Dining out in Brighton and Hove has never been as exciting and interesting as it is right now. Existing restaurants have continued to improve, consistently pushing the standards higher, and with each new opening this trend continues. With increased standards come higher expectations. Diners have become accustomed to top level cuisine, and are much more discerning when it comes to what they eat and drink.
With such high levels of expectation any new restaurant has a lot to live up to. The pressure to hit the ground running is huge, and there is always a lot of buzz around something new. This is certainly true of Brighton’s latest opening, Pascere. Situated on Duke Street, this stylish addition to Brighton’s dining scene certainly garnered a lot of interest long before it opened. Now it is here, the talking can stop and the eating begin.
Pascere, meaning “to nourish” in Latin, is an independent restaurant that offers an all-day dining experience focussing on modern British cuisine. The menu is split up into small plates, a la carte and a tasting menu option giving diners plenty of choice. The extensive wine list has been hand selected by owner Amanda Menahem, and offers more wines by the glass or carafe than most other restaurants in the city; including sparkling wines.
I have eaten at the restaurant on two separate occasions and have been very impressed with both the food and the overall experience. There is a luxurious feel to it, but without being intimidating or exclusive. The décor is welcoming and elegant, making for a great atmosphere. Service is professional, yet personal, in keeping with Brighton’s relaxed and laid-back vibe.
From the small plates, I can highly recommend the chicken croquettes which have a beautiful roast chicken flavour that is intensely moreish. The crab tarts are also superb, with a rich seafood depth from the custard topping and sweet crab meat that almost melts in the mouth. Summer truffle rarebit is also an intensely flavoured and luxurious take on this lunch time staple.
My person highlight is a starter of pan fried lamb sweetbreads. This standout dish had all the elements perfectly aligned with varying textures, flavours and temperatures. Beautifully plated, this stunning dish is my current favourite Brighton dish.
Of the main dishes, I am a fan of the beef cheek pappardelle. A generous helping of braised beef made this memorable with its depth of flavour and sheer meaty goodness. Stone bass with wild mushrooms and sea vegetables was faultless dish in terms of execution, and the chicken breast and leg was equally accomplished with its balance of flavours and perfect seasoning.
The surprise star on the dessert menu had to be the beautifully light and honeyed buttermilk sponge with honeycomb. A fabulous dessert and a real celebration of the golden nectar that is honey. The chocolate mousse is equally as good, and will keep the chocolate fans happy.
To think that Pascere has only been open for three weeks at the time of writing is a real testament to the work that has gone into making the restaurant happen. Head chef Johnny Stanford produces dishes that are accomplished and not overly cheffy in terms of complexity. Everything is accessible and enjoyable to eat, without any unnecessary elements on the plate. The food looks elegant and the quality is there, but you also get a decent meal by the time you leave. Pascere delivers a highly polished and perfectly executed dining experience, with some stand out dishes being a sign of things to come.
8 Duke St, Brighton BN1 1AH
I was invited to review for my column in the Brighton and Hove Independent and the meal was complimentary. This had no bearing on the outcome of the review which was an honest reflection of my experience