Thursday, 20 December 2012

English's Of Brighton

A visit to Brighton isn't complete without some seafood, and we certainly indulged in our fair share while there. Manbacon and I had made a reservation for a table at English's of Brighton, but on a wintry Sunday night, there was more than enough space. We were one of only four couples dining at the restaurant that night (and the only ones under 35!). 
The cosy dining room has a lovely fin de siecle feel to it, with it's many mirrors and Toulouse-Lautrec-style paintings on the walls. It gets much narrower at the back, with red velvet banquettes lining the walls, and narrow little tables in front. The space is so tiny that guests have to sit side-by-side instead of facing each other. It was comfortable enough while we were there, with one other couple sitting diagonally across us (the table on the left in the photo above). However, I imagine it would get terribly claustrophobic on busy days, and you'd be trying to eat with someone else's elbow wedged into your shoulder.
Starter of brown bread, butter and mackerel pate
We started with a small basket of brown bread accompanied by butter and mackerel pate. It was tasty but not particularly memorable. The pate wasn't very mackerel-y tasting, just sort of a smoothly blended lump of fish paste.
Seafood platter - two levels of oysters, clams, mussels, prawns, crab and lobster
As you can see, we decided to splurge on the cold seafood platter - a massive two tiers of boiled prawns, mussels, clams, dressed crab, potted shrimp, lobster and raw oysters, as well as some smoked salmon on toast. The platter was accompanied by several lemon wedges, as well as a little ramekin of mayonnaise. 
Smoked salmon on bread, part of the seafood platter
Cthulhu arises from the deep
The platters are fairly expensive, but then again, you get a LOT of food. Most of the shellfish was wonderfully fresh and succulent, and the oysters were generously sized. My only (very slight) gripe was that the prawns were fairly dry and overcooked. The potted shrimps were encased in loads of butter, so much so that even butter-loving Manbacon had to give up after a couple of bites. We should have used the toast supporting our smoked salmon as a base for the potted shrimps, but we're always so much wiser in hindsight, arent' we? 
Dressed crab, partially undressed
Panna cotta on spiced fruit compote

There was no stomach space left for dessert at the end (in fact, Manbacon insisted he didn't want any - foolish human) but I managed to conjure up a second stomach to fit it in. I opted for the panna cotta, served with a spiced fruit compote, and suddenly Manbacon decided he could find some space for dessert, after all. It was a lovely, light end to the meal - the creamy treat slipped down very easily, and managed to leave me feeling refreshed for the short walk back to our hotel.

29-31 East Street

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