Geoff and I had spent a night in Worthing as we’d attended the most beautiful wedding on Worthing Pier which inside is Art Deco and really lovely. Feeling a little fragile the next day we walked along the seafront to blow away the cobwebs and thankfully I made a miraculous recovery, so we decided to go ahead with our plan of driving to Brighton for lunch at newly opened Murmur on the seafront.
We’ve already eaten at their other restaurant 64 Degrees which is in the lanes of Brighton (both owned by TV’s Great British Menu winner, Michael Bremner) which was absolutely brilliant. The name Murmur derives from the starlings which swirl round and around in the sky (especially around the pier in Brighton) making odd shapes in the evenings, which is called a murmuration. It’s right opposite the Hilton but down on the beach and very close to the British airways i360 observation tower and almost opposite the West Pier. It’s set into the newly rebuilt Victorian arches and looks splendid inside and out.
I’d booked ahead to make sure our trip wasn’t for nothing – although there’s tons of eateries in Brighton with The Salt Room just behind – but this is where we wanted to eat as we were so impressed with 64 Degrees. We were shown inside – right at the back in the corner – and it was such a nice day I asked that if a table became available outside could they please let us know. ‘Of course’ the waitress said. Inside was very light and colourful with coloured chairs and the hanging lightbulbs which is very trendy at the moment The downside was that I was sitting directly underneath the music speaker, I could hear and feel every bassy beat.
We shared some bread, rustic and home made I guess with some whipped butter and a little sea salt sprinkled over. A bottle of water was also placed on the table which I stuck to seeing as it was the day after the night before, if you get me. Geoff enjoyed a can of beer which without him realising, had been opened slightly for him and so he proceeded to empty most of it onto the table.
I really didn’t think that they would tell us if a table outside became available but I was wrong. True to her word the waitress crooked her finger and said ‘come with me’. We quickly picked up our belongings and drinks and moved outside.
The sky was a bit dark in places and we wondered if we’d made the right decision. We asked what would happen if it rained but she assured us it wouldn’t as the forecast didn’t say it would. Ha! Anyway she was right, thankfully it didn’t.
And then we waited and we waited…until the waitress came out and asked how everything tasted and did we enjoy it. We said the bread was lovely as that’s all we’d had so far. She apologised and went back inside to see where our starters had got to.
They eventually arrived, Geoff was very adventurous and brave and went for the seafood soup. It looked very good although I don’t think I would have liked it as it contained mussels and cockles and Geoff said although it was nice it was very fishy tasting. I didn’t bother asking him if I could taste it.
I went for the Kokoda, grey mullet cured in coconut milk & lime juice served with toasted coconut & spring onions. It was very tasty and lovely to look at too, good presentation
Then four people arrived and sat at the table next to us with two dogs. They were very barky dogs and every time another dog walked past (which was often) they set about barking which made me jump every single time and we found it very irritating. No apologies either. And then we got the ‘stop it Rover…good boy Rover’ whereas really and truly Rover wasn’t good at all and was a right pain in the bum. It wasn’t as if they lay down under the table without a sound, that would have been entirely different. We didn’t really expect that at a fairly upmarket restaurant.
And so it kind of went down hill from there…
Geoff ordered the steak of the day which was rib eye. This came on its own in the middle of the plate with some sort of pesto topping (he scraped it off without even trying it) and a side plate of knobbly fingerling potatoes and that was it. There were no side dishes of vegetables on the menu that he could have ordered.
I had the catch of the day, lemon sole. This was lovely white meat and again I had the same potatoes but also a small herb salad, which I would have liked more of, it was the only thing on the plate that actually had much taste.
We each had a dessert of which we were going to share. Glazed lemon tart with crème fraîche sorbet and the chocolate raspberry pudding which meant a 15 minute wait as it’s freshly made. No problem, it meant we could let our mains go down leaving room for the dessert and people watch.
I almost laughed when the lemon tart came out looking lost and alone on a large plate. Now, I like posh nosh but I expected perhaps some kind of spun sugar concoction to make it into something more or a few blobs of sauce around the plate, at least some kind of pretty presentation. But nope, not even a flower, just lemon tart on a pastry base, with a burnt sugar coating (like a brûlée) on top and a spoonful of sorbet.
The chocolate pudding was similar to an M&S’s ‘melt in the middle pudding’, or any other supermarket’s, no better, no worse, just slightly larger. That’s all it was. And one raspberry, we didn’t detect any inside.
We were really disappointed with our meals, we expected something much better. Apart from the starters everything else was the same as what we could have eaten at any other place along the seafront, nothing different whatsoever, although perhaps the prices. Maybe we’d ordered the wrong dishes and should have gone for the lamb rump or the aubergine dish, who knows, we shan’t be returning to find out. It wasn’t a patch on 64 Degree’s although it makes us wonder if that’s as good anymore too and we’re reluctant now to pay them another visit.
I moaned about Terre à Terre in a recent post, about the cost but really and truly that was tons better than Murmur. I feel as if I should rewrite that post as perhaps I was being unfair – although that’s how we felt on the day. There were so much thought, flavours, ingredients and textures to their dishes and at roughly the same prices.
I’m afraid we left feeling a little deflated and headed back to the car park, which is always a hefty price too. I like Brighton though and feel it’s worth the journey and the parking charges – probably still way cheaper than parking in Portsmouth. There’s always different little shops and new cafes and restaurants popping up – being a food blogger there you’d never be able to keep up with it – always something new to see and of course, it’s a great place to people watch.
The only good thing about Murmur would be the service (apart from the long wait for our starter of course) and that it’s on the seafront with views of the old pier and the art installation. It was just an average meal.
Ambience 7 (8 with no dogs or small children)
Living life, loving Brighton