Review: Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room Brighton

Champagne, Cake and Caffeine – sounds like the perfect recipe for two busy Mums, right? So, a couple of weeks ago I headed down to The Salt Room to treat my good friend and busy mum-of-two Andrea to a rather special Afternoon Tea. This was to say thank you for hosting such a wonderful baby shower for us, way back before Violet arrived.

I’d seen The Salt Room’s afternoon tea all over Instagram and couldn’t wait to finally get to try it myself, although arranging a time for both of us to get together after reschedules for babies injections, fevers and an outbreak of chicken pox it did take quite considerable time! So, with a date in the diary – it was finally our chance to indulge and give Brighton’s most ‘insta-worthy’ afternoon tea a go.

The Salt Room is located in prime position on Brighton’s iconic seafront – it’s the perfect pitstop if you are visiting the city as it’s so close to the centre of town, shopping areas and the i360 tower. The large, airy mezzanine area has bright sea views of the west pier. Offering lunch, afternoon tea, pre-theatre and dinner – The Salt Room have you covered whatever time of day you plan your visit.

When we first arrived at The Salt Room, we were greeted by the friendly maître d’ who took our coats and showed us to the table. I was a little surprised I was asked to leave Violet’s pushchair by the door as there wouldn’t be space by the table (particularly frustrating as I had to wake her from sleeping and then had to hold a grizzly tired baby when I’d timed our visit for her to nap), although to be fair I hadn’t called in advance to tell them I’d be bringing her, so I do understand.

DRINKS

At our table our waitress enthusiastically gave us the full run down of what the Afternoon Tea included, starting with the drinks. There are four main options for the Afternoon tea:

  • JING Tea or Roasted Bean Co. Coffee
  • JING Flowering Tea
  • East London Liquor Company G&T
  • Taittinger Champagne

Of course, celebrating Violet’s birth we pushed the boat out and went for the Tattinger Champagne! Although I did see the G&T option which looked amazing too but thought better of ordering both after not drinking for over a year – I’d be under the table!

We sat enjoying our champagne looking out across Brighton beach, it was just dreamy and such a lovely way to spend a day of maternity leave! Then came the ‘wow factor‘ as our beautiful afternoon tea had arrived. People were visibly turning around in the restaurant to see what all the fuss was about!

So, let’s explore each layer….

SAVOURY COURSE

Let’s start with the savoury, fish-based first course. It’s certainly an impressive selection of unique and interesting savoury treats -and beats the classic egg and cress sarnie any day!  The savoury course includes the following:  Crab Scotch Egg, Crumpet with Marmite butter, Truffled Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Salmon Pastrami & Squid Ink Bun and Aged Beef Tartare & Egg Yolk Jam Sandwich. 

I don’t often eat fish as Vee is highly allergic (to the point I can’t even order it!) so it was a real treat to try some new flavours I wouldn’t normally be able to order. As I’m vegetarian (well, pescatarian if you want to be precise!) they were able to cater to my needs, swapping the Beef Tartare for a Fried Cod Fritter (which was delicious) plus Andrea still got to enjoy the Beef Tartare. Favourites of this course being the Squid Ink Bun with Smoked Salmon – a unique experience! The Salmon was generously piled amongst fresh, cool cream cheese, with the squid ink giving the bun a twang, I can’t quite put my finger on, you’ll have to give it a try to see! I also loved the Crab Meat Scotch egg, as us veggies don’t often get to eat Scotch eggs.

SCONES WITH CLOTTED CREAM & JAM:

No afternoon tea would be complete without scones with clotted cream and jam, it’s a classic! Being a huge fan of the cream tea, this is the bit I get really excited about so on first impressions I thought the scones were slightly on the small side, but there is something oddly filling about Afternoon Tea and looking back they were just the perfect size. The scones are fresh and perfectly baked, served with lashings of dreamy house-made clotted cream and the most gorgeous Strawberry and Elderflower Jam.

