It's strange watching friends grow up. One minute you're playing hide and seek in your parents' wardrobe, the next you're watching them travel the world or get a high-flying job via social media. And even though we're all probably (on some level or other) doing our very own super grown-up things, it feels like we're all simultaneously freaking out because everyone on our news feeds is getting engaged or buying a house or expecting their third baby. 

Even though I'm partway through a PhD and planning my own wedding (both rather grown-up things, I would say, although I still can't iron a single bloody thing to save my life), I still get that feeling. But there's nothing that makes me more proud than to see a friend, old or new, accomplish something.

One of my oldest friends, Courtney, opened the Brooklyn Diner in Broadstairs a couple of years ago with his partner Milli and it's safe to say I'm seriously impressed (especially considering that I can't even keep a plant alive, let alone a business). I've been to eat their scrummy burgers a few times before so thought it was finally time to show off what they can do here on the blog.

The restaurant is tucked away in a corner near the bottom of the high street. You could quite easily walk past and miss it unless you knew it was there. But once inside, there's a cosy and intimate bar area and, even better for the summer months (which, it sadly looks like, are mostly behind us!) a courtyard garden area for enjoying a quiet drink away from the hustle and bustle of Broadstair's shopping areas and seafront.

We popped in for an early lunch towards the end of August and whilst we were joined by more customers later in the day, we almost had the place to ourselves at first. The menu focuses on typical diner fare - think burgers, hot dogs and milkshakes. However there's a difference - all of the ingredients are conscientiously sourced from local suppliers and everything is made fresh to order. Whilst you would normally find pre-made, frozen produce in a burger joint, here all of the burger patties are made by the team themselves.

And the best bit for veggies like me? Actually having a choice for once! There are three delicious veggie burgers on offer (plus a salad for the health conscious diner but then why are you in a burger bar?!) as well as a wrap and grilled cheese on the weekday lunch menu.

And if the predetermined options aren't enough for you, you could always turn to building your own from a large variety of building blocks.

Whilst we perused the menu, I kicked things off with a strawberry and black pepper G&T (which was quite the bargain, being priced the same as a standard G&T). The flavours of the additional ingredients didn't quite infuse into the drink but it was a delicious and refreshing way to start the meal.

Our waiter was really helpful and friendly and offered excellent advice (in between exchanging travel anecdotes!). I had been ready to choose the Ultimate Veggie Burger (halloumi for life) but he persuaded me to consider the Jackfruit Burger instead. I'd never heard of jackfruit before going to the Brooklyn but upon hearing it was basically the veggie version of pulled pork, my curiosity was sufficiently piqued. Feeling impulsive, I also ordered the nachos on his suggestion (yes I am impressionable, especially when it comes to food). But I did not regret it.

The nachos were hand cut from tortillas and smothered in their house smoked cheese. Unlike most places where everything arrives piled on top of the tortilla chips (which have usually become a soggy mess by the time they come to the table), we were offered freshly made salsa and guacamole as well as sour cream and jalapenos to add as we liked. The nachos were super tasty and the freshly made salsa and guac were a refreshing alternative to the ready made crap that's usually on offer elsewhere. My only regret was that we'd only ordered one portion for the table!

And then the burgers arrived.

I added house smoked cheese to my burger and a side of halloumi (what can I say?). I was pretty excited about discovering jackfruit for the first time and this only intensified when I gave my burger a prod and discovered a deliciously oozy mess inside. Safe to say, things got very messy, VERY quickly.

So how to describe a jackfruit burger? First things first, if you go to the Brooklyn Diner, TRY THIS. It was seriously so, so good. I couldn't eat it quickly enough (partly because it was sliding out of my grip with every bite but there you go). Apparently, jackfruit is a fruit similar to a peach. When it's young, it's quite savoury and can be shredded and cooked in BBQ sauce to create an effect similar to pulled pork. Whilst I can't comment on its similarity to pulled pork (having never eaten it in my life), I can at least say that this was a delicious, smoky, spicy mess and I wish I could get hold of it in Exeter. The handcut rosemary chips were also delicious but they kind of took second place next to the burger.

I know it probably looks like I'm just saying this as, like I mentioned earlier, Courtney and Milli are friends. But I can hand-on-heart say that this is the best veggie burger I have ever eaten. It's so nice to feel like some real effort has been put into the veggie options too, rather than just having the same old options recycled back to you.

So if you're ever in Broadstairs, perhaps as part of a trip to Margate just around the corner, I heartily recommend stopping by the Brooklyn Diner. Go for a quiet lunch away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Go for a relaxing drink in the garden. Go for decent veggie options that have been given thought and consideration. Go for homemade food, lovingly prepared by two young people who are determined to make everything from scratch themselves. Go for a welcome alternative from the chains that dominate the British high street. Go - and tell me what you think.

Brooklyn Diner
23 High St.