Tuesday, September 02, 2008

the last lunch at Brighton's BROWN's -musings on UK cuisine

We have enjoyed so many meals in England the past 10 days or so, and the last day, we took Samuel and his Uncle Jeff to lunch in Brighton after some clothes shopping (we actually found a great discount store!) at BROWN's on Dean Street, located in the Lanes of Brighton (an historic district revitalized just off the seashore). Brown's is about 40 years old and has lots of charm, potted palm ferns and leather banquets and lots of charm. The menu is large and it was hard to choose. We ordered up a TOMATO & MOZZARELLA FLATBREAD appetizer for Samuel, which he gobbled up with his fizzy lemonade, a treat he has come to adore here in England and will surely miss at home.

The rest of us split an appetizer of the SMOKED CHICKEN & GRILLED ARTICHOKE FLATBREAD with Rocket (you will recall, I hope, that this is Arucola) which the Brits seem to really think is a special treat as they charge lots more for it than regular field greens. The flatbread has fluffy crusts and was quite tasty, b ut could have used one more slice of chicken and artichoke.

I enjoyed a glass of Domaine due Vedihan Viognier and my superb SWORDFISH with Sauteed Potatoes, Avocado and Cherry Tomato Salsa, although I would not have called it "salsa," as they were really just slightly cooked and marinated in oil with a couple of onion tidbits. The fish was excellent and I loved the simple preparation. Jeff had the SALMON & SPRING ONION FISHCAKES with Mango Salsa (this was salsa) and Dressed Mixed Leaves (I am glad they were not naked!) which were quite good but a bit too heavy on the breading as opposed to the salmon for my taste (we are SO spoiled by our cakes--esp. crab-- back home). Will loved his BROWN's BACON CHEESEBURGER with crisp streaky dry cured bacon, Emmental, iceburg lettuce, tomato, pickle and chips (again, that's fries). It came with a celeriac coleslaw I was hoping to taste as Will does not usually care for cole slaw, but he devoured the whole pile saying it was great.

Samuel was the only one for a pudding this time as it came with his and the Fresh Strawberries with ELDERFLOWER JELLY (we would call it Jell-O) was superb. A small mold of yummy perfumey jelly embedded with wild blueberries and brambles (small blackberries) that were divine.

It was a fun way to end our last meal out. We started numerous days with superb breakfasts included at some hotels we stayed in, but my most interesting new dish was KEDGEREE with Smoked Trout and Poached Egg. Kedgeree is basically a risotto style preparation of harder yellow rice and the smoked trout is within and the egg on top...a truly new way to start the day. One day we enjoyed very traditional FISH & CHIPS, and while it was tasty, we felt truly imposed upon to pay an extra pound for a buttered roll, and 20 pence (37cents) for each small container of ketchup as it does not come with the chips. At one point when I stepped up to the counter to grab some extra napkins, I was sure the woman was going to charge me for that!

So many people have badmouthed the food in England over the years and I must tell them, it is time to admit that the food here is interesting, varied, fun, excellent and well worth the trip!