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A la Colthard: English’s

English’s is Brighton’s best known restaurant . At first blush a clubby seafood restaurant is not my Hermes bag: my experience is that  they are stuffy, business orientated and over expensive. I was the guest of dear old Robert Tickler who was in an expansive mood after the sale of one of his properties . I joshed Robert that surely he could find somebody younger than Daffers and then to repair to a naughlty hotel room on the front. Robert was complaining that his latest poppet was giving him the run around . I told him that he should settle down . He told the story of a dinner once in his father ,a landowner, said he should find a wife. This was supported by all the other ladies around the table not least his mother . When the hubbub died down his father continued ” Yes Robert should find a wife and suffer like the rest of us.”

Back to English’s we ate outside as it such a lovely day and the ambience  was enhanced by a quartet playing and singing  songs from the american songbook. the music and bellinis made Daffers heady  and wonder what life might have been like as Mrs Robert Tickler. Would I be orgainising the hamper for Royal Ascot?

The English’s interior is red plush in the belle epoque style. You half expect to see Toulouse Lautrec emerge from one of the  tables . There is also a marble oyster bat. English has been run by the Lloyd Jones family since 1945 and is proud of its reputation. I ch0se  off the set menu priced at £28 for 3 courses . My sea food cocktail ia Marie Rose sauce was reliable but its difficult to go wrong.  For mains I chose sole bonne femme served in rich cheese sauce on a bed of spinach. This reminded me of that 60s institution Wheeler’s with its variety of sole . The dessert strawberry tartlet with a pimms sorbet was the most successful dish of all to our right were a couple of sporty blondes  who by their size are ladies who lunch rather too often. Aren’t  I a bitch? To our left  was a much younger couple who much to Robert’s annoyance spent all their lunch peering into their mobiles and texting .Perhaps it was to each other.

If the food was more reliable than sensational I will forgive this as its such fun place to people watch in Brighton. We arrived early and I thought they were serving us rather too quickly to re use the table but they may have been avoiding pressure in the kitchen . The manager was jolly round man and looking at  trip advisor he replied to every review personally which is a nice touch.

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