A Taste of Paris in the Heart of Kemptown
It was a Thursday night and we were celebrating finding our new place. What better way to celebrate anything, than going somewhere new for a great steak.
We chose the New Steine Bistro in Kemptown, Brighton on a friend’s recommendation. It’s part of the boutique hotel, the New Steine. I’d not heard of it before, but once I looked at the website, I definitely wanted to try it out.
Have you ever walked past one of those inconspicuous looking establishments in Brighton, which unless you look very carefully could pass for someone’s house?
You know the Victorian terraced houses with steps going up to the front door?
Through the old fashioned bay windows you can just about see diners eating their dinner under soft candlelight. Well, the New Steine Bistro is one of these. A Parisian Bistro run by French proprietor, Hervé Guyat.
When we walked up the eight or nine steps to the closed front door, we didn’t quite know what to do, feeling like we were about to enter some kind of secret society.
As we tentatively went to ring the bell, a guest (I presumed) opened the door for us with a friendly smile and gestured us inside.
There were stairs right in front of us which we guessed went up to the rooms and the restaurant on our immediate right. As we walked in, my first thought was not only that this feels like someone else’s house, but that I wished it was my house!!
My boyfriend and I had just found our first place together and my vision for how I wanted the interior of our house to look eventually was right in front of me.
Lots of red, lots of unusual portraits and lots of ‘Parisian’ glamour.
The restaurant itself is considerably small only holding six tables, and possibly twenty or so covers. I would say though that this is not a downfall but a vital quality which plays a big part in its very special ambience.
Along with the intimate space, the seductive décor and the soft music playing in the background, it has a very relaxed and romantic feel to it.
A great place to come for Valentine’s or another special occasion. However, I would also feel comfortable coming here with friends or family.
We waited for just thirty seconds at the tiny bar until the lone waitress returned from the kitchen with a table’s meal. She was dressed elegantly in red in keeping with the restaurants style. She welcomed us warmly and sat us at a red clothed table by the old fashioned bay windows and left us alone to look at the menu.
Tommy had already decided he’d wanted steak which is why we had come tonight. Our friend who’d recommended this place to us told us it was ‘one of the best steaks in Brighton’. Though, I would have loved to have tested this view out too, it goes against all my principles to choose the same thing as the person I’m eating with.
The menu had a great selection of traditionally French meals, some everyone would recognise like the Moules Mariniere and some, not so much. The Tartiflette for example. A type of potatoe pie served with meat or fish. I’ve had this in a pub before and loved it. However, it was the Guinea Fowl that caught my eye. A meat I’d not tried before, which is a novelty for me. Growing up with a Dad who ‘hunts and gathers’ his family’s meals, I’ve tried most game and poultry.
We both chose a starter. I went for the Mackerel Rilette Pate and Tommy went for the Duck Foie Gras, something he’d never tried before.
Hervé told us that this was their ‘signature dish’ and something you can’t get everywhere in Brighton. Though, slightly dubious Tommy was absolutely thrilled when he tasted it. He said it was smooth as butter and almost tasted like butter, but in a deliciously rich and distinctive way.
I was told by the waitress that the Mackerel used to make my pate was locally sourced. It certainly tasted fresh and the smoky flavour was addictive. The portion was large and it came with three slices of lightly toasted, chewy sourdough bread. I didn’t have the restraint not to eat it all.
Whilst waiting for our main’s we looked at the wine menu. Tommy went for a red, in line with the décor. It was a Merlot. The Resplandy. Lots of juicy summer fruits and very easy to drink. I went for a white to go with my Guinea Fowl. A Colombard Sauvignon. The Lou Margel. This was gorgeous. Drier than I usually go, but rich and fruity as well.
Our mains came fairly swiftly after our starters but still with enough time to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Every time you looked up you noticed something new.
Tommy’s Sirloin steak looked beautiful. It was served with a steel cup of golden French fries and a dressed green salad.
The Sirloin took up half the plate and was glistening with juices.
As he cut into it, I could already tell it was ‘cooked to perfection.’ Thankfully, he decided to share and let me see for myself. It was indeed cooked to perfection and tasted great. Was it one of the best steaks in Brighton?
I thought I’d let Tommy make that call. Hervé came over to check on us and was very easy to talk to. He told us that the steak was free range and from a local farm nearby. When we asked him if he thought it was the best steak in Brighton, he was refreshingly modest, and said he would never say that as there are many great places to eat steak in Brighton, but that he would say it was ‘one of the best’.
When I asked why he thought this, his reply was simply, ‘the French know how to cook steak.’ Nicely put. But did Tommy agree? Still tucking in, his response was simply a big nod and a huge, happy smile.
On to my main dish: the Guinea Fowl with Autumn vegetables served with Gratin Dauphinois. This was presented with a perfect mound of Dauphinois, a swirl of mustard sauce and a simple sprig of flat-leafed parsley.
It looked like a mini whole chicken. I wasn’t sure what to expect but didn’t hesitate to find out.
The Autumn vegetables created a kind of stuffing in the bird. The taste was delicious. Tender meat and full of flavour. Not too ‘gamey’. Accompanied with the creamy potatoes and grainy sauce, each bite was a delight. Even Tommy who started the meal smug that he’d gotten the steak, was very impressed and wanted a second try.
We ended our celebratory meal with two simple desserts: the famously French Crème Brulee and simple chocolate mousse. Both were creamy, rich and decadent.
It’s always a risk when you try somewhere new for something as specific and classic as a steak. But this was a risk well worth taking with the New Steine Bistro.
The romantic Parisian restaurant delivered fantastic food in a wonderful atmosphere.
Not only did Tommy get to try ‘one of the best Steaks in Brighton’, but I left with lots of inspired ideas for our new home.