The Coal shed, Brighton

Warning: This is not a post suitable for vegetarians. There are not many reasons that I will head down West Street these days, but The Coal Shed is definitely now one of them. Located in the lanes to the side of West Street, it's a perfectly elegant steak restaurant, championing locally sourced ingredients, and delicious food.

The Restaurant and Menu

The restaurant itself is what I would call 'classically decorated'. With dark walls, low-hanging lighting and a back wall of mirrors, the restaurant is a perfect mix of classy and welcoming. The star of the menu and the restaurant is, of course, the charcoal grilled steak. However, with stunning starters and alternative mains, there really is something for everyone.

The desserts were simple, with multiple elements and a stunning ingredients list. I also love that if you order one of the desserts, some of the money you pay goes to The Chestnut Tree hospice in Sussex. 

The Starters 

We began the meal with one of the 'For the table' options of Chilli Crab Fritters, served with Kimchi mayonnaise. The batter was light and crisp adding texture to the soft crab interior; the crab maintained a strong taste with warmth from the chilli and citrus sharpness to cut through. Maybe it was my rush to try them but for me, they were a little hot and I may have burnt my mouth (a little). 

For starters, Henry ordered the Jacob's ladder and I went for the charred octopus. 
The octopus was perfectly cooked; with a soft interior and a crisp outside. The sauce was perfectly balanced to complement the octopus, peppers and the ancho potato. The ancho potato is something I haven't had before and it was beautiful; with perfectly soft potato inside, seasoned perfectly. 
I am not usually a fan of Padron peppers but these added the perfect bitterness and crunch to the meal.

Henry's starter was Slow Cooked Jacob's Ladder (beef short rib) with roast shallots and pickled red cabbage. The beef was buttery and fall-apart soft, but with a char-grilled colour and flavour on the outside. The richness of the meat was perfectly offset by the sharp cabbage and sweet mini shallots. The sesame seeds over the top worked nicely as well. In Henry's words "overall a wonderful starter". 

The Steaks

Henry and I both opted for steaks for our mains. Henry went for a 400g sirloin and I went for a 250g rib eye. We both like our steaks exactly the same; medium rare. Although they were different sizes and cuts they were both cooked perfectly; with charring on the outside and sweet, brilliantly cooked steak inside. 
Henry went for a peppercorn sauce and I chose a blue cheese sauce. I was initially worried when the sauces came out but they were both gorgeous; clearly using the juices from the steak in the sauce. Mine was much creamier than a conventional blue cheese and I really enjoyed it.

We chose to share three sides; the beef dripping chips, creamed spinach with roast garlic and a mixed green salad. I would highly recommend all three and in particular (and to my surprise) the salad. Served with a citrusy dressing with the most amazing celery, yes you read that right, celery that I have eaten. The spinach was creamy with seasoned well without compromising the taste of spinach. 

The Dessert 

After the rich first two courses we opted to share our dessert. A roasted almond panna cotta served with poached rhubarb, almond nougatine and rhubarb sorbet; with the addition of candied almonds. Panna Cotta is actually a new found love of mine; the roasted almond taste was strong throughout and complimented well with the sharpness of the rhubarb and sweet crunch of the nuts. Every element was balanced and the combination of textures was a perfect end to the meal.  

The Allergies and Service 

Although the menu clearly states that they cannot guarantee there won't be contamination from nuts their service was attentive and confident; the staff were knowledgeable which made it easy to ask questions. I was a little disappointed with the nut free pudding options; ice cream and sorbet. The atmosphere of the whole restaurant was actually one of my favourites; it was formal without being stuffy, the staff all appeared to genuinely enjoy their jobs which for me is a sign of a great restaurant!

Are there any other places you think I should try?
Let me know in the comments below or @brightonbbblog

I was invited to The Coal shed in exchange for a review, but all views are my own (or occasionally Henry's)

1 comment

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