The Urchin Hove – Review
Having moved away from Hove a few years back, we are yet to have the pleasure of trying the food at The Urchin. We are very excited that on a warm Sunday afternoon today is the day.
The Urchin is a wonderful, warm and inviting pub with a great beer garden and perfect to relax with friends.
They offer a great choice of beer and wine and a fantastic choice of seafood. We are shown to our table by the friendly bar staff and quickly order a citrus sour beer which I have heard great things about and Lucy orders a glass of prosecco.
Whilst we check out the tempting menu and specials board, we order a couple of their fresh oysters. Lucy chooses one topped with crispy prosciutto and jalapeños and I choose just to add lemon and Tabasco to mine. They are amazing and taste of the sea just as you would expect; I could just eat plate after plate of them and be very happy.
We order our dishes based on the chef’s recommendations and as I glance round the already busy pub I see The Urchin’s great alternative to a Sunday roast. They offer the most impressive looking sharing paella. Based on the smell and their Spanish chef I think this will be very popular.
To follow on from our oysters, we have ordered the scallop ceviche and clams with garlic, chilli and coriander. The scallop comes out served on scallop shell which is a lovely little touch, served with grapefruit, chilli and coriander. The grapefruit is a great accompaniment; the sour flavour with the freshness of the scallop and slight heat of chilli is so tasty yet delicate. We quickly polish this off with satisfied smiles on our faces.
The clams are served in copper pots that add to the theatre of the meal. The sauce is made up of the juices from the clams and the hint of garlic, chilli and coriander are perfect for dipping the fresh thickly sliced bread. Clams are the perfect dish to share and with the finger bowls it just makes a fun meal out for two. As with the oysters and scallops everything is so fresh and you can see the great care and pride The Urchin takes in its seafood.
Whilst we wait for our main courses, it is great to watch the staff interact with all of their customers, offering bibs for those messier dishes and really taking the time to make people feel welcome; not just a great restaurant but a friendly local!
The main dishes are served again in the stylish copper pots and they place in front of us. The Thai green mussels and the prawn, squid and chorizo feijoada, which has been highly recommended by the chef.
You can smell the lemongrass coming through the green curry sauce.
It smells so good and I dip the spoon in the sauce and it is perfect.
You can taste the mussels and the sauce does not overpower, it enhances the flavours. The mussels are large and prepared well and I am so happy we have some bread leftover to mop up more of the sauce.
Engaging front of house team
We are informed that the feijoada is Portuguese rather than Brazilian as in Portugal they use white beans rather than black beans of Brazil. I love it when the servers are as interested as the chef in the food and understand what they are putting in front of you; again another sign of a great place.
The dish is very eye catching with massive prawns mixed in a rich red sauce with large chunks of chorizo nestled among big slices of fresh squid. Wedges of tomato add to the colour of an already vibrant dish. The flavours really pack a punch, with the paprika from the chorizo adding a great smokiness to the fish, the prawns are plump and juicy and cooked to perfection. The squid is tender and just melts in the mouth. The sauce could be a soup in its own right as it is just scrumptious and whether it be Portuguese or Brazilian with black beans they both know how to make a warming and tasty stew.
As we use the finger bowls one last time and look at the empty dishes in front of us I have to say The Urchin doesn’t just have two happy customers but two soon to be regulars. The flow of people in and out of the pub is great to see and people come for food or just a glass of their craft beer selection which is enough on its own to bring me back. I am so impressed with The Urchin we book a table for Lucy’s birthday on our way out of the door.