ANDREW KAY REVIEWS SHELTER HALL
It’s some time since the shelter hall on Brighton seafront was renovated and quite a time since it was reopened as Shelter Hall, a restaurant that takes the concept of a food court to a far higher level. Food courts in the UK have long been the home of fast food and for real food lovers a somewhat alien environment. Shelter Hall could not be further from that.
The concept is very “Brighton” and the emphasis is certainly on local chefs and local produce with a group of independent businesses offering a variety of dishes. The location could not be better, the building is beautiful and on the day I finally made it down there the sun was shining and the place packed to the gunnels.
I was joining three of my food loving friends for lunch and with insider knowledge they had booked us into Skyllark, the cocktail room above the main hall. Mr L, Mr G and Ms R, all of whom had previous experience at the venue, I was the newby!
The concept is now well run in and ordering on a phone app was not only simple but also very efficient. Ms R had the best knowledge and I am always happy when someone else is willing to take the lead when it comes to ordering the food.
The guys started with a cocktail, I chose a local ale and Ms R who arrived after the rest of us moved the proceedings on to a rosé which they all seemed to enjoy. I stuck with my beer!
First up came a very sensible sharing portion of extremely good spicy chicken wings from Pan by Lost Boys Chicken with an excellent blue cheese dip. It’s a favourite combo of mine but one that gets you into a sticky mess, but a mess worth getting into.
Amalfi by VIP then sent up their Burrata e Culatello, a sourdough base topped with excellent prosciutto and blissfully gooey burrata, joy and certainly less messy even though we were all sharing. VIP is one of my favourite haunts so it was great to find them there.
Zest by Hanoi Kitchen’s sharing platter was first class and again generous with summer rolls, gyoza and excellent bao buns. I really enjoyed the freshness of the flavours here.
Ox Block by Masterchef winner Kenny Tutt’s 40 day aged sirloin steak arrived hot from the robata grill atop a tasty flatbread that mopped up the juices in an unresistable way, and at a very sensible price too for such a quality peice of meat.
Ms R then led me down the dark path of dessert knowing that I have a love of a quality cannoli and quality it was too, no surprise there knowing how passionate Rosario from VIP and his team are. The rest were lured into a bowl of deep fried jammy dodgers, yes, I know, seriously naughty!
All in all this was a food lovers delight and a perfect sharing experience and at prices that seemed to me in this ever inflating world perfectly reasonable and in some cases absolute bargains.
Before leaving we were invited to sample a burger, a new dish and a work in progress for future launch across the UK. It was good, in fact it was very good and certainly one that I will be looking for and writing about when it goes public.
The atmosphere at Shelter Hall is vibrant and buzzy, a place focused on good food and fun and one that I plan to re-visit very soon. Booking I think will certainly be essential as it grows and grows in popularity.
Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 1NB