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A la Colthard/ Riddle & Finns and The Salt Room

My readers know how much store I put on greeting.

Thus when I had made a reservation for 2 at midday at Riddle & Finns on the beach I did not expect to stand in a long queue outside the restaurant in burning heat with diners who had not reserved.

The staff were still arriving and the restaurant was not good to go on opening.

Midday had long passed despite the restaurant’s insistence that we arrive punctually and would only have the table for two hours. Further I dislike being asked to give my credit card details to confirm booking.

Grania my guest was appalled to see a little boy in family in the queue sneezing into the air (that is how Covid-19 is initially transmitted), no staff in masks and that, if every table was taken in the  open air, the social distancing was not in place.

So at 12.10 we aborted mission and left.

We went to the Salt Room part of the Metropole Hotel.

You could sit outside but you were very close to the seafront traffic.

Grania approved the social distancing.

We had cocktails and on a limited menu I ordered 6 oysters and monkfish tail on a bed of white beans.

I find monkfish a coarse fish but it barbecued well and combined deliciously with the beans.

At £60 per head the bill was expensive as I only had a glass of Entre-de-Mer at £8 but that high cost was presumably  the cocktails.

Brighton was teeming in the heat.

However between Monday and Thursday the volume of business declines.

The restaurant industry was given a substantial government subsidy but it must practice self-help. If they get the basics wrong then the punter may not return.

Grania noticed at the Salt Room how many clients requested a table as far as possible away from anyone.

So even if a restaurant has a relaxed attitude to the protocols, the diner does not.

In the evening I had at home a delicious pasta of seafood ravioli in a butte and samphire sauce (£7) delivered to my door.

If the restaurant industry does not do better the new normal will be delivery to home and the restaurant visit – as was with mummy and daddy in my youth – a treat !!

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