At this point we also ordered some extra drinks, switching from the Champers to a good cup of tea (well, you know – I have to be sensible these days!) We now had a new waiter serving our area and I wondered if it may have been his first day as he was quite confused about the options available (and whether the restaurant had any baby changing facilities – it does!). I asked to try the JING Flowering Tea as our previous waitress had described it to us in great detail, explaining that you can literally watch the flower bursting into bloom within your tea so I just had to give it a go! However when he returned, he had brought a cup of plain chamomile tea, stating this made with flowers. I didn’t have the heart to tell him thats not what I meant and we did have a giggle about it afterwards. Bless him, I’ll have to try the Flowering Tea next time!

Excuse the chipped nail polish – washing 10 bottles a day doesn’t bode well with perfect nails!

SWEET TREATS

Onto my favourite part of any meal – the sweet treats! This course is clearly inspired by The Salt Room’s famous ‘Taste of the Pier’ dessert and is certainly the most eye-catching part of the experience! This course includes Chocolate Pebbles, Rhubarb Posset, Chocolate & Praline Teacakes, Kalamansi and White Chocolate Macarons and of course – Candy Floss!  Favourites had to be the chocolate pebbles – rich, velvety and oh so delectable – although so amazingly sweet, even for a chocolate fiend like me couldn’t manage more than one! Plus of course I also loved the Candy Floss – just because! It’s fun and made me feel like a kid again, it really captures the childhood memories of walks on the pier, going on the rides and playing with the 2p machines. The only very slight negative we found that was that the Rhubarb posset had completely melted onto the plate by the time we got to eat it, although thats only a very minor criticism as by this time we got to it we’d been sitting there quite a while, chatting and taking our time – it still tasted zingy and delicious, even if the beautiful shape had gone.

MY THOUGHTS

Overall, I have to say the Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room was probably the best I’ve ever experienced – I absolutely loved every moment of it. The food was quirky, unique and exquisitely created with such attention to detail. The restaurant is one of my favourites in Brighton, it’s sleek, stylish with beautiful seaviews – not to mention the amazingly helpful, friendly and knowledgeable staff (flowering tea incident aside!). I’d absolutely recommend it to anyone and would love to go again one day. The Afternoon tea is priced between £24.95-34.95 depending on drinks options, which I think is reasonably priced for such quality.

Although they do welcome children, I think looking back next time I’d try and go without the baby. The team did try to accommodate our pushchair eventually, but there were stairs to the main seating area on the mezzanine and I did feel a little on edge when Violet had a fussy moment as she was disrupting the atmosphere slightly – I worried other guests would get annoyed. Although you can take your children – I’d personally say it’s the perfect place for having some well-deserved ‘me time’ and to leave them at home!

We have also been to The Salt Room for dinner – read our review of that here.

BOOKING

You can book Afternoon Tea at The Salt Room either online or by calling (44)1273 929488. Afternoon Tea is served between 12:30pm – 4:30pm daily. The Salt Room is located on Brighton Seafront by the Hilton Metropole Hotel (106 King’s Rd, Brighton, BN1 2FU).

 

We were kindly offered Afternoon Tea free of charge in return of an honest review – all words, opinions and photography is my own. 

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Review: The Body Fuel Cafe Hove

Although I love my sweet treats – from towering hot chocolate with cream to endless bags of mini-eggs, when it comes down to it I’m quite conscious of nutrition and eat healthily most of the time. I also think being pregnant gives you another perspective on food – with every mouthful of food I’m feeding to our baby too, which naturally makes me so much more aware of everything I put into my system. So, when I was invited down to The Body Fuel Cafe in Hove, I was eager to give it a go as it seemed right up my street. I find when I’m out and about, it’s so easy to eat junk food, with most cafes are just loaded with tempting pastries, cakes and sugary drinks – it’s refreshing to see a place serving fresh, tasty food at reasonable prices too.

Inside the cafe, the seating area is light and airy, with a clean and fresh vibe – although towards the back of the cafe there are more private areas too, which would be perfect for cosy catch-ups, or maybe breastfeeding Mum’s who want a little more privacy.

