Small plates with a big heart at The Better Half
Pub dinner at the Better Half pub in Hove.
Despite Brighton and Hove famously having more pubs than there are days in the year, punters looking for something different may be forgiven for thinking there’s a distinct lack of variety on offer in our fair city.
Tucked away in Hove Place, a side street just off Hove seafront, the venue has put its very own twist on the traditional pub aesthetic.
As such, it’s as cosy and familiar as it is modern and cool, making it the perfect spot to settle in for the afternoon, the evening, or even the whole weekend.
Anything but small
We were there to try the new menu, which, in keeping with the “something a little different theme”, offers a smorgasbord of small plate treats to get the tastebuds tingling.
The small plates menu consists of 15 dishes, and there’s an offer of a £2.50 discount when you order three. There’s a fair mix of meaty, fishy, veggie, and vegan options, so there really is something for everyone; choosing wasn’t easy.
Over on the carnivore side of the table, he went for the pork bites, a substantial pile of succulent pork belly morsels coated in a rich and smoky Korean BBQ sauce. The ham hock croquettes, which were stuffed full of tasty meaty slithers, also hit the spot.
I finally settled on the beautifully creamy potted mackerel, served with toasted sourdough and pickled cucumber, which cut through the richness.
The bean and sweet corn fritters were delicious and came with a side of chimichurri sauce that I could have drunk straight out of the ramekin. We also shared the largest bowl of roasted beetroot hummus I have ever seen in my life, topped with dukka, and served with toasted flatbreads.
When the food arrived, we realised almost immediately we’d over ordered.
Our small plates were anything but small, filling our entire table and making us look exceedingly greedy. That said, everything was so good that we couldn’t stop eating, and we practically had to roll each other out at the end of the night. There are worse problems to have.
The only disappointment was that items including the fish bon bons with mango and chilli mayo, sticky chipolata sausages, and baked Camembert (insert salivating emoji here) didn’t make the cut. With hindsight, we realised that they wouldn’t have fit on the table. And at least we already know what we are having next time.
Classic options | Pub Dinner Hove
The small plates menu is a great idea for those wanting to share a few nibbly bits while soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying The Better Half’s impressive collection of craft ales and wines. That’s not to say it neglects the classic pub staples, however.
The burger menu features a chicken katsu burger for the adventurous, a Moving Mountain burger for the herbivores, and even a naked burger for those who like things altogether less “bready”. The classics section also boasts sausage and mash, and a pan-fried catch of the day with crushed potato, sautéed shrimp, fennel, and Pernod velouté.
The team bill their culinary offerings as contemporary food with The Better Half twist – done simply, honestly, and brilliantly. After spending an evening with the friendly team in their super chilled out surroundings, I’m inclined to agree.