Due South, Brighton, England

By Jeremy – April 23rd, 2006

Brighton seafront is a busy place, especially in Summertime. Unfortunately, most of the food on offer is of the usual dismal sort: lacklustre fish’n’chips or ice cream. Due South bucks that trend by serving up superb food right on the seafront.

Due SouthDue South is a relatively new restaurant. When it first opened up just over two years ago, it served just tea and a limited range of snacks. But even then, all the ingredients were top-notch. You could get scones with locally produced clotted cream. Now Due South is a fully-fledged restaurant with a continuing commitment to using local, high-quality ingredients.

Rump steakThe meat comes from local farms. When lamb is in season, I highly recommend trying the Ditchling lamb hotpot (Ditchling is a village not too far from Brighton). It’s simply delicious. As for the Sussex rump steak, this is the best steak frites I’ve had outside of France.

But when a restaurant is located right on the seafront, it makes sense to try the maritime dishes. There’s certainly plenty of choice: oysters, crab, scallops, and — my favourite — mackerel.

ScallopsSoy glazed mackerel

The soy-glazed mackerel is pretty darn hearty for a fish dish. That’s one of the reasons why I like mackerel so much: unlike some of the wimpier white fish, it can hold its own when it’s combined with strong, spicy flavours.

Deviled chickenI get the feeling that the ingredients come first here. The restaurant doesn’t adhere to any particular ethnic or national style of cuisine. Instead, seasonal ingredients dictate the direction of the dishes.

Due South couldn’t really be described as cheap. But considering the quality of the ingredients and the fantastic location, it’s remarkably inexpensive. You certainly get what you pay for: the skill of the chef shines through. If this were a London restaurant, the prices would be at least twice as high.

My dining experiences at Due South haven’t been completely without fault. In the past, I’ve been at the receiving end of some pretty shoddy service. I understand that the food is cooked to order and can take quite some time, but that doesn’t explain why getting the attention of a waiter or waitress often took far too long. This has happened when the restaurant was far from full. I got the impression that some of the staff simply couldn’t be bothered.

Thankfully, things seem to have improved greatly. With the good weather returning this week, Jessica and I welcomed the sun with a lunchtime feast at Due South. We sat at one of the wooden tables outside and were treated to fast, attentive but unfussy service — just the way I like it.

The commitment to local produce extends to the dessert selection. Due South serves some of the best desserts I’ve had in Brighton, or anywhere else for that matter. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but the dishes here are always just right: never too sweet or heavy. Expect such delights as elderberry pannacotta, summer berry pudding and home-made ice cream.

Summer pudding

If you don’t like surprises, the restaurant website has up-to-date lunch and dinner menus as well as a wine list. And, yes, even the wine is local:

We serve only English and European wine in order to minimise the distance the bottle travels before it reaches the table.

You can also book through the website. Unlike many web bookings, theirs actually works.

Due South serves up delicious dishes made from local, seasonal and fresh ingredients. Now that the service glitches seem to be ironed out, it can take its place as one of the best restaurants in Brighton. Head along there this Summer. Sit outside or upstairs overlooking the beach and sample some of the best food that local suppliers have to offer.

Due South, 139 Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 2FN, England, +44 (0) 1273 821 218

Comments

Glad to hear the service has improved at Due South. I love the food (pricey but worth it) but the service has, on occasion, been really slow and uninterested. I’m particularly fond of their variations of Eggs Benedict (locally smoked ham or salmon, or spinach) - not quite as buttery as at Talula’s (a good thing).

“Slow and uninterested” is a good way to describe what the service used to be like. Let’s hope that those days are in the past.

The Eggs Benedict is good but what’s really great is the Eggs Florentine when spinach is in season. Mmmm… fresh spinach and eggs from the farm.

# Posted by Jeremy on

I second that—the Eggs Florentine I tried at Due South was stunningly good. I don’t think I’ve ever had such tasty spinach. Their salads are fantastically flavorful as well.

# Posted by Jessica on

I like the fact that Due South seems to care about where its food comes from, and seems to be proud to tell the customer. The only downside is that the last time we were there (admittedly over a year ago now) I came away smelling of chip fat which was a major dissapointment after an otherwise lovely meal… Maybe I’ll try it again this summer.

# Posted by Jane on

I’ve never been to Due South for an evening meal, but for an unscheduled stop for some bbq’d fish during a sunny weekend lunchtime it can’t be beaten.

I know it sounds snobby, but the prices do tend to ensure that you can get a lunchtime table with relative ease too.

I’ve always found the staff to be ok.

We went recently and were HUGELY disappointed. Dry and flavourless rabbit and a ‘so what’ Pork Belly. A real shame. Try The Gingerman - £24 for two courses, £27 for three (Nov 2007) - all absolutely blinding and not in the least nouvelle (as we’d expected).

# Posted by Andrew on

Just went here and found it incredible. Please try the Jurancon Sec Lapeyre France 2007. Interestingly, no trouble with service.

Aperitif: Broad Bean and Truffle Soup, just served in a half-flute glass. I think it was simply divine. I would rate it the best soup I’ve ever had. Ever. (£0)

Starter: Sussex lobster consommé with tagliatelle. I thought this was really pedestrian, actually, and didn’t like it very much. Easily the low point of the meal. (£8.50)

Oysters: “Guest Oysters” 3 for me, with a fabulously simple and tasty onion vinaigrette with a tang, a few drops of Tabasco and lemon. Definitely enjoyed them more than any other oysters I have had (but I have only had raw oysters a few times). (£12 for 6)

Main: The fish special of the day: Sea Bass marinated in Pernod vinaigrette on a pea risotto. I can’t begin to tell you how incredible this vinaigrette was, especially since the tomatoes were marinated in it. The bass was slightly more cooked than I like it, but by very little, and the risotto rice was kind of dull (but risotto rice is usually dull—not the sauce, the sauce was great—but the rice itself). But it didn’t matter because the vinaigrette perfumed it all and the vinaigrette was sensational. (£17)

Side: I ordered hand-cut chips, and the mayonnaise was homemade and heavenly (£4)

Dessert: selection of home made ice creams and sorbet (£6) – strawberry ice cream, lemon sorbet and one other. Also elderflower panna cotta with a gin jelly (£6). The presentation of the latter was remarkable: on a stone slate drizzled in edible gold dust.

# Posted by Kian on

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