The cafe is open daily from 8am (9am Saturdays and 11am Sundays) – starting of the day with breakfast options such as wholemeal blueberry pancakes, poached eggs, smoked salmon or smashed avocado. Come lunchtime, their super healthy salad bar is open. Plus, of course could just pop in at any time for a coffee and a (healthy) sweet treat too.

I recently popped in for a spot of lunch with a good friend of mine and healthy food lover, Tash. When we arrived we were instantly drawn to the colourful salad bar and decided to skip brunch and head straight for the lunch menu – so many options and all of the produce looked super fresh too. The menu for the Salad Bar is fully customisable – firstly you choose a protein – they have everything from lemon and dill chicken breast, various steak, fish options such as tuna, grilled salmon and lastly, veggie options of falafel and grilled halloumi. There is quite a selection! I was particularly impressed with this part, being a vegetarian (well, pescatarean technically) I often miss out on the ‘protein’ section or have a limited choice, but this left me spoilt for choice! Next up, is the base of your dish – Rice, Sweet Potato and Quinoa are just a few of the options here. Moving on, we visited the salad bar where you can choose a generous 6 items from the extensive list – you then top your dish with a dressing of your choice. Honestly, there is so much choice you could make about 1000 different combinations with all of the different ingredients and not eat the eat a different dish everyday!

Both Tash and I went for the grilled salmon, which was cooked to perfection and so fresh, we accompanied our meals with a couple of smoothies too. I tried the Tropical Delight (Orange, Honeydew Melon, Mango, Passion Fruit and Lime Juice) which packed a zingy punch and certainly woke my senses up! Tash went for the super healthy Go Green (fresh pineapple, spinach, avocado, lime, fresh ginger and coconut water). As you can see from the pictures below, our meals were absolutely full to the brim with goodness, nutrients and the freshest ingredients-  not an additive or preservative in sight, plus it was all cooked within around 5 minutes too.

As we left I took a couple of sweet treats away to have once I got home – you know, maternity leave means afternoons are mainly spend on the sofa with a coffee and cake, so instead I got a take-away Not Naughty, Definitely Nice Smoothie (almond milk, banana, nut butter, raw cacao powder, vanilla, honey, cinnamon)  and a delicious Date Protein Bar, as I’ve been eating 6 dates a day as it’s meant to help with labour – putting them in a protein bar seemed a perfect excuse to get my daily dose in as I’m getting sick and tired of eating pure dates alone these days!

I would 100% recommend trying the Body Fuel Cafe if you are local to Hove, it is so refreshing to know you are eating pure clean, fresh ingredients, plus it was so delicious it felt like a real treat too. My next meal there will be brunch – I think there are some wholemeal blueberry pancakes with my name on!

The Body Fuel Cafe is located at 123 Church Street, Hove  –  pop for some super tasty, healthy food next time you are passing! 

Review: SkyFall Restaurant Hove

As we are ticking down the days until Baby Peaches arrival, cramming in those last date nights together are so important. So, after my last day at work and to celebrate the start of my maternity leave, we headed over to Hove to SkyFall restaurant for maybe our last date night together as just us.

SkyFall is a creative, modern restaurant with a menu that changes regularly to reflect the season and local produce available. Inside the decor is modern and chic with elements like the open brickwork giving it rustic twist – the atmosphere is a real mix between casual and fine-dining, without that uncomfortable, stuffy feeling. We visited on a Friday night and by the time we were seated for our meal, the whole restaurant was completely full, buzzing with people enjoying themselves over good food -they were even turning people away at the door, which is really telling as to how popular it has become. Especially as there is a lot of choice when it comes to eating out in that part of Hove.

We were greeted by the super friendly front of house, who showed us to a lovely table in the window (perfect for a spot of people watching, I may add). We were then offered a glass of Prosecco, but sadly I had to turn mine down, obviously – however, to make me feel better the staff made me an Elderflower fizz with mint, which if I closed my eyes I could pretend was an alcoholic cocktail, it certainly was the next best thing.

