There are TOO MANY beautiful haunts in Brighton that not only have exquisite food, but lush interiors and a real friendly atmosphere. Where do you go first? Where should you visit if you're coming to the city?
Well say hello my new feature,
Bringing you the best places to book in for delicious food and interior inspiration. Two of my favourite things.
This time Neil and I visited a restaurant that's pretty renowned around these parts for their delicious steak.The Coal Shed, right in the centre of Brighton are specialists in grilled meat and red wine combos, and we tried their pre-theatre menu for a slice of the action.
It was our first time inside the restaurant and upon entering on a cold windy eve, I was delighted to be ushered in to a nice warm seat. The restaurant sits facing a tiny alleyway/road with some tables dotted near the entranceway.
A pet hate of mine when heading out for a bite to eat this time of year is being seated near the door because of the blustery winds as guests arrive but The Coal Shed are already ten steps ahead of the game.
Many restaurants in Brighton need to listen up and install a heavy fabric entranceway like the Coal Shed have, great if they have tables near doors. It keeps the draft well out of the room and it feels really swanky slipping in from the street.
So this, I loved.
We had a really lovely waiter who made us feel so relaxed the entire eve. He let us set the pace of the night which is rare in Brighton restaurants.
Think about it, sometimes after dinner, you need a 15 min breather and a glass of wine before you can manage a dessert, but usually the third course comes straight out. Well not here, thankfully. Our waiter told him to give us the nod when we were ready for our third course so I didn't have to keep stuffing my face after the filling and tender pork.
This is the kind of service we love :)
Straight on to what we ordered..
The starters were very hard to choose between on the pre-theatre menu. All of them sounded sizeable and tasty. I opted for the spinach and watercress soup as a light pre-curser to the meat ahead, and Neil gave the Venison Scotch Egg, Celeriac Remoulade and Walnut a spin.
My soup arrived in a very sweet jug with croutons and cress which I thought was a really lovely touch. I could eat half the soup really hot, and the other half stayed warm inside the jug for me. It's the little touches. Some great soda bread on the side too, my favourite accompaniment with any soup.
I will say, I had slight food envy looking at Neil's plate. The walnut combination with the scotch egg gave a bit of crunch and we spent a solid 5 minutes chatting about how the chef could possibly create a scotch egg with a perfect SOFT boiled egg in the middle. Miraculous.
Looks delicious right?
The restaurant have a fantastic selection of wines to choose from by the bottle or glass. We're more red wine drinkers and were pleased to see wines from every country imaginable on the menu. We opted for this Spanish Neumero Nueve Tempranillo which complimented mains perfectly, sweet and medium bodied.
For mains Neil of course chose the Chargrilled minute steak , chips and salad and I the Chargrilled pork chop, caramelised onion with pineapple and Jerusalem artichoke.
I commented on how refreshing it was to have a meal so filling minus the carbohydrates. If anyone leans towards a more paleo way of eating (something I tried and had difficulty in keeping up when out at restaurants) the Coal Shed can really cater for this and you'll no way be left hungry.
I was glad I asked for mustard alongside the Pork as it absolutely made the meal :-) I have such an obsession with mustard these days...
Following the last of our wine we dived into our pudding which to me encompassed everything I love in desserts - variety, warmth and sweet runny cream. The Clementine cheesecake accompanied with warm gingerbread and dressed with a sweet pansy was divine. I had a scoop of Neil's fruit sorbet which was not as overpowering as it looked, and just the right after dinner delicate flavour.
Now on to the decor!
The atmosphere in the Coal Shed was cosy, homely and warm, very different to the Salt Rooms (The Coal Shed's sister restaurant) we reviewed last month. The Coal Shed is a smaller restaurant, the layout is very simple in comparison with the grand, large Salt Rooms and for that reason I got on well with the enclosed, intimacy the space created. I still couldn't choose a favourite though. Both had their appeal.
In terms of architectural elements, the brickwork in the Salt Room wins it for me, if I had to compare the two. But that's not to say the Coal Shed isn't special interior-wise. It certainly has it's homely charm.
The heavy velvet entranceway, the wood effects running through the restaurant and the industrial lighting dotted around the bar and back tables gave it a similar rustic edge the Salt Room carries. I'd give it a definite 10/10 for atmosphere in this restaurant, too. Every table was filled, every face had a smile on, and we were waited on hand and foot.
A fantastic place to come for lunch or a meal to celebrate something special.
Visitwww.coalshed-restaurant.co.ukto view the full lunch and pre-theatre menus and mains.
Photography all by Neil William Shaw
A big thanks to The Salt Room for offering this experience to me complimentary. All words and views my own.