19 January 2011
REVIEW: The Chimney House, Brighton
Sunday roasts are not usually something I go out for as Sunday dinner is typically a family affair at home, but the last couple of weeks, for one reason or another, I have found myself in front of a piled plate of British tradition. Brighton is graced with some real gems for pubs and the quest for the best local Sunday roast is like some holy grail and everyone seems to have an opinion on it. Recently I went to Marco Pierre White's new venture in Maresfield which as ok, but I don't think you can beat a "proper" cozy pub. After a bit of research* I chose The Chimney House, nested in the residential area just beyond Seven Dials.
What I liked about The Chimney House was that it has successfully found that comfortable yet difficult balance of gastropub/proper pub with a sprinkling of Brighton quirk. Most of the pub was set up for dining and the mood was spot on for some informal lunchtime indulging.
Starters were enticing with Jerusalem Artichoke soup, Beetroot and Horseradish cake with Beetroot Tempura and Spicy Beetroot Mousse or a Seared Pigeon amongst the offering but I had my eye on one of the puddings.
Worth mentioning is their excellent wine list, all available by the glass. I had a rather nice (and rather large) glass of One Chain's 'The Opportunist' Sauvignon Riesling.
Roast options were either Sussex Beef or Pork with crackling. Vegetarian options were Butternut Squash Nut Roast or a pan-seared Wild Sea Bass. I chose the beef which arrived in two generously thick, meltingly tender slices with crunchy roast potatoes, a lush herb Yorkshire pudding and and a good selection of perfectly cooked vegetables (served on the plate and not in irritating little side bowls - yay!!). I honestly couldn't fault this roast, it was perfect in every way, great quality ingredients and beautifully cooked. The pork was also very good with cracking crackling, encouraging most on our table to push through to clean plates. I would say that the price paid here (£12.50) is what the average roast costs in town now, but The Chimney House offering is far above average in quality so worth every penny.
I was sat right in front of the unbelievably tiny open kitchen and just gawped in awe of the chefs, turning on sixpences with grace, constantly sending out beautiful plates of food - everything looked great. The fish dish, the three tiny loves of bread served with the cheese board - heck even the nut roast looked great!
Thoroughly satisfied after demolishing the roast, a pudding was not needed but as it was Sunday I was indulging. A good selection of desserts are offered, I chose the Lemon Cream Posset, studded with Pomegranate served with plum sorbet (£5.25). This was exactly what I needed, a refreshing, sherbetty posset and although I didn't think the pomegranates offered much other than something to pick out of your teeth, I was quite happy with my choice. Better though was Mr GF's White Chocolate Bread and Butter pudding with Creme Anglaise (£5.25), which was lighter and silkier than the usual stodgy incarnation of this dish. The Apple, Pear and Red Wine Crumble also looked good and perfect for the chilly weather.
We called to book (recommended) and I thought it was really good of the staff to mention the arrival of a very large table of people so we adjusted our time slightly to fit in with them, preventing a long wait for our food. This attention to detail seems to run thoughout the pub from the interior to the food, drinks and staff which makes it such a winner.
The Chimney House
28 Upper Hamilton Road,
Brighton BN1 5DF
* The Cask, Royal Oak Poynings, The Ginger Pig or the Chimney House's sister pub The Preston Park Tavern are also highly rated and on my hit list for next time.