Every year, Brighton hosts a cultural festival, for which a few of my soon-to-be guest contributors – namely Megan Manneh and Sophie Read – as well as Tamsin Fewkes and I descended to East Sussex to absorb the local delights of the town.
Brighton is one of the jewels of the southeast coast, yet weirdly not one of this country’s culinary capitals. Especially if you visit the Lanes, where you will find a plethora of restaurants of all kinds and cuisines. You will also find a number of gelaterias in and around that area, one of which being Creams on the high street. A very glitzy, nightclub-style ice cream parlour decorated all in purple, black and silver – complete with a large mirrorball hanging from the ceiling. I sampled one of their bestsellers – the Ferrero Rocher Sundae , while Sophie tried their Banana Split (see both pictured). Sophie is planning a feature on the Top 5 Best Iced Desserts in Brighton, so be on the lookout for that in the next few days.
Back to me though – having been nearly three years since I last ate in Brighton, I thought it was about time to find another place to review. On our travels around the Lanes, I left the girls at another cake and ice cream shop – Cloud Nine by name – and went in search of lunch.
Passing my favourite chocolaterie Choccywoccydoodah (products pictured left and right) – whose upstairs café was at full capacity on this occasion – my attention was then taken by its next-door neighbour – The Bath Arms. According to the plaque outside, it is the oldest building in the original Lanes, having been first established and licensed in 1864, and given the name The Bath Arms four years later.
The first main course on their menu was enough to get me inside – in full, entitled a Herb-crusted Roast Lamb Rump on Purple-Sprouting Broccoli with a Rosemary and Anchovy Dressing (see pictured). An impressive and very friendly level of service was present in this pub, and a real warmth in atmosphere. Legends such as Ray Charles played in the background as I waited for my dish.
I’m never one to complain if a dish takes, say, half an hour to arrive – it implies that it’s being done from scratch and from fresh. Especially when the dish is eventually presented and looks and smells as nice as this one did.
The lamb was a succulent piece of meat, well-flavoured with the herb and breadcrumb topping scattered all over it. A stark contrast, in turn, to the purple-sprouting broccoli, which was cooked al dente. Unusually, adorning the plate were small pools of orange sauce. One normally considers duck to be the meat of choice when it comes to accompanying oranges, and mint traditionally corresponds with lamb. I will say, however, that the combination didn’t taste bad, regardless of the culture shock to the taste buds. The only thing that I was surprised (and disappointed) by was the anchovy dressing, which I could barely detect until the end, when, I suppose, there were no other flavours to dominate it.
My memories of eating in Brighton were not good ones, sad to say, neither of the previous two reviews were particularly positive, primarily down to the level of friendly service, or lack thereof. I am glad to say that my meal here at The Bath Arms – especially down to the attentive service of both barman Dan and waitress Felicity – restored my faith in Brighton dining. This one is a definite contender for this year’s top spot, and I’d happily go back. For the food, at any rate, full marks.