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A la Colthard/ Hotel du Vin bistro

A girlfriend of mine of many years’ standing wanted to come to Brighton for her birthday and I booked us in at the bistro of the Hotel du Vin – the Sunday lunch there is rightly popular and it’s necessary to book.

When I was at the hotel in the week, I confirmed the booking and chose my table. I was therefore all the more irritated when on arrival the greeter, after peering into her screen, told me the reservation was for 2pm not 1.

When will restaurants learn? If I was manager I would insist the greeter had before him/her  a print-out of all reservations with a profile of the diner. Instead of peering into a machine he/she should be saying:

” Mrs Colthard – how good to see you again. We have your preferred table and a glass of prosecco awaits .”

I was about to ‘lose it’ but my friend placed a restraining hand upon my arm and we were shown to the table.

After this inauspicious start all went well. The Bellini did arrive after the tomato soup but the service was helpful. Bob would have liked the Spanish waitress Natalie who had an ever-present smile and tried so hard. The formula is a four course meal of soup, sea food and cured meat buffet, mains and desert, all this for under £25.

Little wonder the place was full to the gills with the reception rooms full of diners. There were a lot of families. The soup was a hearty tomato. The buffet had prawns, smoked salmon, salmon, ham and pates and was a meal in itself.

I particularly enjoyed the roast.

Roast beef can be too greasy but these were two slices of succulent  Aberdeen beef.

The desserts – creme brûlée and apple pie – were pre-prepared and the least satisfactory of the 4 courses. The food on offer would make the profit margin tight but we had cocktails and decent Cotes du Rhone for a final bill of just over £100.

i have not stayed at this Hotel du Vin but it was among  the first under Roger Huston who now owns the Pig chain to develop the  boutique concept. I can tell you if I fancied a dirty weekend in Brighton I would prefer to do so here rather than the mausoleums along the sea front particularly with a hearty Sunday lunch afterwards!!!

Daphne Colthard
About Daphne Colthard

After graduating at RADA but finding no roles Daphne went into magazine journalism with Good Housekeeping. Widely recognised as one of the country's leading restaurant and hotel reviewers, particularly by herself, Daphne is the author of "Bedded and Breakfasted", a light hearted chick novel and Grand Hotels DC: the Daffers Dictionary. Daphne lives in West London and is married to an investment banker Oliver. They have 2 boys Humphrey and Tarquin. More Posts