Whether it’s family fun or a fancy evening drink, The Stoneham Pub & Pizzeria in Hove is suited perfectly for both, as Daniel White finds out…
When The Stoneham Pub opened its doors in 2010 I was eagerly anticipating what was to come. Having visited its previous establishment, The Portland, on occasions, I was intrigued to see how it would be transformed.
What took its place was, like all Martin Webb-owned pubs and eateries, a stylish yet inclusive venue, which had an open fire, good food and proper ales on tap. So when I was invited along to try out their menu I jumped at the chance.
I took along my dear mother and new I had chosen wisely when we strolled into the pub, which seems practically made for families. As you enter there are kids running to and from the garden, families eating meals together, Motown on the speakers and a very warm feel all-round. There’s even an ice cream counter to keep the kids happy.
I must admit now, after a night of poker, pizza and lots of wine the night before, I was a little worried as I walked through the doors that I wouldn’t be able to make the most of the food we would be ordering.
However, after picking our sauvignon blanc my fears were soon put to bed. Even though it was a busy Friday night we found a quiet corner in the restaurant and started to catch up on the last few weeks of happenings.
After some serious selection dilemmas we began with the Stoneham Mussels (£6.95) with Somerset sauce (cider, bacon and cream) and the Aglio Mozzarella (£6), which came with a salad and black olives for starters. The mussels came with a little salad and a chunk of crusty bread which, when dipped in the Somerset sauce, took me straight back to sitting on the bay of Port d’Alcudia in Mallorca. They were so flavoursome that I had forgotten all concerns for my stomach’s earlier doubts, eating every last one.
Despite the tempting smell drifting out from the newly built smokehouse, for the main courses we chose the Grilled Halloumi Burger, which was packed with flavour, as it was served with grilled aubergine, onion rings and guacamole (£13), along with the Chorizo and Tiger Prawn pizza with roquito peppers (£14).
The pub and pizzeria has become renowned for its selection of pizzas, which come served on a wooden board with rocket salad and Grana Pagano cheese on top. It tasted as good as it sounds.
At this point I must point out that the portions at The Stoneham are sizeable. One main course would have been enough for myself but, as the stellar pro I am, I took one for the team and ordered a pudding as well. I had the Black cherry and vanilla cheesecake (£5.50), which was served with fresh fruit and chocolate sauce. It was pure decadent bliss and was worth the trip alone.
As the day’s light expired there was an obvious shift from the family-centric funhouse that we had entered to a more mature clientele, where men stood at the bar drinking and excited children were replaced by, well, excited thirty-something’s.
Although we chose indoors, the enclosed garden also offers a lovely spot to sit in the sun and, with heaters and covered benches, it is still a comfortable choice come winter time.
When we left the pub at around 9.30pm, it was alive with music and chatter of the week’s goings on, my stomach was in a much happier place and while the audience had changed, the welcoming, family vibe was still present among the laughter and enjoyment that had overtaken the venue.
The Stoneham Pub & Pizzeria
153 Portland Road
Tel: 01273 383840