Geoff and I had booked tickets to see Ben Fogle at the Brighton Dome as that was the closest to Portsmouth he was coming – originally. Then a couple of months later he added more dates, including Portsmouth! D’oh! Oh well, at least we had an excuse to have a night away in Brighton.
We couldn’t go out to dinner because we had to be at the Dome for 7.30 so it meant a very late lunch instead. I have several restaurants on my list of places to eat in Brighton and a relatively new one on it is The Set. I think I came across The Set as I was looking for accommodation in Brighton – it’s housed within the same building as the Artist Residence, a boutique hotel although they are completely separate businesses. I added them to Instagram and their food always looks amazing.
We booked for 3pm and it was within walking distance from both our hotel and the theatre. It’s directly opposite the British Airways i360 tourist attraction, at the top end of Regency Square.
It wasn’t what we were expecting. For some reason we thought it was a posh place but it was quite informal with old school chairs, rustic/reclaimed wood tables, and a darkish interior, in fact the windows were tinted which made us first think that there was going to be a storm as big black clouds loomed overhead. They have some nice artwork on the walls, I especially liked the rabbit. There were large lights overhead, music played in the background and it was quite cosy.
The waiter, a lovely, friendly young Scottish chap was charming and really made our experience all the better.
The dishes came as small plates, 3 for £20. We each chose 6 (2 to share and 2 each for ourselves).
We asked if we could have them 2 at a time and which ones came when. Sometimes we find, as with tapas, when they come out all at once, they either go cold rather quickly and you end up eating really fast or if you ask for them to come two at a time they don’t always come in the sequence you want. We were told that we could have it how we wanted as it was our food.
Complementary bread came first, two slices of sourdough with Marmite butter and crispy onion pieces. Very nice. I tried to replicate the butter when I got home. It’s easily done and makes it much easier to spread over bread or toast because you know what Marmite’s like, it kind of spreads in patches, this way makes it spread evenly across the bread/toast.
The first 2 plates we shared, the pollock and the pumpkin dishes, the rest we had the same, but one each.
The pollock was very nice, it could have done with being a little hotter although the black peppercorns made it ‘pepper hot’ instead. The little turnips were crunchy and there were small quince halves too.
The pumpkin was a lovely dish. A slice of roasted pumpkin, which on its own doesn’t have much flavour, let’s be honest but along with the miso (?) cream and the granola it was very tasty.
The mushroom dish was my favourite, mainly because I simply adore mushrooms anyway but also because it was delicious!
A circular flaky pastry tart, almost like a large vol au vent, (oh and how I love good old fashioned vol au vents too) packed with small pieces of mushrooms whilst on top a large oyster mushroom along with some black rice which added some crunchy texture and a taste of fennel/aniseed somewhere.
The BBQ pork belly dish was a firm favourite for Geoff and my second favourite. I haven’t had pork belly for around 2 years and boy oh boy was it divine! In fact, that’s twice I’ve had it this week! I wasn’t so keen on the chard I must admit although it was very pretty.
There were only two desserts on the menu, so we had both. Geoff doesn’t like cheese so it meant that he was only having half a dessert whereas I was having one and a half, oops.
The Berkswell cheese was grated over the top of a little tart, not really what I’d call a crumpet though. The cheese is similar to a mature pecorino. Nice enough but I wish we’d each had the chocolate dessert which was rich, smooth and creamy.
We were the only diners there and sometimes that can feel strange, no atmosphere but as I mentioned, the Scottish chap chatted to us about the food, Scotland, Ben Fogle etc., You can sit at the bar for drinks or just through a doorway to The Fix, their small cocktail bar. We really loved The Set, the food was great and well presented and the service was excellent. They also serve breakfast from 7.30am and I believe, the Chef’s Table Menu which is a ten-course tasting menu for only two couples, but I can’t find anything about that on their website. In the evening there is another menu, again at excellent prices. The Set has received a Michelin Bib Gourmand for 2020, ‘good quality, good value restaurants’.
P.S Ben Fogle was great, if you get a chance to go and see him, do.
Living life, loving Brighton