GB1 at The Grand restaurant review


- Credit: Archant

GB1 at The Grand, the stylish addition to Brighton’s culinary landscape, does classic dishes with charm and panache

The Grand has been watching benevolently over Brighton’s seafront since 1864. This iconic hotel has been the backbone of the a fledgling Victorian tourist industry, survived calamity – being the site of the infamous bombing in the Eighties – and borne witness to innumerable weddings, engagements and holidays. Now, after extensive renovation, it is widening its offering to locals with restaurant GB1, which opened in February 2013.

Specialising in fish and seafood, GB1 is a ritzy place; dining there made me feel like a character in an F. S. Fitzgerald novel. The focal point of the room is a huge circular bar seating 20, with oysters and catch of the day on display. Tapping into the trend for food as theatre, shellfish is prepared before the eyes of diners by the sleek waiting staff.

Marble columns and intricate coving combine with pale neutrals and Deco lines to make the décor cool, classic and polished, in keeping with The Grand’s air of mature sophistication. The room allows intimate dining for couples or more convivial people watching. They’ve also got the lighting just right, which is important. Everyone looked candelight-pretty, without having to hold the menu an inch from their nose.

The menu is extensive, with fruits de mer platters occupying the first few lines of the menu. Diners can choose from crab, prawns or lobster as a centrepiece. We chose king prawns, which came with crab claws, clams, mussels and the restaurant’s signature salmon starter – cured with treacle, orange and sea salt, it is both decadent and delectable. The crustacea were ozone fresh, sweet and succulent, and my companion pronounced his oysters exquisite. Prices are fairly reasonable, at £32 for a lobster platter and fishy mains hovering around £17.

From the locally sourced fish menu, I selected whole, line-caught sea bass (£16) with a piri piri sauce. It was delicious, and even the memory warms my soul. The sauce was spicy, sweet, and velvety, but didn’t overpower the fish. Accompaniments included honey mustard new potatoes, which I will be trying at home – sticky and moreish, they are the perfect winter comfort food. Green beans and mange tout were cooked simply and tossed in garlic.

After sampling the delights of the deep pretty thoroughly, dessert simply had to be light and fruity. A deconstructed lemon meringue pie fit the bill perfectly, being somehow creamy and feather-light, and by all accounts the chocolate mousse was a cracker too.

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In GB1, the The Grand’s team have done this grand old lady of the seaside proud.