There is something undeniably satisfying about being ‘in the know’. Almost everyone loves the feeling of being in possession of secret information, and whether its office gossip, pop trivia or breaking shocking news. There is a journalist within all of us that wants to keep ahead of our friends.
With boutique events guides popping up all over the internet, I followed a lead on a recent trip to East Sussex and attended a new café in Brighton. Situated in an unremarkable side street in Kemp Town, this marvellous Belgian coffee bar is unlikely to be bought out by Zizzi anytime soon. Even by Brighton’s famously bohemian standards, the madness of Bom-Banes is an offbeat delight.
Bom-Banes is run by Jane Bom-Bane and her partner Nick Pynn and their eccentric vision follows in the British music hall tradition. The upstairs dining area is liberally sprinkled with children’s drawings, spring flowers and Aesop’s tables playing 1920’s cartoons.
One of the charms of the venue is how young children turn up to do their homework and are treated with the same respect as the musicians rehearsing in the Moroccan parlour downstairs. Indeed the café possesses so many surrealist twists you would be forgiven for thinking the venue had originally been conceived in a dreamy child’s mind.
With its crazy mechanical tables, Belgian dishes and beautiful white beers, Bom-Banes is certainly not the place to go for egg and chips. In this mad bohemian café one of their most endearing qualities is how the owners and staff actually talk to you.
On living in a transaction based society that revolves around chip and pin relationships it can come as quite a shock to receive a genuinely friendly service from Jane Bom-Banes and friends.
Anyone expecting a quiet romantic dinner is advised to avoid Bom-Banes because it requires a certain kind to attend. Shy and reserved types might find Bon-Banes a bit too much when the eccentricities are in full flow. This is the price you pay for wanting to be different though. Otherwise their home made food is absolutely lovely with ostrich, salads and Mediterranean tapas available at very reasonable prices.
Even if you love the gorgeous cuisine, some people may well find Bom-Banes too garish for their tastes. However, anyone walking along the fabled road less travelled should be prepared for the unexpected.
With my untapped niche firmly in my pocket, I now possess a secret unknown to the vulgar masses. Self-satisfaction is never far away in this respect. If it’s off the beaten track, then I want to be on it.