I haven't reviewed any Brighton establishments for a little while. But I was compelled to write about my experience a Little Bay in Brighton because quite frankly, it was cr@p.
When this place first popped up on the seafront, my friends and I were excited because from the outside, it looks like a quirky, luxurious and fun place to visit. It's an opera themed restaurant with royal box style seating. It's taken some time to get around to visiting Little Bay, just because it would be a bit of a gamble away from trusted eateries and as we all know the dining out budget is precious right now!
As we were having a work night out on me, and the team deserved something fun for all their hard work, I thought it would be great to treat them to Little Bay. The website looked good, there was also a branch in London so they must do ok, and the menu sounded nice.
However, from my very first encounter I was a bit frustrated. I booked online, and after received a string of confirmation emails I received another email telling me I'd better phone the restaurant. So I did, and they had no record of the booking, so I had to start all over again.
When we got to the restaurant, it looked nice inside, but we were offered a table by the drafty door out of the main decorated area of the restaurant (which defeats the object of going to a themed restaurant) or another "booth". I straight away jumped at the chance to have a booth, thinking it would be one of the mezzanine level tables. As we got to the table we all burst out laughing - we were asked to squeeze under what could only be described as a bunk bed style structure. It was too dark to read the menu, the 6 of us were rather cosy, and we could see right in to the washing up room. The "ceiling" above us had a bare wire hanging down, and they hadn't even bothered to paint the plywood. As people were shown to the table above us, the loud creaking concerned us that they would be joining us for dinner by dropping through the ceiling. Not the classy operatic experience I had hoped for.
We had found a voucher online, which offered 3 courses for £13 but actually the waitress told us it didn't represent a saving if we went with the a la carte menu so pretty much refused to explain what we would get with this. She was a grumpy madam I must say.
The menu was, shall we say short, and things called chicken satay didn't even seem to have any peanut in them whatsoever. The menu was printed on that baggy sticky laminate stuff typed in a naff font. I was the only one of us that was brave and opted for something other than a burger - confit of duck with a side of vegetables.
As the other half of a former Junior Masterchef of Great Britain apprentice, I have eaten a fair amount of good food and duck confit so I know what it should be like. I have never had duck confit so spicy it made my eyes water, on a sloppy bed of red cabbage and cold butternut squash. The duck was dry and horrible and the vegetable were mega spicy too.
We decided not to go for the one choice on the pudding menu of banoffee pie, as I feared it may actually have been made of cucumbers or something.
Drinks we ridiculously expensive, with a double JD and coke costing a whopping £7.50 on a Thursday night.
What a disappointment. We left the restaurant - no one said thank you or goodbye, they were too busy serving tables of posh people in the middle who looked like they were having a great time. I wonder if they had a different experience to us, a group of 20 somethings? Hmmmm......he only phrase that springs to mind with this restaurant is - all fur coat and no knickers.
See my other Brighton Reviews