Broadway Baby doesn’t often get the chance to turn restaurant critic, but as Sam’s of Brighton have added their pre-show Supper Club at the Spiegeltent to the official Fringe programme, who are we to overlook the chance to review it?
The meal was an exquisite array of dishes in a warm and friendly setting – a truly pleasant experience. I had the meat option so I can’t account for the vegetarian but I must say it’s rare to find such tasty and diverse cuisine in English restaurants. The food is provided by Sam's of Brighton, situated in the heart of Kemp Town village. Sam Metcalfe has been serving up great British food to locals for 12 years and if my experience was anything to go by, I would thoroughly recommend a visit.
I enjoyed the entrée of bread, olives, balsamic vinegar and oil whilst sitting outside in the comfy bar area as the sun set. This started the experience off nicely, a great setting to usher in the feast to come. The sumptuous field mushroom soup was wonderfully creamy without being too heavy or rich and the truffle oil lent it a unique depth. It was followed by a crab tart which blended different textures and flavours. The soft lemon carpaccio and crab filling gave a smoothness and moisture to the buttery base. It could have perhaps done with a touch more chilli to make it punchier, but the texture and taste worked very well.
The rump of South Downs lamb was cooked to perfection – succulent and infused with the robust flavour of rosemary. The creamy cepe mushroom gratin with red wine sauce was perhaps the highlight of the main course and worked as the perfect accompaniment to the lamb. The nicoise beans were tasty, but there was something odd about their combination with the meat – although to some people’s liking, I find the fusion of the scent and taste of fish with full-flavoured meat a bit jarring. The beans were cooked perfectly however, and as separate dishes they were thoroughly enjoyable.
I’m not usually one for trifle but this one was a surprising delight – it was the most enjoyable part of my meal. The various elements were well-proportioned and the portion size was ideal. The sprinkling of toasted almonds added a lovely crunch, texture and taste to the traditional dessert.
The waiters were on the ball and very attentive. They were friendly from the outset and ensured that there was an adequate pause between courses – service that is either too rushed or too slow is a major pet peeve of mine and they got it just right.
The Spiegeltent is one of my favourite venues at the festival. The restaurant is inside a gently lit, draped white tent – a suit of armour in the corner added a nice, rustic touch. Candles and flowers are set out on each table, creating a warm atmosphere that made the whole dining experience a real treat.
Following the meal in the Spiegeltent venue is ‘La Clique’, a wild and wacky experience of burlesque, cabaret and circus. It had me on tender-hooks, smiling, clapping and screaming throughout. A spectacle for the eyes and ears and an insight into the trans body, homoeroticism and the human form. The whole show proved to be a cocktail of sex, comedy, and the absurd in a way that was brilliantly self-aware and made for an undeniably five star experience.