Friday, 29 May 2009

Momma Cherri’s Big House


Recession or no recession, some people are just plain clueless about running a business. Frankly this place was an embarrassment to Brighton, so I'm glad it folded.

Fried chicken as I understand is one of the pinnacles that contributes to the term Soul Food. Twelve years ago a plonker of colossal proportions maliciously suggested that it was Tiger Woods’ staple. That admittedly got me going with my quest for the finest Southern fried chicken I can lay my hands or jaws on. Alas, I can only dream about what the late Austin Leslie’s ultimate version would taste like. I also know that it’s going to be impossible to get the real thing here in Blighty, so desperate measures led me to this wonderful site where one simply drools over the huge list of restaurants and their respective snapshots of chicken dinner. One day I’m going to set off to the States and eat myself silly.

Momma Cherri’s American Soul Food, is a surefire destination joint that was catapulted by ‘effing this and that’. After four hours of setting up turntables (don’t ask it’s boring) I was looking forward to lunch. That partially covered up ‘leasehold for sale’ sign above the shopfront is ever so ominous. For the whole picture of this impressive building you can see Mark’s pic here.

For a restaurant of this ilk, the diners were strangely passive, I supposed the rather uninteresting ambience was accountable.

Fried Chicken main course.
I didn’t need to look at the menu, it was what I came for.

Three drumsticks with creamy white and sweet potato mash, Southern fried gravy, cornbread* and chef’s choice vegetable dish of the day. The chicken wasn’t bad but it wasn’t brilliant either. At least at KFC (yes I know AA and so on), for less than half the price you’re guaranteed a thigh, bit of breast, etc…and dare I say it; taste every bit as good if not better. Couldn’t taste any sweet potatoes in the mash and that gravy made me realised that I’m never going to take the mickey out of Bisto, ever. The chef’s veg…I’m gonna give him or her break now. The whole platter was supposedly a soulful dish but unfortunately it was hijacked by the Dementors.

I decided to pass on the desserts in order to avoid a more vicious appraisal of the place.

I know that some of you might say that it’s unfair that I only had one dish here, but this is Soul Food and the simplistic but defining dish of Southern Fried Chicken failed woefully. I digress.

If only I'd checked earlier and went for IHC’s and Lisa's recommendations of Angel Food Bakery and Bills Produce Store respectively. Live and learn methinks, glad I went back to London.

*Enlighten me if some of you may, is this suppose to taste stale?

2-3 Little East Street




Helen said...

Ah what a shame! I've wanted to go here for ages and my mate just moved to Brighton so I was planning on going. I agree though, what's the point of trying other dishes if they can't get the fried chicken right? I don't think I want mash and gravy with my fried chicken either - not least because the gravy might make the crispy chicken coating soggy.

Lisa said...

Shame you had a disappointing meal but I agree with your review having eaten there a few years ago (shortly after the F Man's visit). Shared a mixed dish menu and it was all sadly mediocre. Haven't rushed back and wouldn't recommend it, especially with so many other great places to eat in Brighton!

I hate to mention that I will be heading to Bill's tomorrow, especially after your kind link! :)

Rumour has it Coffee@33 will be opening a new branch shortly, will keep you posted.

JohnnyFox said...

It's a dump - and even the TV hype when Gordon Ramsay visited it can't elevate it from a dirty caff in the back streets of Brighton.

Toilets, tablecloths, fingernails were all filthy on my visits, and I found the staff grumpy and the customers not much cheerier. The food was extremely poor.

It's frequented by the kind of Brighton residents who think an Oxfam hat worn at a rakish angle is a substitute for a personality ...

bellaphon said...

Helen- Deviating a bit, I've always wondered why the Japanese chuck delicious tempura pieces into their udon soups...baffling!

Lisa- What surprised me about Brighton was the plethora of coffee shops and caffs, I'm thinking from Kensington Street to The Lanes. Maybe I ought to pack this turntable thing up and join the bandwagon instead! IMO the coffee at Taylor Street on Queens Rd is more bespoke than @33. I'm going back to Brighton (bloody Hi-Fi again!) in a couple of weeks' time for some all day fry-up, cakes and coffee :P

JohnnyFox- Thanks for stopping by. LOL at your comments and come to think of it I thought the service was erratic and strangely suspicious (must be my camera). That remark about hats and Brighton peeps will only encourage a contract dismissal on your head...ouch!

I heart cupcakes said...

Sorry to hear you'd such a lousy meal there - when you get good fried chicken there's nothing better. I'd wanted to visit here for some time but after the Gordon Ramsay show, and the fact on return show they didn't seem to have learned much and it still looked dirty I choose to eat in other places in Brighton. Theres a really cute little rock n roll cafe where I had nice falafels last time (Rockola cafe?) but you really can't go wrong with Angel Food I promise!! If you're near Worthing - Parklife have the best cupcakes

Helen Yuet Ling Pang said...

Ouch! I loved the Ramsay programme on this, but never had the urge to actually eat here. Lots of other great places to eat in Brighton, I hear, though I haven't been in ages...

meemalee said...

Was Momma Cherrie even there (or too busy hanging out clothes, heh)?

Btw belaphon, I love the new banner - ice cweaaammmmm!

meemalee said...

I mean "bellaphon" - sorry, I suck at typing ;)

bellaphon said...

IHC- I can't help but reiterate on that estate agent's signboard.Should I worry for MC's with the clock ticking? I work in the music business, I'll give Rockola a miss (not keen on busman's holidays, etc.) Worthing like Lancing, sucks. I shall report back on Angel Food in due course :)

HYL- It'll be really interesting just to blog on those Ramsay's 'trouble shootee' restaurants. I wonder if there's someone out there who's geared up for it.

MML- Herro, it's berraphon here. No sign of the great lady but I thought the place was run by 'just out of college' geeks or surf dudes. That ice cream cone came from Petra@ChocStar. BTW, that's not my hand, it's a stranger's.

Anonymous said...

oh dear...

...try riddle and fins when next in brighton? the f-chef took one of his nightmares there to show how a good fish restaurant should look, a great meal (with london price tags though, be warned) as long as you aren't so drunk (the boy) that you put your coffee beans from your irish coffee into a lovely full glass of gamay then fall asleep at the table when I nip out for a crafty fag!

Lisa said...

There's always room for another coffee shop in Brighton - especially if you can serve a good flattie! ;) Or how about publishing a good coffee guide for London and the south east?! Enjoy your next trip to Brighton and let me know what you think of Bill's. I took a friend there for the first time on Sunday and she loved it.

Unknown said...

Recently caught Momma Cherrie's episode of Kitchen Nightmares and I'm more than a bit disturbed at what passes for 'traditional' southern food. As a Southerner I've got to say she's got it quite wrong. Cornbread- never never sweet. Fried chicken- should be crisp and flavorful. Where were the biscuits, the sweet potatoes were a tragedy. Gravy goes in a little well in the mashed potatoes so the chicken stays crispy. The online recipes are off base. Dear Momma... please stop wrecking our food. kthanks!

John Balaya said...

If you ever do make it to the states, Jacques-Imo's restaurant on Oak street in New Orleans has amazing fried chicken...but for the price it is REALLY hard to beat Popeye's fried chicken. Yes it's fast food, but it's damn good.