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The perfect brunch at Bills in Lewes, Sussex

Monday 10 December 2012
Bills in Lewes

So, Christmas is coming. Obviously. And everyone has their own traditions, their own little rituals they look forward to. One of mine is on Christmas Eve.

Actually, I think I prefer Christmas Eve to the day itself. Christmas Day always seems like an anticlimax. The suspense is still there the day before.

For a good few years, I've met up with three girlfriends for a brunch in Bills Cafe in Lewes. On some occasions, it's been the only time I've seen one of them all year. We live in different countries, have busy lives, and that's the way it goes.

But Bills is our own little tradition, and I love it.

Bills has been in Lewes for years. Part greengrocer, part cafe, I used to visit when I worked in a pottery shop nearby, to pick up some foccaccia bread or clementines. It's the kind of grocers where all the fruit and veg looks amazing. It's all stacked up in huge piles, there are little Italian larder staples everywhere, and it has the kind of shelves that would be in MY larder if only I had my shit together.

But the food in the cafe is amazing. Properly amazing. Thick, fluffy pancakes that are perfect brunch fodder. Fresh juices with enough ginger to rip your head off. And the pudding cabinet.... oh my, the pudding cabinet. They always have Pavlovas which are, honest to God, two feet high. All of their cakes and desserts reach to the skies, and they taste divine.

And by the by? The steak ciabatta I had in there a few years ago remains ingrained in my memory as the best sandwich I have ever eaten in my life. I almost don't want to have it again, just in case it's not as good as I remember.

A few years ago, they started doing dinner. Around the same time, they opened another branch in Brighton (where I've been for dinner several times, and I can vouch wholeheartedly for the quality). Actually, they've become a bit of a power house. They released a cookery book a few years ago, which I've never looked at (it would be a nightmare to bring home in hand luggage). They've also opened a zillion other branches. I knew there was one opening in Covent Garden, but had no idea they're sprouting up all over the country. I do hope the quality remains high, though, or it might rather taint the original.

We're not going to be there on Christmas Eve, as it is. Pam has to work, and I have some playtime booked with a newborn baby. But we'll be there a few days after. We'll skip the MASSIVE queues, but still stuff ourselves on pancakes and buck's fizz. And I can't wait.

Pam's head is literally half the size of mine.
Bills Cafe
56 Cliffe High Street Lewes
East Sussex BN7 2AN
01273 476918

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