am not a fan of pizza crust nor a fan of salad with fruit in it that isn’t fruit salad, but the gutsy flavours of the salad – the saltiness of the capers and marinated salmon, the tart orange slices, the sweet pomegranate seeds, and the hint of bitterness from the spinach – when eaten with the pizza crust served to liven up my mouthfuls of plain pizza dough.

edendum

I liked the simple and considerate décor and space-saving layout of the place. Besides a modern bar dining-area the restaurant was also brightly lit by what looked like torches covered with transparent candle-extinguishers. I don’t like dimly-lit restaurants where you find it difficult to make out what you’re eating and feel like it’s bedtime, so this aspect of the restaurant scored an instant “like” from me as I took my seat. Our table had a small bright orange vase with a small flower bouquet arranged by the students of St. John’s School and College, a school for autistic children. This was my first encounter with one of the institutions my agency sponsors, and I was happy to see Edendum supporting it too. A few wooden steps at the back led to the toilets, one female one male, sharing two sinks outside and the male cubicle entered by a wooden screen door. The toilets were kept clean, airy, and odourless – they were not just a semblance of cleanliness created by overpowering air fresheners. The only improvement I would make is to fill up the shelves a bit more – they are too vacant at the moment to look inviting.

To sum our evening up, it was spent in a well-thought-out area for people to enjoy a good meal in, which filled up quickly as the evening progressed. When we arrived the other diners were seated near the front door, at the bar area or at the tables by the street-facing window. By the time we left, several more groups had entered, including a large group with children occupying several tables at the back. It was an animated atmosphere that we left, and one that we would be happy to rejoin in the future.

Find Edendum at: 69 East Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1HQ

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October Costume Spotting

Been busy this month so here’s a quick roundup of the one activity that unites all my October weekend experiences – costume spotting. From 1066 to the modern day to “out of this world”, I’ve spotted it all.

Armour and weaponry at the Battle of HastingsNorman soldier

I attended the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings re-enactment at Battle Abbey on Oct 16. There a Norman knight re-enactor told us the story of how the horse of William Duke of Normandy, a black Friesian gifted by the King of Spain, had its head lopped off by a Saxon warrior with a battle-axe. This was why the Normans briefly feared that their Duke was dead. What I appreciated most was the commentary delivered throughout the day, from the falconry performances to the battle re-enactment itself. One update to my primary-school-knowledge of the Battle of Hastings was that the long pointy shields, called kite shields, were used by both sides.

Brighton’s Snowdogs by the Sea

Snowdogs by the Sea is a street art exhibition from Sept 24 to Nov 27 which features 45 Snowdogs, “dressed up” by various artists, schools and other institutions. They are accompanied by 20 Snowdog puppies and will be sold at auction to raise money for St. Martlet’s Hospice, which has a store on Western Road minutes from my workplace! I saw my first Snowdog at Churchill Square, had to photograph one as part of a work-conference-challenge, and found one with my name at the train station on Oct 21. Find them all on the Snowdogs by the Sea Trail before the exhibition closes!

Cambridge gownsCambridge Tudor Bonnet

I found to my dismay that Cambridge academic dress is much more interesting than Oxford’s when I was given a walking tour of the city by my friend on Oct 22, a day when a graduation ceremony was taking place and gowned students thronged the streets. My friend explained that undergraduates wear gowns of different styles depending on their college. BA gowns have slits through which ladies’ can show off the outfits that they wear to formal dinners. PhD and MA graduates can wear festal gowns with strips of scarlet cloth on ‘Scarlet Days’. PhD graduates also wear a Tudor bonnet at Cambridge instead of a mortarboard (see inset). So much choice and variation, and to think that the only gown I own is a commoner’s one.

MCM Comicon at the ExCel in LondonWarhammer

The Comicon I went to with my friend on Oct 30 exceeded both our expectations. Having failed to look up where we were supposed to get off the DLR, I asked a family with a child dressed as Iron Man, but we found that there would have been no need – by the time we got off most people taking the DLR were in fantastical costume, to the extent that we couldn’t even tell if the policeman was a real one or not. I spent the day staring in awe at characters from Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Trek, Star Wars, Warhammer (I almost got trampled by one giant mutant!), Overwatch, Team Fortress, Legend of Zelda, Suicide Squad, Deadpool, other Marvel Superheroes, DC Comic Superheroes, Disney Princesses, Assassin’s Creed, Pokémon, Sailor Moon, Doctor Who…but strangely not Game of Thrones. People in costume let you take photos with them too – who needs Disneyland when you can have photos taken with your favourite characters for free (with a £15 general entry ticket) here?

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Ice Ice Crazy

‘Tis the season for ice cream and other summer delights, and I hereby fondly remember the types of ice cream I’ve tried and note down here those yet to try. If you’ve eaten any of these frozen delights or can add to my wishlist, do leave a comment!

Ice cream eaten

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