Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews


Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my experiences with you.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hotel du Vin Abandons Brighton Seagulls

I am very sorry to see that the new owners of the Hotel Du Vin in Brighton have removed the seagulls that used to hang from the ceiling of the cocktail bar.

A journalist chum of mine told me that she hates the word "iconic", feeling that it overused. However, in this particular instance, I will risk her ire; by stating categorically that the seagulls were iconic and very much part of the bar contributing to its quirky ambience.

More to the point:

  • Seagulls are as much a part of Brighton as fish and chips. 

  • Brighton and Hove Albion, the local football team, are nicknamed "The Seagulls".

  • By ditching the seagulls, the hotel is in effect ditching its connection to Brighton itself.

  • The bar, sans seagulls, now looks and feels like a soulless barn.

Bring back the seagulls!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Southover - Brighton

The Southover pub (58 Southover St Brighton BN2 9UF - 01273 601419) is currently hosting The Heart and Soul Food Company special pop up soul food kitchen for one month 19th Aug - 21st Sept.

We gave it a go last night, and had a selection of small dishes (you can have them served in larger portions if you want). Here is a very subjective view of the ones we ate (note they do others, and also do burgers):

- Peri peri chicken wings - spicy, tender and splendid
- Onion rings - good sized portion, not greasy, tasty

- Salsa - lacked kick/flavour

- Ribs - flavoursome and tender

- Brisket chilli - oven baked, smokey, spicy and came with some extra jalapeños to scatter upon it

- Corn on the cob - very good, good sized cob and came with butter in a separate dish (without having to ask for it)

- Jalapeño cheese poppers - bland and tasteless

- Smokey macaroni cheese - bloody good, normally I would consign such a "schooldays memory" dish to the waste bin without even trying it

- Rice with black beans - good

The small dishes range from £2.50 to £4 each if memory serves.

Worth a visit in my humble opinion.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Heston's Scratched Record

Heston has become rather a scratched record, repeating itself time and time again.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Advice To The Hilton Brighton Metropole

When you run out of fresh mint in your cocktail bar, have the good sense to send someone out to buy some more.

Hand Cut Chips

Are we to assume that "hand cut chips" are literally cut by someone's hands?

On the assumption that a knife was used, should not the correct term be "knife cut chips"?

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Setting Sun Brighton

Eva and I haven't been to the Setting Sun (1 Windmill Street, Brighton, BN2 0GN 01273 626192) for quite sometime, so we popped in last night to try the new menu.

The Setting Sun is more of a wine bar/bistro rather than "pub" in the strictest sense of the word. It has light wood flooring, large leather sofas, bistro style wooden tables, a conservatory and a patio that affords stunning views of Brighton (if you can find seat there in the summer).

Sarah the manager took it over in 2014, there having been quite few changes in management in the previous years which caused chaos with the menu and the general running of the place. Sarah has brought stability and a friendly customer service attitude to the place, she also spruced it up with newly painted decor in 2014. In addition to Sarah there is Oggy, who is dog in residence and a very friendly cheerful little fellow.

The new menu includes soup, mussels, lamb shank, chicken breast, burgers, fish, halloumi, sticky toffee pudding etc; along with specials on certain days, such as sausage and mash.

We shared a bowl of mussels (moules mariniere, if you want the official name) as a starter, these were quite decent and came with a couple of chunks of bread.

We then each had the lamb shank (see photo above), which comes with pearl barley and roasted winter vegetables. To our view the dish needed mash in order to make it complete, and so we ordered a bowl to share. The meat was well cooked, and came cleanly off the bone. The stock which it was served with was flavoursome and not overpowering, and gave some much needed flavour to the pearl barley. The mash completed the dish and, to my view, should be made a standard part of this particular course.

Oggy was delighted to be gifted my lamb shank bone when I had finished with it, and proudly carried it off to a corner to munch on.

The bill came to around £63; this included a bottle of Pinot Rose, a coffee and two large Cointreaus.

Strip out the booze portion of the bill and, in my opinion, it is high when compared to the other pubs that serve food in Hanover. However, as noted, the Setting Sun isn't really a pub; so trying to compare it with the pubs in the area is not comparing like with like.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Burn's Supper at The Constant Service

Deep Fried Mars Bar

Last night good people of The Constant Service hosted a Burn's Supper.

For a mere £10 a head, Chef Tom and his colleagues served up haggis, neaps. tatties and cabbage, followed by deep fried Mars Bar and ice cream washed down with a tot of whisky.

