It is all about Location, Location, Location as the popular property TV program tells us, and restaurants can also live or die on location alone. One Brighton restaurant that has certainly done well on this front is the Copper Clam. Situated in Kings Road arches it has fabulous seafront views, or at least will do once the coastal building work is complete.
Being so close to the sea you will not be surprised to hear that they specialise in seafood, the name is a bit of a clue also. They also serve steaks for those who are less keen on the bounty of the sea, with some vegetarian options as well. I had not heard much about this restaurant and so was interested to see what they had to offer, especially given their excellent location.
The restaurant is nicely presented with the ever-popular exposed brickwork and a clean and modern interior. It is a nice place to sit and gaze out at the sea whilst you peruse the menu and enjoy a drink. The menu itself does not take too long to look over. There are some interesting sounding dishes, and a nice selection of oysters, but it does not get me excited. Not that there is anything wrong with a simple menu, I am a fan of honest food done well, but a menu should excite and entice.
We place our order and opt for a bottle of Riesling to go with the meal. The wine is good but this is overshadowed by the quality of the wine glasses, which were thick and clunky. It may seem a little thing, but this affected my experience and enjoyment of the wine.
Our starters arrive promptly. My scallops with Pernod and Gruyere (£6.50) look a little underwhelming and oily. They taste okay, if a little underdone, and lack the impact that you expect from a scallop dish. My friend’s bruschetta with tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and garlic is immense in size and a little unrefined. The classic flavours are evident there is just a lot of it to get through.
Our mains follow swiftly after and it is more of the same. My skate with black butter and capers (£17.50) is a confusing plate of food, and the enormous orange plate does not do the dish any favours. The tender and delicate skate is the highlight of the dish, unfortunately the rest of the plate doesn’t do the fish justice and lacks any real purpose. My friends fillet steak with chimichurri (£22) is good. The meat is smoky and has been well rested, but again the plating and sides lack attention to detail. It is a disappointing meal and feel like little thought has gone into the plating and composition of the dishes.
We skip dessert, feeling full from the large portions and not all that enthused, and leave a little perplexed about the experience. The Copper Clam is a restaurant that has a fantastic location and is a pleasant enough place to sit. Unfortunately, it is the finer details that have been overlooked, and these are important in a restaurant. If the same level of attention is given to the food that has been taken over the venue, then I could see this becoming a popular venue. They need to stop relying on the location so much and ensure that the food is more refined and consistent, especially given the increased competition in the city and seafront.
Kings Road Arches
Brighton, BN1 2FN
I was invited to review and the meal was complimentary which has no bearing on the outcome of the review. My opinion, as always, was honest and based on my experience on the night. This review first appeared in the Brighton and Hove Independent.