As The Connaught Pub & Kitchen in Hove prepares its new gardens for summer sun, Sam Harrington-Lowe went along to The Connaught to try out the lunch menu…
Anyone over a certain age in Brighton will know that if there’s one thing that Martin Webb is good at, it’s pubs. And The Connaught is no exception. This used to be a fairly tatty, raggedy place and since Webb and his team have taken it on, it’s been transformed.
Somehow managing to find a balance between friendly family place, good eatery and old fashioned pub vibe, The Connaught has hit the mark squarely, and as it gears up for summer with a garden overhaul, I took my mate Kath Perry to go and check the place out properly.
Firstly, on the pub side it’s got a good range of drinks. It’s a Brakspear pub so there’s decent bitter on tap, and guest beers each month. But the bar also hosts a wide selection of beers and ciders both on draught and in bottles, and an excellent range of wines. And staff who seem to know what they all are, which is always a relief.
As far as the food is concerned, they have a no-GMO policy, and everything is sourced locally whenever possible. There’s plenty of veggie options, and you can have many of the dishes made gluten-free.
So you can tick your conscientious-food box. They do a cracking Sunday roast menu, and Thursdays are given over to Mexican nights – we strongly recommend one of the tequilas to help those chimichangas go down.
But when it comes to the food, it’s the quality of the dishes that delight. We picked for starters Grilled lemon & teriyaki chicken skewers with chilli, peanut & lemon grass dip (£5.95) and Yellow fin tuna tartare with Kentish asparagus & parmesan salad, poached quail’s egg & lemon hollandaise (£6.50) and both were as good as they sound; clean, fresh food.
Actually the tuna tartare is one of the freshest, cleanest-tasting dishes I’ve ever eaten and I am making a special trip to go back just to eat that again. In fact I might just order two of them.
Moving on to the main courses, we went for Kentish lamb cutlet rogan josh, chapatti & scorched pomegranate with a beetroot raita (£13.50) and Spatchcock jerk chicken with rice & peas, mango salsa & coconut coleslaw (£12.95) and again, both were fresh, clean and beautifully presented.
We loved the little touches like seasonal wild garlic being used as the salad garnish, and the coleslaw with the chicken was a joy all of its own. And it’s the little touches at The Connaught that make the difference.
The food is good, the service is friendly, the atmosphere is warm – but as with all places, it’s the little things. Shiny clean cutlery and glassware, clean loos, attentive staff who know what they’re talking about – all these things make me happy.
Finally, we did it; we had to try at least one pudding and we felt it our duty to have a bash at the cheeseboard too, as it’s full of local cheese. Fortunately two more friends turned up to help us out, and between four of us we had a very game bash at the Banoffee pancakes with pecan praline & vanilla ice cream (£6) and extensive cheeseboard, all washed down with a chilled white port (such a delight!) and it says a lot about the generous portions that we couldn’t even quite make it through the whole thing.
The Connaught is lovely. There isn’t much wrong with it at all – it’s got great food, good drinks, excellent staff and a warm atmosphere. Personally I’m gearing up for Mexican night next Thursday… now where is my sombrero?
The Connaught Pub & Kitchen
48 Hove Street