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REVIEW: Coal Shed, Brighton

REVIEW: Coal Shed, Brighton

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The Brighton restaurant scene is on fire right now, and nowhere does that ring more true than Coal Shed, with its awesome Josper oven. A dark, romantic cubbyhole specialising in chargrilled meats and fish, this is the place dream first dates are made of.

Where Lucky Beach down on the seafront serves up incredible burgers and brunches in a cheery seaside setting, and theatrical 64 Degrees experiments with deconstructed foods arranged artfully on the plate, Coal Shed revels in the simply cooked and perfectly executed. So celebrated is its earthy approach to cooking that a sister restaurant, The Salt Room, launched with aplomb last week next to the Hilton Metropole Hotel.

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Stripped floorboards, busy blackboards and plenty of wood create a plain, but cosy feel – all focus is on the food. A somewhat anachronistic location on a tiny road off West Street isn’t instantly attractive, but duck inside with a handful of locals and you feel as if you’ve discovered a hidden gem. In a tourist-laden city like Brighton, there’s no better feeling.

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There’s a very reasonable lunch and pre-theatre menu (2 courses £12.50), and Mondays are worth a visit for BYOB and Wine Club – but we touched down on a freezing Sunday night to try the A La Carte offering.

Our starter (pictured first) of slow-cooked octopus with chorizo, polenta and roasted red peppers was the perfect combination of crunch and softness, complemented by a crisp glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Urlar. For mains we sampled a towering prime steak burger, the medium-rare patty cooked to perfection (and served with naughty dripping chips). Our guest tried the local catch of the day, plaice, which was expectedly fresh and fragrant thanks to a scattering of samphire.

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Dessert was (somewhat greedily) a fabulous banana bread pudding with toast custard and miso ice cream – a flavour combination that was new to us and thoroughly enjoyed. Later, a second carafe of wine was enjoyed chatting to the staff – a lovely bunch with a clear passion for the food they’re serving. We’ll be rushing back – but perhaps after an inaugural visit to The Salt Room – we predict great things there, too.

Amy @ FashionBite xx

Website: Coalshed-restaurant.co.uk

Address: 8 Boyces Street, Brighton, BN1 1AN

Amy Everett is FashionBite's food and travel editor, she also writes for national newspapers and magazines including the Guardian Travel, Stylist, Shortlist, Red, Cosmopolitan and more.

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