Friday, December 6

Dines Out: Etch

- August 27, 2018

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The city has never had so many restaurants serving fine food, and I use the word ‘fine’ with caution, because for many years the city has been serving excellent food now but few places that would fall into the category of what is strangely termed ‘fine dining’. I don’t much like the term, it stinks of elitism and exclusivity and I stand for equality in all aspects of life. And yes I know that the cost of this kind of dining does lend itself to exclusivity, but, barring a few of our better family restaurants where despite rising prices they still manage to do a greater job, eating out is not a cheap option. In truth there are places serving food that comes nowhere near the high standards of these top restaurants at prices that are pretty scary.

Etch is one of the most exciting places to eat in town, and under the leadership of Stephen Edwards and his Sous Chef George Boarer they continue to seduce me with their exciting menus and their continuing programme of working with guest chefs from abroad and from Brighton. I see that Chef Kanthi Thamma, formerly of Curry Leaf Cafe, will be there in September for another spicy guest appearance.

Last week I went along for dinner with Mr B and LG. LG is going to be on my chat show on Latest TV in a few weeks and it’s always good to chat first so they know what to expect but more importantly so I don’t look like a complete plonker.

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We have the full works and by ‘full’ I mean every dish and every matched wine. Each dish, simply described by listing the main components, is an adventure. A tomato dish of zinging consommé with a fine tomato ice was bliss, evoking the scent of a greenhouse on a hot summer’s evening. Monkfish wrapped in ham came with corn prepared in magical ways that had me wiping my finger across the plate to capture the last morsels.

Well worth foregoing a few mediocre take-aways for

Trenchmore beef is one of the county’s great ingredients and this kitchen treating it with just respect and kohlrabi on the side is a great combination. Next peas. Yes peas served in a way that made me rethink the role of the pea in the diet. The lightest of pea custards, fresh peas on top, purée and sprout and crisp crackers for texture… yes pea-fection!

Next, yes we’re not finished yet, game hen with powdered crispy skin and little gem, another flavour feast and the clear evidence that lettuce tastes better cooked.

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The chocolate dessert is a delight far too sensuous to discuss in public, and the final dessert of peach and raspberry equally delicious if not quite so erotic.

Service is impeccable, wine knowledge stunning and… well let’s just say the whole is well worth foregoing a few mediocre take-aways for a while and investing in this instead.

216 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2DJ 01273 227485 etchfood.co.uk


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