Fish and Seafood Afternoon Tea at The Grand
When I hear afternoon tea, I think dainty finger sandwiches, warm crumbly scones with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry jam and petit fours to finish off. What doesn’t spring to mind is fresh local crab, juicy langoustine, succulent oysters and keta cavier. Well, Executive Chef Alan White from GB1 restaurant at the Grand Hotel has changed all that.
When my Dad and I was invited to try the unique Fish and Seafood Afternoon Tea at GB1, I was intrigued and very excited. We’re both seafood lovers, and I for one am also a big fan of afternoon tea, so to combine these two sounded like a dream.
Contemporary And Unique Dining
GB1 restaurant has only been open for a couple of years but it has very quickly made it’s mark. Winner of 2AA rosettes, the effortlessly stylish restaurant has created a new kind of edge to the traditional iconic hotel. Cleverly working with the hotels historic character and regency architecture, it has managed to create a contemporary and unique dining place within the most beautiful hotel in Brighton.
My Dad and I don’t make a habit of ‘taking afternoon tea’ on a weekday, least of all in a place like the Grand! We both felt very special and decided to fully embrace it. As we arrived the hotel was bustling with guests, visitors and staff but it didn’t take long for someone to notice our slightly lost faces and direct us to the entrance of GB1 which was just to the right as you first walk in.
Champagne And Oyster Bar
We were greeted by a hostess warmly and told to follow her to our table. Our eyes immediately went to the striking Champagne and oyster bar in the centre which has been built around the existing marble columns and the central ornate chandelier. The seating is a mixture of high tops and benches in a comfy rusty red leather and the flooring a gorgeous varnished wood. We were taken through to the back where there’s more seating in the light and airy conservatory. Every seat in this area has an impressive view of Brighton beach and the iconic West Pier.
As we sat down we were greeted by our waiter who gave us a big smile and offered us a glass of cold champagne. How could we refuse? When it came it had a strawberry delicately placed on the edge. A simple but elegant touch. GB1’s philosophy is ‘quality with simplicity’. We were already starting to see why. The bubbles were fantastic and tasted of peaches and cream.
To accompany the seafood afternoon tea there is a choice of lemon and ginger tea or fresh lemonade.
We thought we would keep some tradition to the affair so went for the tea! When poured from it’s pot, it came out an interesting pink colour. Peeking inside, I could see all sorts of flowers, herbs and spices which explained the exotic colour. As for the taste it was refreshingly robust for a herbal tea and had a real spice to it with a lemony zing. We could definitely see why it was chosen to accompany the particular cuisine we were about to feast on. This tea was sourced from the Kent and Sussex Tea company.
Enjoying our drinks and the sea view, our ‘afternoon tea’ arrived. Served on a round white plate sitting on top of a metal stand, it looked magnificent. The warm salted scone was served next to three slices of treacle cured salmon, a pot of keta caviar and some dill crème fraiche. The succulent Poole Bay oysters were sitting on the side in oyster shaped iron moulds with a half a mesh covered lemon ready to squeeze. There was a dish of prepared local crab in the centre along with an ornate china pot of pickled shellfish including prawn, mussels, clams and cockles. The piece de resistance however was the giant juicy Langoustine elegantly sitting on top. If all of that wasn’t enough there was also a giant doorstep sandwich made with local chewy brown bread and filled with Wye Valley smoked salmon and cream cheese.
A Taste Of The Sea
Everything tasted extremely fresh. To help scoop up the crab there was a vintage iron toast rack filled with rye bread melba toasts. It was clear that both the white and the brown meat from the crab had been used and served on the toasts it was spectacular. Although it’s hard to choose, I think if I had to I would say the crab was the highlight for me.
Every mouthful was like a taste of the sea.
Everything where possible is locally sourced from the well known and well respected Brighton and Newhaven Fish Sales (BNFS). This is the only fish market my Dad will buy from. I’m told by the waiter that the Chef and his team have developed a good working relationship with the suppliers at BNFS and they ensure that all the fish served at GB1 is local and sustainable. You will not find any exotic fish from afar on your plate here.
The pickled shellfish was pickled in really light and delicate vinegar which didn’t mask any flavour like some harsh vinegars can.
The treacle cured salmon was an explosion of taste and served on top of half a salted scone with a dollop of dill crème fraiche, it was sensational.
A Final Touch…
Extremely full, we sat back and commented on what a unique and pleasant way to experience afternoon tea. We felt very satisfied and relaxed and enjoyed the sea view. We’d forgotten at this point about the final touch. A mini ice cream cone made with brown bread gelato ice cream. Yes, that’s right: brown bread ice cream! Neither of us were sure about this concept but always willing to try something new. It’s hard to describe but the brown bread provides a deliciously chewy texture to the creamy vanilla ice-cream and it works really well. It was the perfect creative end to a unique and creative meal.
If like me, you’re a seafood lover and you’re partial to an afternoon of leisure and indulgence then GB1 is definitely the place to go.
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