A sunny, seafood lunch at The Jetty
The most recent addition to the city’s thriving food scene, Brighton’s latest seafood eatery, The Jetty, threw open its doors a mere two weeks ago – actually, when I turned up, it didn’t even have a door and the last layers of exterior paint were still being applied – but has already garnered lots of attention for all of the right reasons. Part of the much-anticipated Brighton Harbour Hotel and Spa, a brand new 79-bedroom hotel located right on Brighton’s iconic seafront, the restaurant promises exceptional food in relaxed surroundings and delivers on all counts.
The scene couldn’t have been better set for my visit to The Jetty: it was the hottest day of the year so far; Brighton was abuzz with the multitude of people that always seem to mill its busy streets be it a Tuesday, or a Saturday; and I was really hungry. Given the fact that the restaurant’s soft launch had only taken place four days previously, I had considered getting a snack on the way, assuming inevitable teething problems would mean an understandable bit of background confusion.
How wrong I was. Walking into The Jetty (minus the lack of door, of course, which presented zero problems on such a sweltering day), was like walking into a well-oiled machine – the tables, bar two, were full; the staff were impeccably turned out and ready to recite menu options; and I had a cold glass of champagne and a beautiful plate of dainty ‘Jetty Bites’ in front of me before you could say ‘service please’.
The ‘Catch of the Day’ menu, with a ‘£15 for three courses’ option available at lunchtime from Monday to Saturday and between 6pm and 7pm, Monday to Friday, is a selection of seafood according to what’s fresh and available locally. Inventive dishes include things like octopus, dandelion and seaweed tartare; and hake with quinoa, taramasalata , coriander and almond pesto. We opted for the main menu though, diving into ‘duck and squid’ – an Asian-inspired combination of flash-fried chilli squid served with a refreshing, crunchy salad of carrot, cashew and oyster dressing; and the ‘Jetty crab croquettes’ – really light crab and potato croquettes with a rich centre of crab butter and warm tartare sauce; an unusual choice for a hot day you might think, but not when served as light as these were, like little crispy pillows that pop with flavour in your mouth.
For the main event, what I really wanted was an entire lobster, simply split, cracked and served cold with mayonnaise, or the house ‘fruits de mer’, a generous plate of fresh prawns, mussels, squid, crab, scallop and oysters, which I normally can’t resist. Instead, I chose paella, and that’s because I love it, but I’ve yet to come across a good one in Brighton. Until now. The Jetty paella is a rich, meaty blend of flavours that switches between gamey rabbit, spicy chorizo and sweet, succulent prawns; I found clams, mussels and squid in there too – finally, a paella that’s heavier on fish and meat than it is rice; delicious. If you’re not a fish fan, you needn’t be disappointed, the menu also includes meaty offerings such as veal Milanese; lamb with summer risotto; and prime steak served with frites.
Besides the food, which is, unsurprisingly, cooked by acclaimed head chef, Lee Redman, and really reasonably priced for a hotel restaurant, the interior is eye-catching too. A cool blend of tangerine orange and royal blue banquette seating, slick marble surfaces, flashes of gold and quirky, bespoke lighting, it’s calming and made suitably nautical by abstract prints and paintings relating to all things marine. I recognised restaurant manager, Anthony, immediately; he’s calm and collected much like the rest of the staff, a few of whom I know I’ve spotted in some other reputable local eateries.
In terms of both food and staffing, The Jetty has clearly sourced the best in town and it already shows. I can’t wait for the already very cool, HarBAR’s rooftop bar to open and complete what’s set to soar as a sophisticated and fun addition to Brighton’s food and drink scene.
The Jetty @ Brighton Harbour Hotel
64 King’s Rd