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A la Colthard: Riddle and Finns

Riddle and Finns vies with English’s as the seafood restaurant in Brighton. It took some persuading to shift Bob Tickler from his beloved table 91 on the terrace of English’s but I said I would treat him after his medical ordeal. The weather has been sunny and warm in Brighton so I chose the Riddle and Finn on the beach rather than the one in the Lanes.

The first thing I noticed was English’s attract tourists, chiefly Japanese, whilst Riddle and Finns had more an upmarket English lunching crowd. One lady diner  with a voice like a foghorn pontificated on the Scottish referendum much to Bob’s annoyance; an elderly northern couple feasted on oysters; a blonde attractive slim woman who caught Bob’s eye was there with her young son, treating him to an ice cream. The sun blazed down and the sea lay beyond, making for a carefree holiday view and ambience that could have been Mediterranean. As for the food, I chose squid served with chilli and chorizo. They did not invent the dish but it was fresh and tangy. We both went for grilled lobster but I mobbed up Bob by saying he had to scrape away the garlic butter. The dish was well cooked but you do not have to do much to lobster. I joined Bob in a small glass of Sauvignon which for a lower-end wine was good value and full of citrus. The service was excellent: polite young dishy Englishmen who probably, given Brighton’s reputation, preferred the love that dare not speak its name to the booming  lady diner who could not shut up. I was also attracted to the lay out. We ate al fresco but as you go into the interior you see the kitchen and there is more seating upstairs. The bill was just under £100 which is fair enough. If you avoid the sole , lobster or oysters it would be cheaper.

English’s offer two fixed price luncheon menus whilst Riddle has none. In the end it’s horses for courses. English’s is more classic in the style of Bentleys or Wiltons and whilst Riddle is more innovative in the menu. The interior of English’s where you sit beside  your guest on a banquette facing another  banquette I find too lacking in privacy for girlie talk!!

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