The Coal Shed, Brighton
This post was first published in November 2011.
After London – and Bray if you’re the sort who gets Michelin stars in their eyes – funky, friendly Brighton stakes a serious claim as Britain’s gastronomic capital. In The Coal Shed, it has a steakhouse that is among the UK’s best.
In this, the most cosmopolitan city on the South Coast, chefs enjoy an embarrassment of riches, with access to world-class produce emanating from the Sussex coastline and surrounding countryside. Think artisan cheeses, rare breed animals roaming rolling hillsides, the best of British wine, arguably the freshest seafood in the country and you’re still just scratching the surface.
After pushing the boat way out – I managed a glass of very acceptable sweet wine as well – I remember the bill coming in at around £100, excluding a well-deserved tip. At just over £50 a head for an evening of almost total self-indulgence, the Coal Shed represents very good value. Perhaps you’d expect the tab to be a bit cheaper outside of London, but Brighton clearly feels it has the goods to compete with its northerly neighbour on the dining front. On the basis of this meal, it’s hard to disagree. More frugal diners than ourselves could have enjoyed a perfectly satisfactory meal for less, but with so many good things on offer, self-restraint was out of the question. Of course, I might well be humming a different tune if they hadn’t gotten the steak so right.