We then took some time to look over the menu. A lovely touch was that our waiter came over and discussed options for me as I am pregnant, he highlighted which dishes would/wouldn’t be suitable and had a really good knowledge of things to avoid when pregnant (blue cheese etc) so that was a big help and a personal touch that went a long way.

Sadly, as I’m vegetarian AND pregnant – I had to skip the starter, as both veggie options contained Blue Cheese, so instead I ordered some Marinated Olives, whilst V enjoyed her starter of Textures of Cheese (Brighton Blue Cheese Bon Bons with Sister Sarah mousse, goats curd, Swiss Mornay Sauce, nuts and port jelly) and I watched enviously over the table (Hey, it’s not SkyFalls’ fault I’m so awkward at the moment!). She really enjoyed the flavour and textures of the different cheeses, but her feedback was that she wished she had some bread of some sorts to go with it, as it felt a bit lacking of substance without.

Moving onto the mains where thankfully, even with my annoying dietary requirements at the moment, I had a few different options to choose from the menu. I decided to go for the Lentil and Butternut Squash Burger (with baby gem lettuce, tomato, beetroot and cumin raita) as at this stage of pregnancy I am just hungriest I’ve ever been in my life, so needed something filling! V, however went for the slightly more delicate Ratatouille and Arancini (ratatouille parcel filled with feta, sundried tomato arancini, pine nuts, mushrooms, spiced carrots, beetroot and cumin gel). My main course hit the spot perfectly, making baby kick like mad and a happy Mamma – the triple cooked chips were just to die for, especially with the beetroot and cumin raita! V really enjoyed her dish, saying the pastry was cooked to perfection, the vegetable filling was tasty and flavourful.

Onto my favourite, the pudding! Of course, being a chocoholic, I immediately knew I needed to have the Dark Chocolate Brownie (served with honeycomb ice cream, salted caramel and meringue) and I certainly wasn’t disappointed! Rich, velvety and every chocolate lovers dream – the ice cream was also beautiful and I found out from the waiter they make all the ice creams fresh onsite too. V went for Salt-Baked Pear and Almond Tart (served with basil ice cream) – a really interesting flavour combination there, but the flavours complimented each other perfectly, with the sweetness balanced by a refreshing zing of the ice cream.

Overall, we really enjoyed our meal at SkyFall – I loved the busy vibe, the modern decor and the chance to try fine-dining quality food within a relaxed environment. I feel I couldn’t enjoy the restaurant to my full potential, as being pregnant limited me quite a bit on the menu, so I think I’ll have to give SkyFall another go once the baby is born – plus I think by that point, there will be a Popcorn Martini with my name on, waiting for me!

SkyFall offer different menu’s throughout the day – with Brunch served between 9am-1pm at the weekends, a set lunch menu between 12-3pm Monday – Saturday, as well as Roast Dinners on a Sunday. There are also various events, quiz nights and special occasion evenings, like a Valentines Day menu – so there is always something on too. To book a table call 01273 041007 or you can book online here.

 

We were invited to SkyFall for a complimentary meal in return for an honest review – All words and opinions are my own

Review: Indian Summer Brighton turns 15!

I’ve lived in Brighton on and off since I was 18 so I was shocked and surprised I’d managed to let a visit to Indian Summer slip the net, seeing as I am an absolute fiend for Indian food. So a couple of a months ago I excited opened an email to their 15th Birthday party, I jumped at the chance to finally give this elusive restaurant a go, although as I looked at the invitation – we were in Paris that week, doh! I swear this one just keeps getting away from me! However, a few weeks later, as I missed the big shindig, the team kindly asked me in for a meal to finally get my fill of the Indian food I’d been missing all these years! So V and I headed down for a date night and a meal at Indian Summer.

The first thing that I noticed that sets Indian Summers apart, is that the inside the decor is sleek, smart and sophisticated, which is quite different from lots of Indian restaurants I’ve been to before. Low-level lighting sets the mood to an intimate space, perfect for dates and quiet meals with friends, with larger tables at the back adorned with huge chandeliers for bigger groups. Indian Summer has an interesting history – the restaurant was founded in 2001 by Minesh Agnihotri, who gave up a career making medical prosthetics and Byron Swales, whose family was forced to flee Burma in a wooden plane. They both had a mission to bring authentic cooking to Brighton, so they then recruited a team of talented chefs drawn from across various Indian regions to offer truly pan-Indian fine dining and have been going ever since!

