When the well-informed Polly, Bob Tickler’s p/a, said there was a two starred Michelin rosette restaurant in Kemptown we all got terribly excited. Last night Bob, a French mutual friend and I checked it out.
I liked the lay-out of 3 salons, two adjoining and facing the road and a smaller one at the back. The advantage is that with the restaurant 75% full in the two larger salons you feel an ambience. I would describe the food as post-cuisine nouvelle. We experienced such cuisine in Nice not always with universal approval. The prices were fair with dishes highlighted to illustrate a fixed menu charged at £26. I like a restaurant that offers fixed price menus at dinner as well as lunch. I ordered scallops and all of us beef fillet. We let our French friend chose the wine, a Crozes Hermitage in a rather uninspired wine list.
The food was big on presentation and delicate sauces and small on portions. I prefer to order my veg, not have to have them prettily stacked and chosen by the chef. It rather reminded us of Cap Estel when Bob was presented with a noisette of lamb no bigger than a 50p piece. The best dishes were a Mojito sorbet suffused with rum as a palette cleanser between courses. It was so refreshing that after a local cheese board of Sussex cheeses I spoiled myself with a gin and tonic sorbet.
The bill at just under £45 per head without service was not excessive but our French friend was critical of the service: there was no attempt to serve the wine and she felt they were disrespectful when she asked for her coat. Kemptown is lively gay area of Brighton that stretches from Brighton Marina to the Pier. The restaurant may not attract the weekend visitor who tends to stick to the sea front and centre while the more affluent resident tends to live in Hove, actually.
Of irritation to Bob was a loud-mouthed youngster who was probably drunk and was liberal with the F word. He appeared to be in the financial world which set Bob off on how standards have dropped off in the City. Personally I found his tousled hair like a young Boris rather attractive but I was the wrong age and more importantly the wrong sex!!!