Spring Has Sprung

It’s finally that wonderful time of year, when the clocks have sprang forward and so do we.

Although winter has it’s magic, it is a relief when we leave the cold, dark days of winter behind and emerge into the warmer, brighter days of spring. It feels that bit easier to get up in the mornings, and everyone seems to have slightly more bounce. Like the spring lamb’s frolicking around the South Down’s right now.

A Shift in Eating Habits

With spring here our eating habits start to change too. It’s less wintery, comforting ‘stodge’ we want and more lighter, fresher dishes. There’s some great fruit and vegetables in season now including cauliflower, spring greens, new potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli and rhubarb. All grown locally in the UK too.

Salad - Busby and Wilds

Seasonal, Sustainable, Seafood

The best meats to go with all that lovely veg right now are pork and of course, the aforementioned spring lamb. But if it’s fish and seafood that floats your boat more this time of year, there’s plenty of that in season now too including cod, lobster, crab and salmon.

Lobster at the Copper Clam, Brighton

My Dad went on his first fishing trip of the year last week, and he and his fisherman friends had a cracking day. They each caught many bass between them, my Dad catching the biggest at 8 lb’s, (the smile on his face in my last post says it all.)

I love this time of year, as my Dad  always has plenty of fresh, local and sustainable fish on hand which he’s more than happy to share out.

This makes me equally happy as good quality fresh fish can sometimes be on the pricey side and I love to cook and experiment with fish, so it’s great if you know someone like my Dad.

Or perhaps you like to get out on the water yourself and see what bites.

You may not be either of these people and prefer to leave the catching and the cooking to someone else all together.

Seafood & Sussex

Brighton, Hove and Sussex is a phenomenal place to be with a plethora of outstanding fish and seafood restaurants.

The Urchin Pub in Hove, Craft Beer and Shellfish

The classic Riddle and Finns, the new and unique shellfish bar, the Urchin, the classic GB1 restaurant and the brand new Salt Room to name but a few…

The Grand Restaurant, Brighton, GB1, Seafood Restaurant
Mackerel at the GB1 restaurant, the Grand Hotel – Mackerel Season is late Spring

 Alfresco Dining in Brighton & Hove

That is the other thing I love about the onset of Spring – those first days of ‘al fresco’ dining.

Granted, in the first few weeks most of us (especially us sun deprived Brits) sit outside shivering in our short sleeves, trying to pretend it’s warm enough whilst looking like a plucked chicken.

However, once past that, the sun does actually start to warm up and we get to enjoy one of life’s most delicious pleasures: to dine al fresco.

Unsurprisingly, Brighton and Hove and the surrounding countryside have some great options for this wonderful kind of dining.

Kings Road, the Arches along the promenade on Brighton seafront is an obvious first place to look. Riddle and Finns sister restaurant ‘The Beach’ is one of many great places to chill, shoot a few freshly shucked oysters and sip something cold and fizzy whilst sitting on the terrace taking in the iconic view of Brighton seafront. Bliss.

Seafood restaurant, champagne and oyster bar, Riddle and Finns, Brighton beach, Kings Road Arches, fish restaurant, Brighton. Paul Fletcher Photography

There are also plenty of other establishments that provide outside dining slightly further ‘in land’.

Heading into the lanes, but still only a stone’s throw from the seafront you’ve got the attractive, gothic style Hotel Du Vin. You can dine here under their vine-covered pergola outside in the central courtyard.

With a ‘goblet’ of expertly chosen wine, it’s easy to imagine you’re back in time 3 centuries before when the buildings were first built by a local wine merchant. Hence the name.

Alfresco Bistro Du Vin, Brighton

Brighton comes alive in Spring and Summer more so than most cities I’ve ever visited and I’ve been to a few. So, now the weather and the length of days are beckoning us to eat and drink under the sun and the stars, Brighton is definitely the right place to be.

Alfresco Dining in Sussex

Lets not forget the countryside though.

Another brilliant thing about this time of year, is how much lighter and longer the evenings are.

The Glass House Restaurant, Albourne, Sussex, Wickwoods, Henfield

No longer are we leaving for work before the sun comes up and getting home after it’s gone down. Thank goodness. Instead, we wake up to daylight and come home with a few hours of springtime sunshine still left. What a difference that makes.

These are the times to get in the car and take a drive into the countryside where you can eat some fantastic food in beautiful Sussex surroundings.

The Shepherd & Dog, Country Pub, Fulking, Henfield, West Sussex

The Shepherd and Dog in Fulking is literally sitting at the bottom of the south downs, their beer garden simply a sloping hill upward. It’s not easy to tell where the garden ends and the south downs begin. Which I think is the attraction.

The great thing about a lot of Sussex country pubs is that most have recognised that people want the experience of being in a ‘proper pub’ in the country but that they also want excellent quality food, not just ham, egg and chips (though of course, sometimes that’s just what you need).

Jolly Sportsman, Sussex Restaurant, Fine Cooking

On springtime evenings when the air is balmy and the sun is still out, there is nothing like sitting in a country pub beer garden, eating locally sourced, seasonal food, supping locally brewed ale and letting the worries of winter fade away.