- January 22, 2018
This little piggy went to Market, and having done so was reminded just how good it is. I am of course referring to Market the restaurant in Hove. It was an evilly cold December evening and Mr L and I were off to a choir concert at St Andrew’s Church, knowing that it would be too late to dine post event. Market seemed like a good idea and as we wanted to eat at 6pm they were able to squeeze us in. Small plates are such a good idea when you are dining early and on a tight schedule, and our only complaint would be with ourselves – for not allowing ourselves enough time to really enjoy what turned out to be a very fine meal indeed.
We started with some padron peppers, a classic tapa, and one I can never resist. These days the Russian roulette element of the rogue hot one seems to have disappeared but it does not detract from the delight. The delicious bread came with a brace of flavoured butters too, that we both enjoyed.
Fortunately the owners were on hand to guide us through the dishes on the menu and point us in the direction of some real treats. Croquettes were an obvious choice and we loved them, cheesy balls of pleasure with a chorizo infused aioli.
Next a little treat of truffled celeriac soup with a savoury crumb and blade of red chicory, perfect heart-warming fare for a cold night. But it was the extraordinary squash dish with Lord of the Hundreds cheese and hazelnuts that took our breath away. A majestic dish, bejewelled and packed with flavour bursts that put huge smiles on our faces, it was a savoury delight that would have stood its ground as a dessert, positively one of the best dishes of 2017!
I used the phrase ‘small plate’. Well let me say now that this dish in almost any restaurant could have carried a price tag of at least £18
A large tranche of fish was our next choice, basically because it came with brown shrimps, my favourite of all shellfish, and I was very pleased to see them not scattered in a parsimonious way but lavished across the dish with abandon. I was transported with delight and used the remains of the excellent bread to mop up the sweet and salty juices. Mopping up sauce is the right of any serious diner, sorry mum, I know you disapprove!
Next a beef cheek with truffled celeriac mash, beets and crispy onions. Now, earlier on I used the ubiquitous phrase ‘small plate’. Well let me say now that this dish in almost any restaurant could have carried a price tag of at least £18 as, I should say, would our fish choice. At Market it was a remarkable £10.50 – yes only that, and it was certainly a portion to satisfy the hearty appetites of two gourmands. It was perfection, yielding to the lightest touch of a knife, sticky with a well reduced sauce but at the same time not overly seasoned, a fault with far too many heavy meat reductions. The mash was a good foil as were the beets that added a sharp element to the flavour profile and the crispy onions – well what’s not to love about crispy onions.
We drank a carafe of great red, Ms A’s recommendation and had to pay and depart in haste – the only fault, and ours – in a very good meal. We walked to the concert filled with regret that we had not made Market the focus of our evening and vowing to return very soon to try even more of the chef’s delicious dishes.
Market Restaurant & Bar, 42 Western Road, Hove BN3 1JD 01273 823707, market-restaurantbar.co.uk