There are not that many restaurants directly on the seafront of Brighton and Hove that lend themselves to an evening meal. We have a few daytime dining options and of course the obligatory fish and chip shops and ice cream parlours but apart from that we are surprisingly limited. Riddle and Finns (was once Due South), and Alfresco seem to be our only upmarket and centrally located options.
I visited Alfresco on a warm evening (at last our summer seems to have arrived) and sat upstairs in the Rotunda, looking out to sea, with a sun dipping to my right and a beautifully coloured sunset.The Rotunda restaurant has an art deco feel to it and reminds me a little of the captains deck on a ship. Completely surrounded by glass windows and the terraces outside, in a contemporary room of deep reds, it’s a relaxing and sophisticated venue with stunning views.
From my seat I can see the Sussex coast line at its best, the West Pier, the still sea, the lilac skies and to my partner’s great joy the advancement in the building of the I360, which he has a lot of questions to ask the waitress on and she is indeed very knowledgeable about the whole I360 building process. Not just a pretty face and an attentive waitress. You really could not find a restaurant closer to what will be an iconic landmark of Sussex.
Alfresco’s head chef, John Dickson has won 2 AA rosettes at his previous job at Burnham Beeches and was also Sous Chef at Cliveden House, so we are looking forward to something a bit special.The food is ‘modern Italian classics’ and I admit to taking quite some time to choose as there is nothing worse than food envy!
My dining partner and I share a starter of Calamari (the black aioli dip is lovely) and Crab Terrine (light and fresh).My next course of Tuna Steak Salad is delicious.I can’t abide it when a tuna steak has been overcooked, so was happy to cut in to a pink-as-you-like, flashed to the pan steak that literally melted in the mouth.My partner’s verdict on his Calzone, of which the chef was happy to reinvent the filling to his taste, and a dish which he usually has at one of his regular haunts, was that it was lighter and less ‘doughy’ than his usual and got the expert calzone eater thumbs up!
By day the Shoreline Restaurant, which is practically on the pebble beach, with the front of the restaurant opening out on to a terrace, is an ideal setting for lunch, drinks and coffee and would make the perfect setting for a wedding reception.
Day or night Alfresco gives the closest you can get to beachfront dining, offering lovely food in a superb location.