Picture perfect dining on the beach
Where? Due South, 39 Kings Road Arches, Brighton Beach, N1 2FN (01273 821 218, www.duesouth.co.uk)
Why? Venturing onto Brighton beach on a blustery autumn evening might not sound like a great night out, however it would be a mistake to bypass this little gem and miss the surprises hidden within the old fishermens’ arches.
But isn’t it all thumping bars, sweaty clubs and fish and chips down on the seafront?
There are a few of those, but you can also find some more sophisticated places tucked away here too, most notably the restaurant Due South. Welcoming, relaxed and cosy, if you can bag a table in the window, you can watch the waves crash onto the shore as it blows a gale outside (as it was when I was there). In the summer, meanwhile, you can dine out on the terrace with the ultimate sea view, which makes for a completely different, but equally enjoyable experience.
What’s on the menu? The food here is fantastic. With a menu that changes every month using seasonal food and local organic produce, it’s exciting, inventive and sophisticated, without being intimidating. The staff are knowledgeable and helpful, should any of the dishes need explaining, but don’t be fooled by their informal manner, they’re very much on the ball. Dishes range from hearty game and local meat, to the freshest fish, all from sustainable sources, and the passion and confidence of the chefs here is on display for all to see thanks to the open kitchen design. Stand-out dishes included the foraged mushrooms starter, which includes local wild mushrooms of different varieties cooked and served in different ways; it might sound complex, but it was simply delicious. The Court Garden lamb main, meanwhile, was perfectly cooked and perfect for a chilly night. We washed it all down with a very gluggable and light Fleurie ‘Vielles Vignes’ Jocelyne Depardon 2006. The puddings didn’t disappoint either, and we chose well with a delicious Cox apple & wild blackberry panacotta and an incredible chocolate fondant… possibly the best in town.
…and to drink? I always like to spend time perusing a restaurant’s wine list, often to the annoyance of whomever is in my company, and Due South’s makes for an interesting read. With organic and biodynamic wines, serious Champagnes and some heavy duty plonk for the real wine buffs, all with useful descriptions to help you choose, you really can’t go wrong. There’s also a great selection of local beers and ciders, and an impressive range of non-alcoholic alternatives, too.
Need to know… Due South also offers a bespoke outside catering service, and are as happy cooking for huge parties as they are a meal for two in your home. If you can pass the cooking off as your own, you’ll probably receive a proposal of marriage (if you do, you can even get hitched at Due South, as it’s also the only place on Brighton beach with a wedding and civil partnerships licence!)