A summers evening at Chambers Bistro
It was a warm balmy Wednesday evening. I don’t know about you, but summers are when I find myself venturing away from the lures of the ‘box’ and spending more evenings out and about with friends – even on a ‘school night!’
A visit to Shoreham-by-sea
This Wednesday evening my lovely friend Tess and I decided to break up the week and go for dinner at the modern Chambers Bistro in the historical little town of Shoreham-by-sea. Although I work in Brighton and Tess is currently studying full time in Kent, we both live in tiny villages in West Sussex, so we’re much more likely to meet up somewhere halfway between our home ‘towns’ and Brighton.
Restored with a modern twist
I love Shoreham-by-sea. It’s a proper Sussex coastal town. More pubs than you can count; beautiful views of the sea, river and the Downs and a relaxed, laidback feel. Chambers is set in the Old Town Hall, beautifully restored with a modern twist and bang in the middle of the high street; with a backdrop of the River Adur.
Greeted with smiles
As we walked in we were greeted with smiles all round. Family run, the staff always look happy to see you and eager to please. Even on a Wednesday night, the restaurant was busy with many tables filled.
Something I noticed was that there wasn’t one ‘type’ of person here: families, couples, groups of friends, old people and young. Matching the little town it was situated, the atmosphere is relaxed and laidback.
Choosing from the large menu
We were both hungry so we decided to go the whole shebang and get starters, main and pudd’. The menu has a lot to choose from. There’s also a daily specials board and a very affordable set menu. Much like the ‘theatre menus’ you get in Brighton. Due to the variety and choice, it took us a while to choose, but I enjoyed taking my time and listening to the sounds of the restaurant: soft background jazz and the low hum of relaxed diners chatting. There’s Live Jazz on a Friday evening. Something I might come back for.
Lots of tasty flavour combinations
Tess was undecided between the Pan Fried Duck Strips to start or the Grilled Halloumi, Pineapple and Pomegranate salad. I was in the mood for seafood and was stuck between the Sautéed Part Peeled Prawns with chilli, garlic and coriander or the Seared Mackerel Fillet with balsamic beetroot. Feeling lazy I went for the ‘less work’ option and went for the Mackerel. Tess decided on the Duck.
Homely & beautifully presented
Both dishes were superbly presented on beautiful blue and white floral plates. We both commented on how unusual it was to see such homely dinnerware in a restaurant. It all just adds to the relaxed feeling of the place.
As we were both driving, we could only have the one glass of wine to last our whole meal, so we chose carefully. Tess went for the crisp, fruity Sauvignon Blanc, and I went for the buttery Chardonnay. Nothing beats a chilled glass of white at the end of a long day!
Very impressed with the start to our meal we looked forward to our mains, although both a bit nervous about how we were going to manage as the starters were very generous portions. Especially the Duck. It was almost a meal in itself! Also, eyes too big for my belly I’d ordered bread too. Chewy and fresh, it was so delicious it was hard to show restraint. The friendly waitress smiled when she could see that we were full before our mains had even arrived.
Fresh summery mains
Again, both meals were beautifully presented and looked more like a work of art than a dinner. We had ordered the Seared Yellow Fin Tuna Steak with Pea, Asparagus and Spring Onion Risotto. The second main was the Rolled Lamb Breast with Fresh Herbs, Olive Oil Marinade, Spring Greens, Shallots & Garlic New Potatoes with a Cucumber and Mint Yoghurt. You don’t often see Lamb Breast on a menu so we were intrigued.
Both dishes were summery, even the lamb due to its accompaniments. It had obviously been slow cooked as when you put your knife and fork through it, it pulled apart, like pulled pork. Displayed on a square piece of slate, it came in three rolls accompanied by soft but chargrilled garlicky new potatoes, glossy spring greens and dollops of creamy, fresh tzatziki. A lovely unique summery dish.
Risotto cooked to perfection
The tuna was cooked rare as we requested and sat on a bed of perfectly cooked risotto. Risotto can be a bit of risk I find, because if the chef doesn’t get it right, it can end up a stodgy, flavourless mess. The Chef at Chambers obviously didn’t have this trouble. Creamy but light, the flavours of the green veg really shone through. Because of our enthusiastic start, we couldn’t quite finish everything on our plates.
As always, the staff were eager to please and double checked with us that everything was ok with our food, noticing that we had left some. We reassured her and admitted our mistake with the bread.
Despite this, we still perused the dessert menu. Although filled with delicious sweet treats such as the Gooey chocolate and orange fondant with honeycomb bites and baileys ice cream (Oh my god…) we were defeated. Well almost. In keeping with the summery evening theme, we decided we could just about manage to share a few scoops of ice-cream. Baileys, Chocolate and Raspberry sorbet, served in a retro brandy snap basket. It was a lovely end to a lovely meal and a perfect way to spend a mid week summer’s evening.