Casual Elegance at The Grand
The Grand has been a part of the fabric of Brighton since its inception, opening in 1864, The Grand served as a playground for the rich and famous during Brighton’s renaissance as the go-to holiday destination favoured by Royalty and recommended by doctors.
Among its many treasures was the first elevator (aka the vertical omnibus – which is what I am calling elevators from now on) in Sussex and electrified lighting throughout the whole building, which, when you consider that street lighting was not introduced to London until 1882 was quite the achievement.
Past guests at The Grand include Napoleon III, John F. Kennedy, the Duke of Windsor and Ronald Reagan, and for one evening we joined these famous names as honoured guests.
Our menu of choice for the evening is the Victoria Terrace Grill Menu, a relatively new edition to the impressive dining choices available on the ground floor of The Grand. In a way it is little sister menu to the menu of GB1; it has fewer menu options represented by a more informal plate but with the same attention to detail (of note is the drinks menu which has been paired with each dish) and first-rate quality ingredients.
As we relaxed into the casual elegance of the Victoria Terrace, admiring the expansive views across West Pier, our dishes began to arrive.
Classic Dishes with a Modern Twist
For our starters we chose the Tiger Prawn Cocktail with American Sauce and the Pea and Mint Soup with Cashew Pesto.
As classic dishes of English cuisine, one would assume there was nothing new for the taste buds to experience, but in the hands of the Grand, these dishes are once again elevated (or should that be vertically omnibussed?) to flavourful heights. The Pea and Mint Soup is smooth and creamy and cooked so well that at no point did we need to add any extra seasoning; there was surprising yet welcome note of zest – maybe from the butter? And the cashew pesto, served on the side atop thin baguette crisps, was just as creamy and delicious as the soup.
The Tiger Prawn Cocktail, served in a stainless-steel martini glass, was simply fantastic; the prawns were fresh and perfectly cooked, and the American sauce added a nice, subtle, boozy kick to proceedings.
For our mains we chose the Sussex Rump Steak with Mash and Café de Paris sauce and the Wagyu Beef Burger with Fries and Peppercorn Sauce. Again, the simplicity of each dish was elevated by the mastery and skill of the kitchen at The Grand. Each bite was a welcome symphony of flavour. The mash was indulgent in its creaminess, the steak was of exceptional quality and had been seared just the way we like it and the Café de Paris sauce brought these elements together under a herby, buttery blanket of joy.
The Wagyu burger was a double patty that had the flavour that is synonymous with Wagyu and topped with salsa and fresh salad, it is not your average burger; the fries are skin-on and cut in the French style then seasoned with precision. It was definitely indulgent to have peppercorn sauce on the side of a meal of burger and fries but at no point did we regret the decision; it was by far the best peppercorn sauce I have had the honour of eating.
When we were offered dessert by our wonderful and attentive waiting staff we could not refuse. As we were thoroughly stuffed from our previous courses, we decided on bowls of ice cream, three scoops each, one bowl of almond and one of blood orange sorbet from the extensive list available (of which one can mix and match). I have been searching for that perfect Italian gelato without the cost of a holiday and I have found it, perhaps unsurprisingly, on the menu at The Grand. It has been made in Sussex by the Italian Gelato Company and I will be frequenting their gelateria on the seafront from this point forward.
Soak Up the Finer Things
Our meal finished and in the relaxed style on offer on the terrace we sat taking in the atmosphere once more, filled and satisfied and well looked after in the way that only a grand old lady knows how to do.
It has been an evening steeped in tradition but given a modern twist; casual and comfortable but with the refined excellence one would expect from such an establishment as The Grand.
Dining on the Victoria Terrace makes for an unforgettable experience; it is manageable in terms of budget and you get to soak up the finer things in life while taking in the expanse of the seafront. Looking out over West Pier as the sunsets and attentive staff bring you plates of top-notch food makes for an unforgettable and, dare I say, immensely romantic evening.