Brighton is a world within its own. A welcome escape from London offering a quirky home away from home by the Great British seaside. Independence is celebrated in the Brighton bubble just as it should be everywhere. Celebrated through the fabulous people that live there, the independent boutiques and coffee shops that line The Lanes and the world class food offerings served in some of Brighton’s restaurants. And unsurprisingly food is where our thoughts stayed on our most recent trip to Brighton as we ambled through The Lanes with our tummies grumbling. And lucky for us we stumbled across a real gem. A foodie heaven if you will. Welcome to The Coal Shed, Brighton.
We instantly fell in love with the place as soon as we walked through the door, and that’s before we had even sampled the food. Unlike some of the stuffy and pretentious steak restaurants we have visited in the past, The Coal Shed is relaxed and very much in line with the Brighton Vibe. Dark shades of navy, charcoal and rich woods are offset by twinkling glass pendant lights that pepper the ceiling and a statement bar stocked with some of the finest spirits. We were greeted by the laidback friendly staff and shown to our table in the corner, right by the window, ideal for people watching. The restaurant was buzzing and we were surprised at how many people were dining at 3pm on a Saturday. The lovely waitress offered us an aperitif to start the meal, and of course we couldn’t resist; it was a Saturday date trip after all. I opted for the Rose Water, a delicate blend of Aperol, botanique wine and bitters. David chose to go for the Berry Berry Royale, a mix of gin, hibiscus & berry shrub with citrus and Prosecco. I took my opportunity to steal a sneaky sip whilst he was focussing on the menu. Delicious, although I did prefer my own.
After perusing the menu whilst sipping on our cocktails we had finally decided and placed our orders. To start I opted for the Roast Courgette Soup whilst David decided to go for the Charred Octopus, being by the sea and all. The courgette soup was a delight. I was wracking my brain about whether I had tasted courgette soup before and I came to the conclusion that I hadn’t. Although if they are all as delicious as this particular one I may have to start ordering it more often. The rich creamy soup was sprinkled with feta and sprigs of lovage, served with a warm herby sundried tomato focaccia. David assured me that the charred octopus was also incredibly tasty. Not at all chewy and very fresh, served with ancho potatoes, padron peppers and a bizarre looking squid ink aioli. I must mention that the presentation was superb. Not too fussy and beautifully presented. Beautiful enough to rival some of the Michelin starred establishments that we have visited in the past.
With a glass of white Viognier 1753 Chateau du Campuget in hand (red Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, Perez Cruz for David) we awaited the arrival of our main courses, all the while watching the many passers-by strolling in the late afternoon sun. The spirit of Brighton is almost magical. It draws you in and keeps you returning again and again. Whilst we pondered this thought our main meals arrived. Deep in conversation, the smell actually drew our attention before we even noticed that the waitress was standing at the table with the food. David opted for the classic option of a 200g Filet Steak with a garlic & herb butter on the side. With this he also had chunky beef dripping chips served with a truffled hollandaise mouse as well as creamed spinach with stands of crispy garlic and onion. I couldn’t help but share his chips and spinach and like a true gentleman he obliged. For my own meal, I went veggie. Every good steak restaurant should offer a vegetarian option for the herbivores that have to dine with the carnivores (pescatarians also have options). Only one vegetarian option on the menu often is cause for concern with the quality after all the main focus is steak in a steak restaurant. However my meal was possibly one of the nicest veggie options I have ever had in a meat focussed establishment. I had grilled beetroot with heritage potatoes and cauliflower. The description probably doesn’t do it justice but the beetroot was earthy and rich in flavour and colour and the textures on the plate were heavenly. Rarely do I polish off an entire meal but I the case of The Coal Shed I couldn’t help but finish every last morsel.
Wishing I was wearing an elasticated pair of trousers after such gluttony, the waitress presented us with the dessert menu and although my body was telling me not to be greedy I found myself taking the menu and placing an order. The dessert options were delicious. We shared an Elderflower panacotta with pink gooseberries, yoghurt sorbet and shortbread as well as an unusual selection of homemade sorbets.
We finished off our wine and thanked the fabulous attentive staff at The Coal Shed and went on our way. As we strolled towards the station we discussed our wonderful weekend in Brighton and specifically the amazing food we had enjoyed at The Coal Shed. To us it is no surprise that it has been named as one of the best restaurants in the UK by the Observer Food Monthly Awards. The food is simple, not overly fussy, beautiful presented and unbelievably delicious. They use the highest quality ingredients that have been sourced locally that is evident in the taste. Whether you are looking for a special date night restaurant or a lunchtime snack, the classy yet laidback dining experience at The Coal Shed is one not to be missed.
As well as a seasonal à la carte menu, they also offer daily specials, a great value express lunch and pre theatre menu plus Sunday Sharing Roasts.
For those special occasions, consider the Chef’s Library Room, the private dining room catering for up to 14 people. The room is serviced by your own personal waiter and offers group dining menus starting at just £45 (less for lunch) with no hire fees.
Open 7 days a week from 12pm – 4pm for lunch and 6pm – 10pm for dinner (10.30pm on Friday & Saturday)
For more information or to book please visit www.coalshed-restaurant.co.uk/
The Coal Shed
8 Boyce’s Street
t: 01273 322 998