Due South, Brighton, England
By Jeremy – April 23rd, 2006
Updated June 2021: Due South is back! It recently reopened in its original location, while Riddle and Finns has moved just a stone’s throw away to the rotunda on top of Shelter Hall. Brighton Beach has become an outstanding place to dine.
Updated: Due South has since closed, but Riddle and Finns is now in the same location and it’s lovely.
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 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.
The 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.
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.
I 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.
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