Seven weeks of clean eating, six weeks without booze and one stone down, it was about time for a treat.
We'd been invited to Browns Brasserie and Bar to try out their new menu, and - as my first cheat meal of 2017 - it had a lot to live up to.
Browns Brighton is in the lanes, and it's quite a lovely building with high ceilings, lots of mirrors and ferns. The restaurant has the vibe of a classic French brasserie; a laid-back atmosphere whilst still elegant and stylish (which gave me an excuse to dress up, having spent the last month in almost entirely gym kit or pyjamas - yay!). In fact, Brighton is actually the first ever Browns restaurant, opened in 1973- a fun fact we learnt from our waitress.
So, what does one eat when all the yummy foods have been off limit for 48 days? Cheese - obviously.
To accompany our bottle of French red, we shared an entire baked camembert - served with bread and a tomato and rhubarb chutney. I thought I might have died and gone to heaven. Gloriously gooey warm cheese, with the contrast of the tangy chutney and the chewy bread... there is nothing better than cheese and wine. Nothing.
I wouldn't ordinarily order a steak (I'm more of a pasta kinda kinda girl), but I was pretty impressed with what I read at the top of the 'Tender Beef' specials menu. Browns rear their own cattle, and manage the entire process from field to plate, in order to ensure the highest quality of meat.
We went for the star of the menu - the Côte de Boeuf. A piece of steak the size of my head, topped with tempura prawns and served with portobello mushroom, asparagus, onion rings, chips and béarnaise sauce. The beef was succulent and melted in the mouth - there were hardly any chewy bits, which is what usually puts me off eating steak. The tempura prawns were in a light, crispy batter. The chips were seasoned to perfection. The mushroom was rich and flavoursome.
Now, Rich and I, we can put it away - but this was an obscene amount of food for two people. There must have been half a cow in front of us. I'd suggest ordering some extra chips and sharing the meat between three or even four people.
I was stuffed, but.... there's always room for pudding. Plus I hadn't had chocolate in seven weeks- it'd've been rude not to. Obviously I had to go for the chocolate fudge brownie with honeycomb ice cream and toffee sauce.
I struggled to walk home that night. I lay in a food coma in my bed, uncomfortably full. But, do I have any regrets? None. It was a cheat meal well spent, that's for sure.