Eva and I can both attest to the fact that the haggis was excellent, as were the accompaniments!

Not only was the food good, but the team at The Constant Service made every effort to add a Scottish feel to the evening. The tables were dressed in tartan cloths, and were decorated with heather and thistles in vases. There was even an ode to each haggis served, read by a very enthusiastic loyal customer dressed in a kilt.

Bar staff were also attired in the Scottish manner, one even besported a Tam o' Shanter.

It was a braw evening, and excellent value for money!

We have but one request, PLEASE PLEASE fix the air vents in the windows. They were letting in a gale last night, and everyone sitting by the windows was frozen stiff (we kept our coats on, but it was still freezing).

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Greys

The Greys (105 Southover Street, Brighton) has had something of a torrid time over the last two years, with numerous changes of landlord and even more changes of chefs and types of cuisines.

However, Chris and Ben have now taken over the pub and promise that this is for the long term. Chris is now chef in residence, and offers tapas/meze style dishes (at £2.90 each or £9.90 for four) during the week and on Saturday. However, on Sunday there are a selection of roasts on offer.

Eva and I went there last night and sampled eight of the dishes (including meatballs, sliced meats, prawns and potatoes in olive oil) from the menu above. They were all great, good flavour, well presented and sufficiently filling.

However, I would make two modest requests:

1 Please add Padrón peppers and a tortilla to the menu.

2 Bread needs to be served with the sliced meat dishes.

All in all we very much enjoyed the food, and wish Ben and Chris every success in The Greys.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Big Breakfast At The Walmer Castle

Kudos to chef Shane of The Walmer Castle (95 Queen's Park Road Brighton) for adding to his most excellent menu an all day big breakfast, served only on Saturdays from midday.

The breakfast (pictured above) consists of:

- 2 eggs
- 2 sausages
- 2 bacon
- mushrooms
- tomatoes
- hash browns
- bubble and squeak
- beans
- black pudding (Scottish black pudding, at the insistence of Barry)
- toast

The breakfast is nicely cooked and presented (not swimming in a layer of fat), and tastes great.

My hearty endorsement of the dish, at £12 for two you can't go wrong!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Constant Service - One of The Beacons of Hanover

At the risk of sounding like a scratched record (not that they ever play those in the Constant Service), I would like to once again complement the chef at the Constant Service (96 Islingword Road, Brighton) for offering and cooking another imaginative and tasty range of specials last night.

This time I ate skewered chicken with herbs and garlic, accompanied by a salad, tzatziki and rice. The dish was generous, well flavoured, tender and moist. Cooking as it should be.

Eva had a chicken stew consisting of good sized and generous chunks of chicken, chorizo, potatoes and cheese. Bloody marvelous!

The reason that I yet again mention the food at the Constant Service, aside from the fact that it is very good, is that whilst some pubs in Hanover also produce good quality home cooked food others fall lamentably short.

Naming no names, there are some pubs (and chefs) in the area whose imagination doesn't extend beyond burgers (calling them "gourmet" really doesn't cut the mustard with me) and a Thursday night "curry" (served with a mean portion of rice). You cannot populate your menu mainly with burgers and call yourself a chef.

Those Hanover pubs and their chefs that have fallen behind the curve should look to the Constant Service as a beacon as to how menus should be constructed, food cooked and customers' wishes be taken into account.

To compare and contrast attitudes, last night I asked for rice instead of the flat bread that was on the menu for my dish. This request posed absolutely no problem for either the landlady or the chef, who were perfectly happy to do step up to the plate and cater for my request. In another Hanover pub, some months ago, I asked for mash instead of chips and was told that the portions of mash "had already been allocated" (ie "No"). The lesson is clear, do as the customer asks (if the request is reasonable) and the customer will return, do as you wish (and ignore the customer) and you will end up with no customers.

Pubs and chefs that don't cater to their customers wishes will not survive, as is evident by those pubs in Hanover that are sadly empty.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Constant Service

Kudos to the chef at the Constant Service (96 Islingword Road, Brighton) for cooking a first class Coq au Vin, amongst other specials, last night.

The dish tasted fantastic, and was enhanced by the fact that fresh thyme from the garden of the Constant Service was used in the recipe. The accompaniments of mash and cabbage were superb.

Two Coq au Vins and a very decent bottle of Blush, all for £30!