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Stanmer House

In my recent review of Brighton restaurants I omitted Stanmer House sometimes called Brighton’s hidden jewel.

Stanmer House is more or less opposite the Amex stadium in Falmer adjacent to the university and a refreshing alternative to the busy restaurants in the Lanes or on the seafront. It’s set in huge grounds where picnickers like to gather. The house is  something of a stately home and houses three large dining rooms, which are salons with paintings, and period furniture with the  advantage of space between tables. One of Daffers dislikes  is  a table for two rammed so close to its neighbour that you have little comfort amd less intimacy. Italian restaurants are the worse culprit. I don’t want somebody’s backside in my tortellini when he/she leaves, let alone listen to some amateur stumbling at seduction!!!

As we drove there – our party including Bob Tickler, Carol and Jamie – I said that I fancied roast beef it being a Sunday. I was promptly reminded by Jamie cleverclogs that it was actually Monday. I observed whenever I fancied beef for a roast I was inevitably disappointed. It’s not as if roast beef is so hard to cook.

I had a first course of white crabmeat, a sort of timbale with zesty citrus fruits which was too delicious. I cannot praise a restaurant enough for such invention and creation of flavours. Sadly though my fears of mediocre roast beef proved well founded. The beef was fatty, hard to cut and served in a cloying gravy. The veg, including a vast slab of Yorkshire pud, were all well but not over-cooked and tasty. Sussex is full of farms with local produce. What is the problem here? The dessert – a magnificent combination of strawberry sorbet, though I ordered havana rum, fresh strawberries and a compote – restored my faith in this restaurant. At £30 per head, the wine list (mainly new world) is surprisingly cheaply  priced, Stamner House is good value and the service friendly and efficient. Aside from the three dining rooms, there is a lounge and bar that serve more snack food and afternoon tea. Afterwards what can be nicer than a stroll in the grounds? Run by catering group Whiting & Hammond who have other venues it shows that a big company can run a restaurant operation successfully.

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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