The best bakery in Brighton is actually in Patcham, which used to be a little village some way out of Brighton but has now been subsumed into the larger
town city. Everything is baked on the premises, which have virtually nothing in common with a modern shop. The first thing you notice on entering is the size. It is very small. There is barely enough room for three people to queue, including the person being served at the counter. There’s wooden shelves for the bread. Scones, donuts and tarts sit by a shelf before the front window. They also sell pasties, sausage rolls and the like.
Although a key part of Patcham life, this is the sort of business which wouldn’t fit into the high streets so many of us are familiar with. They don’t open at all on Mondays. I’m told they open at 8:30am the rest of the week but their opening hours are something of a mystery. Certainly, they don’t advertise them. Perhaps they just close each day when they have sold out. I’ve frequently gone there in the late morning to find everything sold. This morning I managed to get there at 9:30am; they had two loaves left! A fellow came in asking for a pasty. On being told that they had none left, he sagged. The lady behind the counter asked him if he wanted a Patcham Pasty, and said she would go and find out how long the next batch would be, if he was happy to wait. The man cheered up considerably. I got the impression that he would have waited all day, if necessary. Possibly, all week. When I said I was moving to Patcham a friend of mine told me that if he is within half a mile of the neighbourhood, he will drive to the Village Bakery to get one of their pasties. Unfortunately, being a vegetarian I cannot enjoy this popular delicacy but, perhaps hypocritically I can promote the place that sells them.
I wanted to photograph inside the bakery but felt somehow that I’d be committing some kind of dreadful faux pas just to ask. There’s little inside the bakery to remind you of the 21st century or even much of the 20th. Pulling out a smartphone and mentioning a blog just seemed a bit too much.
They told me that they would do bulk orders but only by advance arrangement. Telephone number 01273552927. Their prices are low too – this morning I bought two large white loaves of bread, three scones with generous measures of jam and cream and three donuts (these were definitely 10/10 donuts) and this cost be under £8.