I regard it as one of my duties not just to report on new restaurants but tried and tested favourites … are they rolling out a seasonal menu? Have there been my changes in management, decor or pricing ?
English’s of – and in – Brighton is the type of restaurant that does not change too much and this is part of its charm and attraction. its been going since 1946 under the same family ownership of the Lloyd Joneses and the same 3 managers – Andre, Antonio and Nick – have always been there since I became a regular. Thus it was mildly disconcerting not to be recognised yesterday, not to be offered the normal glass of Prosecco (we have an understanding that I leave a bigger tip to cover this) but nonetheless I had my second favourite table, my favourite being occupied by a long haired bucolic-looking man with a middle eastern lady clearly on “maneouvres”.
One of the oddities of English is the table configuration. This restaurant is at its best on a warm summer‘s day outside on the piazza with the jazz quartet playing nearby but if you have to be inside then, unless you specify tables one or two, you are likely to be in the alcove at the rear adjacent to your diner and facing others you don’t know.
Okay for the person on manoeuvres but inappropriate for the business person!
Normally my regular companion, a gay man visiting from South London, partakes of the set menu. This was now on the board billed as the market men and at £14 for two courses very good value . Indeed I had a ginormous pot of mussels in garlic cream and wine which would have sufficed in itself but it was followed by a whole plaice in mushroom sauce. The only problem had nothing to do with restaurant, and everything to do with silly old me, when I managed to tip my glass of wine over the Jermyn Street shirt of my friend!!! We know each other well enough that we could laugh at the incident but I felt a right ass! The bill for 2 with coffee and a fine Sancerre was £100 and you can’t argue with that, illustrating the point that the set menu for lunch is often the best value option.
My friend had an usual personal problem. His long term Bangledeshi partner was back in his native country where his family was putting him under some pressure to make an arranged marriage. I listened sympathetically but could think of no advice as I have never encountered this situation!