Eat Here: Due South, BrightonBy Elliot Mitchell
When it comes to fine dining, few places are doing better things than Brighton right now. Whether it’s tried and tested institutions like Riddle and Finns, or the pioneering spirit of newcomers like Burnt Orange or Embers, no one is doing it like this city.
Nestled on the seafront is another fine example of culinary brilliance that should become a bucket list spot for tourists and locals alike – Due South.
Despite being in a prime spot between the piers, Due South is easy to casually miss due to the fact it’s sat amongst a multitude of thriving beach bars and next door to behemoth food market Shelter Hall. It is the understated nature of the restaurant however that belies its charm, making it feel like you’re in on a secret from the second you walk through the door even though you’re in the centre of the city.
Woody aromas fill the air (everything is cooked this way, with no gas or ovens in sight which is no doubt an unexpected blessing with the current energy crisis), and the intimate two-level dining room is remarkably designed to capture ambience yet keep you nicely separated from other tables.
The menu changes monthly, making best use of seasonal produce and market prices, while some dishes remain as staples across the year. We started with the wood-fired bread and whipped butter, alongside a hot oyster with chilli, garlic and baked Nduja. Gorgeously delivered on a tower of salt, it was an introduction that set the tone for the rest of the menu, bringing together minimal ingredients in a thoughtful manner that let every flavour speak for itself; no over-indulging or menu-fluffing, instead keeping things low-key and delicious.
We then moved on to two words that will make anyone salivate – lobster crumpets – alongside scallops cooked in butter and yakitori lamb skewers. Taking small plates to glorious new heights, each dish packs a punch in a different way, as we’re taken on a journey through rich flavours that manage to stay just on the right side of indulgence, leaving you wanting more whilst equally wanting everyone in your vicinity to try a bite.
This thought process continued into the next course with a dry-aged cote de beouf that would bring Salt Bae to tears. Expertly cooked (and not a piece of gold leaf in sight, thank god), succulent Sussex beef paired perfectly with pomme gratin and hen of the woods for a taste sensation, and arguably the finest example of wood-firing cooking.
It is perhaps the local pride that is the star of the show at Due South, from locally reared Sussex meats to seafood caught mere metres away, alongside an extensive drinks menu comprising of wines from vineyards in the area, and of course Brighton Gin (which we opted for as an after-dinner snifter).
There is perhaps no finer personification of Brighton at the moment than Due South, in both its culinary offering and independent charm. Needless to say, we’ll never mistakenly walk past again.
For further information on Due South, see here.
139, Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 2FN
Third photo credit: Xavier Buendia