Feasting by the Sea in Brighton:
Taking The-Hedonist as my companion for a trip to Brighton meant the trip was always going to end up as foodfest. While I am easily tempted, he is happy to suggest culinary indulgences that are not for the faint-hearted. With him I’ve lunched at Pollen Street Social, then gone on to drink pisco sours and somehow ended up eating a second lunch at Ceviche. That kind of thing has happened on more than one occasion, usually on the pretext of ‘we might not be here again soon’. Of course, if you stick to eating seafood it’s not quite as bad as it sounds – a naturally low fat, low-calorie option. And, any trip to Brighton should involve eating a lot of fish. It is, after all, the seaside.
My itinerary for Brighton involved trying the fish and chips on Brighton Pier. There’s a dine-in restaurant, but the 2 for 1 offer from Thameslink is actually for a takeaway. And who would want to be sitting indoors when there’s plenty of space on the pier itself to eat the light, crispy cod and try your best to avoid eating TOO many of the traditional fish shop chips. If anyone ever asks you where to get fish and chips, this surely has to be one of the best options – even if you can get a more foodie version at Poppies in Spitalfields – you just don’t get the view, the salty sea breeze and the holiday atmosphere. Even if you do sometimes feel as if you are being stalked by seagulls.
If you are looking for something more upmarket though, there are plenty of options in Brighton. Staying at Drakes Hotel, a charming Boutique Hotel on the seafront, I decided to focus on the cocktails at the bar (also on a 2 for 1 offer through Thameslink) and breakfast the next morning rather than indulging in their fine dining menu.
Of course I regretted it, though I couldn’t possibly have fitted in any more food, though I tried my best at breakfast the next day. But, that just means I’ll have to go back another time. So, after our rather wonderful cocktails we set off for Riddle and Finn on the Beach.
I’m hoping, gentle reader, that if you decide to try Riddle and Finn on the Beach for yourself, the work on the promenade will be completed. The restaurant is built into one of the arches of the promenade and so it should have a stunning view. But right now there’s a bit of a building site blocking some of the view. Of course, that doesn’t affect the food and we were impressed by the quality of everything we were served at Riddle and Finn.
Bread came with an assortment of fishy condiments.
We started with a stunning Seafood Platter. For me, the only weakness were some tiny black shellfish, apparently sea-snails, which were almost impossible to remove from their shells and once picked, really not worth the effort. A meal in itself this would have been plenty without the main course.
But, we’d already ordered – and I have no regrets! Grilled Lobster was perfectly cooked and dressed with a garlicy butter. It came with a small salad garnish and a side order of fries.
Meanwhile The-Hedonist indulged in Dover Sole served on the bone. No complaints from him at all about the fish, with its mushroom and parsley garnish.
Neither of us could manage a dessert – but Riddle and Finn do have a selection of truffles on offer
We walked back along the promenade, looking out to sea.
There’s something quite magical about Brighton at night, when most of the tourists have left and only the die-hard party crowd remain.
The next day I had to avoid indulging in the breakfast muffins and pastries at Drakes, though they did look delicious
Instead, I went for the a la carte full English breakfast (without eggs), which arrived quickly and was perfectly cooked
We’d decided that a return visit to English’s was in order – to try some oysters – we tried a mixture of natives and rocks from the same oyster farm and both agreed that the natives had the edge, with a slightly more delicate flavour.
After the oysters, yet more Lobster, this time a cooked Lobster Thermidor, a rather retro dish which I think might just need a bit of rethinking. One of my favourites when I was a student and someone was treating me, it now seemed just a little too heavy a treatment for the delicate lobster
But our sides of fries and buttered spinach were delicious, as was the glass of Nyetimber we chose to accompany the oysters.
English’s hasn’t really changed since I was a student in Brighton. It’s still an elegant and quirky seafood restaurant, somewhere to go for a treat. And, next time I’ll order the grilled lobster!
Our final foodie pitstop was somewhere that has become an iconic part of Brighton very quickly. Choccywoccydoodah is an art and design focused chocolaterie and I was keen to check inside. That was definitely not a good idea, once there, we HAD to try one of their famous brownies
Definitely worth the ‘moment on the lips’ It’s another place to add to my ‘need to come back when I’m seriously hungry’ list.
I went to Brighton with Thameslink Railway and Great Northern 2 for 1 offers to try a few experiences that were simply outside my budget as a student, thirty or so years ago. There are more offers available in Brighton and some pretty amazing opportunities in London and Cambridge too. So now that the weather seems to be getting better why not Shout HELLO to spring and make the most of the lighter evenings when you go on an adventure by train! You can get your hands on over 150 fabulous 2 for 1 offers on a range of museums, zoos, attractions and more for a fantastic fun filled day out / weekend and say hello to super savings on spring time adventures by train!
Disclaimer: I was provided with expenses and a fee to cover my time for this trip to Brighton, all views are editorial and I selected which of the 2For1 offers I wanted to try.