I have a good friend who shares my love of good food and wine, and who regularly spoils me by taking me out to a decadent lunch or sumptuous evening meal. The food is invariably fabulous, as is the wine, and we always have so much to talk about that we are usually the last to leave. The other day we went back to one of Brighton’s top restaurants; One Paston Place.
One Paston Place used to be run by a formidable French lady, who scared me senseless until I spotted her on the bike next to me at the gym during a particularly brutal spinning class. A bond was instantly formed and after that she always made me feel very welcome.
But she and her husband left, and I understand that they have opened up a place somewhere in the south of France. And the new owners have upped the ante and transformed One Paston Place from a very good, but somewhat stuffy establishment into what is probably Brighton’s finest restaurant. As some of the reviews (see below) point out, this is the kind of food usually associated with top London eateries at three or more times the cost.
We decided to go for the “everyday menu”, which at £19 per head for three courses is fantastic value for money. Neither of us could resist the stuffed sardines with crisp cauliflower florets and sauce tartare to start with. The flavours were wonderful, but there was just so much of it! I couldn’t help myself and so finished every morsel on my plate; not a good idea to fill up on the first course when you’re having three.
The sardines were followed by a gloriously rich pheasant fricassee with braised Swiss chard and balsamic caramelised shallots for me and roast saddle of rabbit with Jerusalem artichoke purée for my friend. We drank Chateau de Gironville 2001, a very classy claret, which accentuated the food perfectly.
After a much needed break we selected a dessert each. My friend had the chocolate fondant and I, with the good intentions of looking for something light, couldn’t resist the hazelnut praline. We were (as usual) seduced by the list of dessert wines, and when our glasses arrived it was love at first sight, the glasses the wine was served in were tré chic. I must get my hands on some of those.
We finished off a wonderful lunch with a cup of decaf cappuccino for my friend and a pot of peppermint tea for me.