Tuesday, October 27

Classic and Classy Le Nantais

- October 14, 2018

I’m always being asked which of all the world’s cuisines is my favourite. It’s a difficult one because from every style of global cooking I can choose favourite dishes that might easily end up on my death bed menu. In all honesty, above all I like the dishes of my Lancashire childhood but after that, despite modern trends and the globalisation of contemporary cooking in the UK I suppose I would go for classic French. But where do you find it these days, that refined yet robust style of French provincial cooking that was at the heart of the bistro scene for so long?
Well of course it can be found in France, maybe not so much in the urbane city eateries but certainly in cities like Lyon. Here in Brighton I am delighted to say that it can be enjoyed at Le Nantais at the eastern end of Church Road and each night from Monday to Saturday there is a very keenly priced special. I returned with Ms McD and Ms C on a Tuesday pre our regular quiz engagement and all three of us were tempted by that evening’s dish of boeuf Bourguingon which for a modest £12.95 comes with pomme purée and a decent glass of wine. Now that has to be a decent offer surely?

Classic and classy French charm in Hove

Well I can confirm that it is a very good offer indeed. Let’s start with the pomme purée, or should I say mashed potato? Well as mash goes this is exemplary, smooth as the proverbial, creamy and yet somehow light, not messed with or over seasoned, just proper mash and as such the perfect foil for the rich beef in red wine. The beef is lean and cooked to a yielding tenderness and it basks in a rich and intensely flavoured red wine gravy that is silky smooth and glossy. It’s generous too, none of your fancy-pants doll’s dinner sized portions here but a real trencherman’s plate of very satisfying food.
So much so that there really was very little need for a dessert, but that said our moods were good and a pud seemed like a nice idea. Ms C had a good creme brûlée that kept that satisfied smile on her face. Ms McD and I had the tarte tatin, mine with vanilla ice-cream and her’s with pear sorbet, she has an aversion to vanilla! It was good, with the caramel that delicious balance of sweet bordering on bitter, the apples cooked just the right amount and the pastry tasty if a little soggy, a small complaint in what was otherwise an amazingly pleasant meal. Hats off too for delightfully attentive but unobtrusive service. All in all little slice of classic and classy French charm in Hove.

Le Nantais Bistro, 41 Church Road Hove BN3 2BE
01273 723334 lenantaisbistro.com

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