Wednesday, 9 March 2016

24 St Georges

As recently as 2006 the BBC were saying, "The UK's seaside towns are well past their heyday and will never go back to the way they were.".  Thank goodness for that I hear some of you saying.  

Brighton is an English seaside resort.  About an hour south of London by train, it's a popular day-trip destination for Londoners.  Its broad shingle beach is backed by amusement arcades and Regency-era buildings. Brighton Pier, in the central waterfront section, opened in 1899 and now has rides and food kiosks. The town is also known for its nightlife, arts scene, shopping and festivals and the city’s increasingly sophisticated population demands flavours other than salt and vinegar, resulting in a burgeoning foodie scene to rival that of London.

My destination Twenty Four St Georges, 24-25 St Georges Road, Kemp Town Village which, as their website puts it is "less than 15 minutes stroll from Brighton town centre".

Now Kemptown, the Boho-chic neighbourhood of Brighton, takes its name from Thomas Read Kemp's Kemp Town residential estate of the early 19th century, much of the housing is still of the Regency style and sympathetic conversions of grand buildings into flats and bars have provided some distinctive properties.  It's known historically as an actors' and artists' quarter.

In the heart of Kemp Town is located 24 St Georges, committed to using local and seasonal produce.  European menus change regularly. Each dish is lovingly prepared in such a way as to bring out the very best of these fresh ingredients. Menus are creative but the aim is simple; to provide an experience that guests will enjoy, and food that looks and tastes fantastic.

Twenty Four St Georges opened at the very start of 2010 after only 18 months of trading they appeared in the Michelin Guide and then in 2014 were awarded two AA rosettes.  I was immediately taken by the decor and ambiance.  A warm, welcoming, relaxing dining room with a shabby chic feel.

A quiet confidence exuded from the staff, no one here was trying to prove how clever they were. Explanations were given, orders were taken and plates delivered to the correct guests as specified without further ado.

A selection of breads and butters were offered along with a quail scotch egg, nice touch.

Concise menu; six starters, eight mains and offering two vegetarian choices and two fish. Wherever possible reflecting the best in both seasonal and locally sourced produce certainly brought back memories for me.

My choice for starter; the goats cheese with walnut and fennel granola and pickled apple and pear.  

I could, however, have opted for at least three of the others.  Presentation is both simple and elegant

For main course the beef; fillet with textures of onions, ox tongue croutons, potato rocks* and sauce bordelaise

*Potato rocks; small potatoes boiled, skin on and then dipped in a kaolin clay mixture and baked.  The crisp coating forms a perfect contrast with the smoothness of the potato inside which was tender and creamy thanks to the protection of its shell.

Cheese to finish among which "Brighton Blue" new to me and I went in search of it the following day, sadly to no avail.  Maybe next time I am in Brighton.

Success doesn't come wholly from what you do and you can't define or bottle it, but you know it when you find it. That something special, the friendly reception and treatment of your guests is true hospitality.  I found it here at Twenty Four St Georges.  You can't pretend “hospitality”, everyone recognizes a lack of genuine caring.  It must be heart-felt or it won't have any real impact on your patrons and it won't last.

In a positive, supportive work climate it exists naturally and the climate of an organization always reflects the mindset of the leader. For better or worse, the thinking at the top influences the entire culture. So infusing your operation with a high degree of clarity about what you are seeking to achieve is less about what you do and more about how you do it.

Owner and Chef Jamie Everton Jones summed it up perfectly for me,"When it comes down to it the real reward/addiction is simple, empty plates and really happy customers."

Until the next time!

T 01273 626060
A 24-25 St Georges Road, Kemp Town Village, Brighton, BN2 1ED
2016 Michelin Guide

Two AA rosettes

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