Words by Samantha Harman
It is fair to say the fabulously named Daddy Longlegs is off the beaten track, tucked away near Brighton Marina and East Brighton Park. However, whispers around the city about the new small plates menu have been positive, so when I was asked to review the food for Discover I was intrigued.
The venue’s exterior looks like an inviting old school boozer and has clearly enjoyed many reincarnations. The interior is bright, and airy with a relaxed energy and I received a warm welcome from manager Anya, who showed me and my dining partner to a cozy booth by the window.
We started with a palatable ice cold bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, which was light-bodied and peachy with a touch of floral elegance while casting our eyes over the menu, which is broken down into ‘Hot’ and ‘Cold’ plates and ‘Fishy Friday Specials’. I couldn’t resist the Red Mullet Kedgeree from the specials and we also ordered chicken wings, crispy pork belly, Thai cucumber salad and Mexican potatoes.
The dishes arrived in quick succession, each as exciting to the eye as they were to the taste buds. One of my favourites was the Thai cucumber salad with nuts, which I have never tried before. It had all the coolness of a cucumber with a kick of sweet chilli, thinly sliced red onion and crunchy nuts, the perfect summer salad which I will definitely try to recreate myself sometime.
The Red Mullet kedgeree was the piece de resistance though, a whole grilled fish resting on top of a mound of creamy saffron rice and hard boiled egg quarters. Full of delicate, perfectly balanced spices and flaky fall-off-the-bone fish.
Anya promised me their chicken wings would be better than another well-known chicken establishment I frequent regularly, so they had a lot to live up to. The wings were served with delightful mini corn ribs, Trufallo (which is spicy buffalo sauce) and sour cream. The meat literally fell off the bone and I have to say they definitely lived up to the manager’s promise.
As regular readers will know, I eat at a variety of high-end restaurants across the city, so when I tell you these dishes blew me away, you will know my opinion is an educated one. Everything was cooked fresh and to absolute perfection. The food was also presented spectacularly and could easily hold its own against any of the other small plate venues in town.
I wasn’t expecting such fine dining from this down to earth pub and I think that’s what made the experience even more special, the tagline on the website reads, ‘Enjoy the finer things, without the fuss’, this is Daddy Longlegs to a tee. My advice? Hop on that bus or into that taxi and get down there pronto for a gorgeous meal and excellent, friendly service.