At time of writing we are now in week Six of restrictions that have been placed on all our lives. Brighton’s famous and thriving restaurant scene is in now in serious need of support from us residents, as many of our much-loved eateries have been forced to close their doors to the public until this awful pandemic gets under control. Some are offering takeaway and delivery services so you can still enjoy food from your favourites. Absolute Magazine will be keeping you all up to date on what is on offer, and I will often be posting reviews of the takeaway options available here on our website so please visit regularly to keep up to date on what is going on in our wonderful city.
Over a month after closing their doors due to the restrictions, Petit Pois, an absolute favourite of ours that I have returned to time and time again since my first visit towards the end of last Summer and has never failed to impress, has decided to open up once again over weekends for collection and delivery only. When I heard this, I wasted no time at all and got straight on the phone to them to arrange a lunchtime treat to ease the pain and monotony of lockdown.
I spoke with Ivana who was only too pleased to hear from us and take our order. We had already perused the new “Petit Pois delivered” menu on their website, which regular visitors will recognise is not all that different to their regular dining-in menu, with a variety of tantalising fish meat and vegetarian options along with a selection of nibbles and sides as well as meat, cheese and mixed platters, and of course a wicked selection of desserts. Being a lunchtime we decided not to go overboard, myself, preferring to have a starter and main and forgo desert plumped for some nibbles of frogs legs and some of their delicious home baked Sourdough bread with Guerande sea salt butter, followed by Ox Cheek Bourguignon with sides of garlic mash and mixed greens for my main, while my wife Sally, who would always rather skip a starter to save room for dessert, opted for the somewhat lighter main course option of cured salmon with buckwheat blinis, sour cream, lemon, mixed leaves and pine nuts, and a crème caramel from Petit Pois’ irresistible dessert offerings.
Collecting was easy, with plenty of spaces to park right outside on Middle Street. Despite it being heart-breaking to see this normally lively warm and welcoming restaurant devoid of customers, it was comforting to find all the recommended precautions are being adhered to. The pristinely clean restaurant itself is totally devoid of staff, apart from one solitary extremely hardworking chef busily preparing meals and serving them up on the service counter for customers to collect. As we chat, pangs of hunger are aroused by the incredibly rich aromas of garlic, herbs and truffle associated with French cuisine that regular visitors will be familiar with. I cannot wait to get home and tuck in.
Safely home with our bounty we decide to compliment our meal with a bottle of Wooing Tree 2016 “Blondie” we have been saving since our wedding a couple of years ago, which we get stuck in to as we unpack. Everything comes in bio-degradable packaging, with sauces and dressings and condiments all packed in tubs separately and clearly labelled to counteract the chance of pouring the wrong sauce on your dinner.
I nearly always order Frogs Legs to nibble on when I dine at Petit Pois., I just love these delicate little morsels encased in a pungent garlic and herb crisp breadcrumb batter that is perfectly mellowed by the accompanying creamy tartare sauce. They have a positively unique full flavour and velvety texture which is incomparable to anything I have tried before. Today was no exception and I am happy to report they were as exquisite as ever. I only wish I had ordered another portion!
Moving swiftly on to the mains, Sally’s cured salmon had a divine smooth sashimi-like texture and a citrusy zing. This along with the thick homemade sour cream cut through the fishiness beautifully, creating a lovely well-balanced mix of flavours to savour with each mouthful.
My ox cheek was beautifully cooked so it disintegrated in the mouth releasing the full taste of the most delicious and tender meat a cow has to offer; the perfect vehicle for the powerful stew filled with tender chunks of salty pork, mushroom, along with plump onions and carrots and a deeply rich red-wine base. The decadent creamy mash I added as a side was perfect for soaking up all the excess juice and had a wonderful pungent garlicky kick of its own which could not even be overpowered by the gastronomical marvel that was the bourguignonne. My other side dish of mixed greens I would have been happy with as a main in itself. Crisp, fresh and licentiously drenched in an ever-so French garlic and parsley butter. Magnifique.
I was generously allowed a small mouthful of Sally’s crème caramel dessert and that is all it took to blow me away! Initially dubious as to how this would travel, my doubts melted as quick as the creamy classic vanilla dessert did in my mouth. I am not sure if I will ever get over not ordering one myself!
Being a regular visitor to Petit Pois and having experienced their incredible contemporary French cuisine on several occasions, I am delighted that they have opened their doors once again so I can get my fix. The quality of the food has most certainly not waned with their takeaway offerings. I wish them the very best of luck with this new endeavour and just hope we get to experience our favourite cosy bistro as its meant to be enjoyed soon. Order now for delivery on Deliveroo or call the number below to arrange a collection.