The Brighton Beach Club opened in December ’18 and sits proud within an iconic glass-fronted building right by the waters edge, boasting some of the finest sea views, a stunning new interior and menus that put it firmly on the Brighton foodie map.
In a city spoilt for choice with eating establishments, first impressions and curb appeal really do count and Brighton Beach Club is certainly eye-catching on approach. The building has been turning heads since the 1950’s, when it started life as a Milk Parlour selling Ice creams and milk shakes. Over the years an art deco second floor has been added and it became a well known family run restaurant.
The team at Brighton Beach Club have clearly thought long and hard about how to make best use of the two levels, creating a relaxed, family-friendly space on the lower ground level and a more sophisticated and romantic setting upstairs.
Being parents of two toddlers, we opted for the more informal approach, entering the venue from the beach level. Just as an aside, there is an incredibly conveniently placed kids playground just next to the entrance which is ideal for letting the littl’uns burn off some energy before grabbing a bite to eat. Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by the Brighton Beach Club team and, despite entering with a large double pram, two very excited little girls, highchair requests and all the regalia that comes with family restaurant visits, we were calmly seated and accommodated with a smile.
The owners are clearly parents themselves as they have thought of everything to make the experience enjoyable. Many restaurants claim to be family-friendly, but in reality, few actually are. To my mind there are some very key ingredients that are required in order to validate that claim and the Brighton Beach Club have nailed every last one. Firstly there is an ingenious ‘Crafty Nippers’ concept whereby, in order to ensure everyone has fun, the team provide every family with a craft pot. Each month they change the craft for the little ones to design, create and colour. Once they have finished they can pop their creation on the ‘craft tree’ and every month a winner is picked and the winning design will win a family meal for 4. The Brighton Beach club have also joined forces with the wonderful Phileas Foggs World of Adventure and will be picking a lucky family every month to win a family ticket to go and be immersed in the magical place.
As if I wasn’t impressed enough with the clam that the craft bucket provided, our waiter was also genned up on the importance of just getting the children’s food out to them as quickly as humanly possible. The little ladies went for fish and chips and sausage and vegetables off the Crafty Nippers menu and, although sounding like your average kids menu dishes, what arrived was just so much more. The fish was beautifully fresh, plentiful, cooked in a light crisp golden batter and the chips were high quality, delicious and cooked to perfection.
The sausage was a gourmet meaty sight to behold, accompanied by carrots and broccoli that were as vibrant in colour as they were on flavour. Hooray for excellent quality, nutritious children’s dishes! I’m so glad the portions were big as it was impossible not to dig in myself. As well as the kids menu, all of the main menu is also available in half portion, half price, and there will also be a smaller portion Nippers menu for the little tots.
The new owners have been very mindful of the unique position the venue enjoys and have kept the tones of the space very natural. The bar is made from reclaimed scaffolding, whilst beautiful blue and white tiles, brick tiles, reclaimed steel and warm wood all make up an area where you can go to relax, eat, drink, hold an event or get married. Both the upstairs and downstairs areas benefit from huge floor to ceiling windows, so diners can look out to sea whilst wining and dining. With the walls being curved, together with the views, it almost reminded me of being on a cruise ship!
As I mentioned before, there are two menus for the grown ups; the brasserie menu and the more formal menu. In both menus the style of food is Modern British and you can eat either menu throughout the venue. So if on your own working over lunch, wanting a great view or a special meal with family and friends you can chose the area to dine in. For those wanting a casual bite to eat, handmade pizza, pasta, a chargrilled burger and an ultimate mixed grill take a starring role, as well as local cheese boards for snacks. For those looking for a fuller dinner or lunch there is a menu which changes monthly and includes sumptuous dishes like Pan fried lamb tournedos, apricot & spinach filling, pumpkin, sage & pearl barley “risotto” or Chargrilled King oyster mushrooms, vegan halloumi, Puy lentils, roasted sweet potato & sherry vinegar dressing.
I decided to order off the more formal menu, as I was unable to resist the lure of Pan fried monkfish, roasted doudie gourde, squid ink risotto, tomato & olive salsa verdes and my husband opted for the brasserie menu’s Chargrilled beef fillet, wild mushroom, shallot & parsley cream sauce on pappardelle pasta with rocket. Both dishes arrived piping hot, filling the air with the scent of fresh ingredients, intelligently balanced and cooked to their optimum. The monkfish, a fish that is so often over cooked, was soft, flakey and just so comforting to eat. Together with the perfectly al dente black squid risotto, the flavours of the sea married beautifully with the vibrant salsa verde. My husband’s eyes lit up when his dish arrived. The beef fillet sat proudly en mass above the fresh pasta and although it appeared a rather substantial dish, the pasta and sauce was so light and flavoursome that it was very easily tackled. It’s clear the Brighton Beach Club chefs have taken time to choose high quality suppliers, be it meat, fish, vegetables or the impressive drinks menu they offer.
The bar is well stocked with craft beers, beautiful cocktails and truly amazing vegan milkshakes! It was important to the team to pay homage to this building’s roots and so you will find an incredible shakes menu which is great for kids and the big kid in us all. Not only does the food menu change monthly, the excellent seasonal craft drink range also changes with the seasons. Catering for all ages and dietary requirements is an important part of the Brighton Beach Club’s offer.
Intrigued as to who the brains behind the beach club are and what their story is, I sat down with Operations Manager Helen Sprason to get the low down….
How was the Brighton Beach Club concept born and why is it unique?
The Beach Club was born from taking inspiration from the iconic building and surroundings. When we were lucky enough to acquire what was Alfresco we knew that we wanted the venue to take on a new format. It is such a wonderful building, in such a brilliant part of Brighton. Being next to the i360 and looking out over West Pier we wanted to create an environment that could be something special for everyone throughout the day. Many beach clubs across the world, like Noosa in Australia are relaxed, but the detail in the service, food and drink offer is exceptional and this is what we want to create in Brighton, with a truly British influence.
Why did you choose Brighton?
As a company, City Pub Company we have 2 other venues in Brighton; The Lion and Lobster and The Walrus are part of our company. Both are unique and we really love being a part of Brighton and its community.
What qualities do you look for when recruiting your team?
People are what make any business; it’s all about personality with a love for talking! We look for people who have an energy about them and who have passion when they are talking about things that matter to them. Educating the team so they are knowledgeable is what will make a business great, confidence shines through when people have the understanding and then they can talk to people with ease. Being kind is also something we look for, mainly because people who look out for others will ensure there is a wonderful atmosphere at all times.
How did you go about creating your menus?
This was a collaboration between our management team and head chef. We have a very clear idea of what we want. We then ensure we balance all areas of the menu so we can ensure we have a varied menu which can change monthly, while keeping some seaside favourites.
Your drinks menus are as exciting as your dishes. How do you select your stock?
We are very passionate about ensuring we offer exceptional choices and so we love getting to meet new people and showcase interesting soft drinks, spirits, coffee, beers, milkshakes and smoothies. There are so many wonderful products out there and we are lucky enough to be able to offer such a large range. We will be hosting beer events, gin events, food and drink pairing events and many more educational events. Our first one is in conjunction with Fishers Gin.
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring restauranteur, what would it be?
For me it’s all about your people and self belief. Sir Richard Branson hits the nail on the head, ‘look after your people and your business will look after itself’. Look after your team, however large or small, and believe in what you are doing. Don’t ever lose sight of what your dream is.
You can book a table now at www.brightonbeachclub.com