St Leonard's classic restaurant review

There's a new restaurant in St Leonard's that's attracting quite a bit of attention. Jonathan Keeble dropped in to see what all the fuss is about...

THE beautiful East Sussex countryside drifted past as we headed along the coast road towards St. Leonards-on-Sea. A visit to St Clement's Restaurant is worth it for the journey alone.The restaurant is one street back from the promenade in an area which has clearly seen better days. But St. Clement's is bright, modern and inviting and is just what this corner of the county needs. It's painted a classic heritage green with polished windows and blackboards offering the day's specialities. There's a whole host of fish dishes to tempt us including haddock, skate and lemon sole.

Chef Nick Hales comes highly recommended having spent his career in London. He opened St. Clement's just over a year ago and uses his vast experience to make the menu clean, unfussy and consequently appealing. There's a real emphasis on local produce, and it shows.

My starter of Smoked Duck, Beetroot Chutney and Red Chard Salad was fantastic. The duck was tender and for all I knew, the beetroot was so fresh it could have been grown in the restaurant garden. When it comes to the fish, Nick takes full advantage of being able to make his choice from the day's catch and he's more than happy to bring it out on a tray for customers to select.

I opted for a main dish of Skate, Mash, Samphire and Herb Cream sauce and again I couldn't fault it. The fish was succulent and the mash, so creamy it melted in the mouth, reminded me of a Sunday lunch at home. Also on offer, was Leg of Lamb, Confit of Duck and Sirloin Steak for those wanting a more traditional option.

And so onto desert and my eyes went straight to the Chocolate Truffle Cake with Crme Fraiche. The chocolate was ever so slightly warm and the crme fraiche melted invitingly alongside. Fantastic.


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