The menu is varied and as a vegetarian, I found lots of lovely options to chose from. However, to start with over a delicious homemade Mango Lassi, we had to start with my favourite, Papads and Pickles. 

As our starters arrived, we were both served a little amuse-bouche, which was like a spicy tomato soup, just the perfect amount of spice to make the lips tingle and cleanse the palette. I decided to opt for the Tandoori Salmon, which arrived served in a smoked cumin and orange raita. I’d never tasted salmon and orange together, the combination was just divine! V went for the Onion Aubergine Pakoda which arrived beautifully presented with a tasty coriander chutney and tamarind sauce.

For our mains, I absolutely LOVE a Thali, so I just knew this was the option for me. I think I love it as it’s the opportunity to try so many little ‘mini dishes’ on one plate, the Vegetarian Thali included a mix platter of vaal subzi, sev tomato paneer, aloo subzi and dal, served with pickle, papad, roti and rice. What a mix! There is a little bit of everything on the plate and a whirlwind of flavours, I absolutely loved every mouthful. They also can offer the Thali as a vegan and gluten free option, which is fab too. V had her absolute favourite dish in Indian Cuisine, Shakahari Paneer – a mezze of tandoori paneer, spinach and potato tikki, sev tomato paneer and basmati rice. I was lucky enough to try some of the tandoori paneer and it was so perfectly flavourful and rich – delicious!

We rounded our meal off with a dessert to share as we were SO full from our Indian feast but I am a bad blogger and forgot to photograph it! I think I had a few sips of Gaviscon at this point too! (#pregnancyproblems)

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Indian Summer and I wonder how in 15 years this wonderful place had managed to slip the net. I would certainly consider it in the future for date nights or even special meals out with family and friends. It’s not just your average Indian, it has something special about it so I’d probably save my next visit for a special occasion for a real treat!

Indian Summer is located on East Street, Brighton – You can book a table online or give them a call on 01273 711001.

 

We were invited to Indian Summer for a complimentary meal in return for an honest review – All words and opinions are my own

Festive Food #4: Terre à Terre Brighton – Festive Menu

 So, my festive food journey around Brighton continues with one of my FAVOURITE restaurants in Brighton. This was the one I’ve had in my diary for over a month and I’ve slowly been counting the days as I just love, love, love Terre à Terre. I think I would go as far as to say it’s my favourite place in Brighton. You may have seen my last review from the summer – the food is just out of this world, so I was excited to see what festive treats would be on offer. For me, the best thing about Terre à Terre is the vast choice on the menu and just being able to relax and eat every dish as it’s all vegetarian. I always feel so spoiled for choice! I’m also always wowed by the creativity of the dishes and always come away feeling like I’ve tried something new and different, this is never your run-of-the mill meal out.

On the day of our review, annoyingly both Vee and I were feeling totally under the weather with an awful cold, but after eagerly awaiting our meal at Terre à Terre, we just couldn’t miss out –  so we plodded on out into town, hoping they would look after us and fill us full of comfort food and vitamins to cure our ailments. As soon as we arrived, we were shown to our table and upon seeing our sniffly noses, we were offered hot lemon and honey (I think Vee had a shot of Whiskey in hers!) to help us feel a little better. I thought this was such a lovely touch and with my sore throat soothed by the warm drink, I felt a little better already.

If I am honest, there wasn’t anything on the Festive menu I didn’t want to try, I may even have to go back so I can say I’ve tried it all, but eventually we ordered the following…

Starters: As a mince pie lover (I think I started eating them in October this year), I just had to order the Mince Pie and Chantilly Face (Hot Twineham Grange cheese and mustard seed pastry mince pie filled with mushroom marinade mincemeats served with hot porcini custard, quince pepper jelly, sherry and spice pickled walnut and Chantilly salt bean curds). I have to say I’ve never tried a savoury mince pie before but the flavour was just amazing – they had totally encapsulated the festive taste of a mince pie but with a gorgeous mushroom filling in the most delicious buttery pastry. The cream on the side was sweet, giving this a really interesting combination of salty and sweet – a taste sensation!

