The Verse’s Nammie Matthews went to independent Belgian fries outlet BeFries – read on for what she thought in our BeFries review…
Okay, so I’m well aware that chips – as a concept – aren’t exactly new. We’ve been having them with our burgers for donkey’s years, soaked in vinegar with battered fish at our local chippy, even sodomising the things in pie and gravy (bloody northerners). But they’ve always been a sort of, well, afterthought in sunny old Blighty, you know? They tend to come out a bit wet (not crisp, as they ought to), while you’re left with nothing but Aldi ketchup disguised in a Heinz bottle to sweeten the deal. It’s high time someone brought chips to the centre stage. Enter: BeFries.
Growing up in the Netherlands, with countless trips to the Low Countries, brothers Dashal and Chan Beevers know a thing or two about chips. Chan welcomes us as soon as we arrive (Dashal is busy outside speaking to BBC South East – how exciting!), and are shown a seat at the bar. What’s first noticeable about BeFries – its warm service aside – is its space; there’s plenty of room to move around and little in the means of seating, so guests are encouraged to stand at the bar and socialise, the small holes in the top of the bar perfectly crafted to hold your cone of fries as you chat.
Of course, it helps that these guys are really friendly, and they talk us through each step of the process as we sip on our drinks – imported Belgian Looza Tropical juice (£1.50), and the best chocolate milk in the world (there, I said it), Chocomel (£1.80). Hand peeled, cut and then twice fried using the only authentic Belgian fryer in the UK, to ensure each chip is fluffy on the inside with a crispy skin, these fries see more action than your average student at the weekend, and they taste amazing for it. However, that’s not all – it turns out these guys are pretty expert with their dips too, as we’re taken on a flavour journey through all thirteen flavours on the menu (plus an extra five from the specials list).
Firstly, the Sate and Dutch mayo – a tasty combination of peanut satay and sweet mayonnaise – topped with onion. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably imagining some suspicious concoction of Sunpat and Hellman’s but, much like us, you’d be deeply mistaken. The two flavours go together so incredibly well, we devour the cone quickly. I dream about them for the rest of our stay, and return the next day for more. Seriously, put your misgivings aside. These are the bomb.
If, however, satay and mayo really isn’t your thing (no judgement – we’re not all adventurous with food), then you’re in good company; BeFries offer numerous ketchups, mayonnaises and pastes to funk up your fries. While the ketchup and mayo combination instantly transported us back to an earlier trip to Amsterdam, it was the specials that really grasped our attention, a vegan basil pesto (talk about a big fresh punch in the face) and dill and gherkin ‘burger’ sauce easily topping the list. The cheese dip is gloriously creamy too, made even better by the Indonesian chilli paste – each flavour offsetting the chips perfectly.
While we Brits may be a bit of a glutton for punishment, happily sauntering along with mediocrity, BeFries single-handedly proves this definitely doesn’t have to be the case (at least when it comes to our fries, anyway). With prices starting from £2.80 for a small cone with a dip, BeFries well and truly set the standard for easy continental street food. I’ll definitely be making multiple visits in the coming months – will you?
BeFries is at 46 West Street, Brighton, BN1 2RA and is open 12pm-8pm Sunday-Thursday and 12pm-12pm Friday and Saturday. 10% student discount applicable with a valid student ID card.