Vee went for the KFC (Korean fried cauliflower with sweet and sour sesame, onigiri rice, soused shiso dikon pickled mirin ginger jelly and green leaf salt dried chips finished with chestnut purée.). She chose this option as we’d tried it back in the Summer and loved it. The KFC are sweet, succulent fried cauliflower pieces with a light fluffy batter that isn’t at all heavy like some tempura can be, dipped in an oriental mix of flavours and sesame to give it that asian fusion taste.

 

Mains:  For the main, I had my eye on the the soufflé, but with Brighton Blue cheese, this is a big no-no in pregnancy so I had to be good and go for my second choice of Ding Dong Dengaku (Slow soft baked ume and ginger sake aubergine with tahini, toasted seed oil, white miso and mixed sesame crust with cranberry hibiscus juice. Served with amchur nori salt dusted puffed rice seaweed cracker, edamame, wasabi and yuzu pesto and wakame vegetable thread salad.). This was a completely unique dish, I wasn’t sure what to expect! The main part of the meal had a strong salty taste, which was almost a little overwhelming for me (or maybe I just have super pregnancy taste buds) however, mixed with a mouthful of the wakame vegetable salad gave the perfect balance with a refreshing, tangy zing. This was perfect comfort food as I was feeling under the weather, the cooling salad soothed my poorly sore throat and the flavours were strong enough for me to taste through my stuffiness!

Vee went for the Chai Fawkes (Chestnut Rosti bomb with salt plum and camembert molten middle, rolled in gunpowder beet tea embers, served with heritage and rainbow chard flames, ragout of hoppy sticky cinder salsify and root logs, juniper soused bulbs and boktops. Finished with silken mushroom mallow, black garlic aioli and amber crimson salts) and I have to admit I had slight food envy as it looked just amazing! She described it as eating a wintery ‘posh’ roast dinner that sizzled and popped in the mouth like popping candy! This is the most festive, creative dish I’ve seen on my festive food journey – I was impressed.

Desserts: Lastly, our desserts – my favourite part of the meal! After our dessert last time at Terre à Terre, they had a lot to live up to, but honestly – this time they didn’t disappoint either! We were both delighted with the pudding menu as both of our favourite dishes featured, for me – I couldn’t wait to have my first taste this season of Christmas Pudding, so I went for the Figgy pudding (Figgy pudding sticky with rumtopf fruits aged with spice spirits and barrel brews. Served with tangerine and Frangelico ice and smugglers clove custard and poached cranberries). This was the perfect traditional figgy pudding with a twist of the refreshing tangerine and frangelico ice – a real festive mix of tastes that had Christmas written all over it.

Vee was excited as her favourite, Churros were on the menu with a Terre à Terre twist –  the Churrosimo  (Cinnamon sugar spice dusted doughnut straws served with vodka cherries, salt caramel sticky dunker, warm dark chocolate dipper and finished with wild berry freeze dried crumble and extra brute cocoa powder). They tasted like they were baked, rather than being fried which took away that classic donut greasy taste, but the bit that made this dessert was the dip – Salt Caramel with Dark Chocolate in layers made this a real treat. The vodka cherries and wild berry crumble gave the dish a festive twist too.

Overall, we absolutely loved our festive menu experience at Terre à Terre, I know I’m biased as I’m a huge fan of the restaurant, but it was one of the best festive menu’s we’ve tried this season for both taste and creativity! I also felt super looked after by the wonderful staff who chatted to us lots, created special cold remedies and catered for our every whim.

If you’d like to try the festive menu, head down to Terre à Terre this month – the set 3 course menu is £33 per person and worth every penny. To book a table, visit their website or call 01273 729051. 

 

We were invited to Terre a Terre for a complimentary meal in return for an honest review – All words and opinions are my own