Steak Night at New Club.
Walking along Brighton seafront on a crisp, cold evening, we were both hungry and wondering where to go for dinner.
We didn’t want to go anywhere ‘fancy’ but we still wanted good food in a nice, relaxed setting. We walked past Regency Square on Kings Road, to head for Preston Street, a popular place to go for eateries in Brighton. As we were about to turn right up this ‘foody’ street, we stopped in our tracks and took notice of the very first one on the corner, The New Club.
The thing that made me stop first was actually the enticing smell coming from it. Chargrilled steak is what came to mind. When we peeked in we could see diners sitting in rust coloured, leather booths, lit by white waxy candles placed in wine bottles. They looked happy and relaxed so we thought ‘let’s join them’.
The building itself is pretty big, with a wide, open floor and huge windows looming over Kings Road. At first it’s hard to tell what kind of establishment it is. Is it an American diner? A coffee house? A bar? In fact, once inside, I found out that it’s all these things.
The inspiration for this place came from the owners researching a range of eateries and coffee houses in LA, New York and San Francisco.
They decided to combine both the stylish NY eatery with an independent coffee house, and so in 2013 The New Club Diner was born.
As quoted on their website, ‘the place to grab a morning coffee or enjoy a relaxing breakfast, have a quick bite of lunch at the counter, or share a few dishes and cocktails with friends in the evening.’
What I was now hoping was that it would also be the place to experience a great steak.
As you walk in, there’s a huge bar on your right with various vintage tin posters on the wall. The back wall is covered from floor to ceiling in a black and white scene of what looks like the back streets of New York.
The ceilings are high and large visible steel piping snakes across it. It has that very trendy industrial warehouse feel to it, but blended nicely with retro American.
Both the waitress and bartender greeted us simultaneously and asked us how our evenings were going. Although they were both British, this warm welcome reminded me of the service you so often receive in establishments in the U.S.
The waitress showed us to a table with a great view of the seafront, the West Pier and of the restaurant interior.
The first thing I did was open the food menu and look for the steak.
Thankfully for me, my sense of smell had been spot on ‘Dry Aged Organic Hertfordshire Rib-Eye‘ – I was already impressed.
Though, of course I did read the rest of the menu not least because I love to read about food, I knew nothing else would tempt me away from this choice.
Tommy was also tempted but decided to go for the ‘Dirty Burger’ so that we could each try two dishes.
The dinner menu is mainly burgers and steaks with a good range of inventive and interesting sides and ‘snacks’. The more I read the menu, the more I realised that this was in fact an American diner but an American diner with something more and a lot of nous.
When the waitress came over to take our order we asked her a bit about the size of the meals as we didn’t know how many sides or ‘snacks’ to order.
We were both pretty hungry but at the same time, like a lot of ‘foodies’, we have a tendency to over order. She was very honest with us and used her experience to help.
She explained that both the Rib-Eye and the Dirty Burger were large and it might be wiser to start with one ‘snack’ to start and then re-assess.
The crispy fried pickles with American mustard aioli had caught my eye but I thought I’d see what she recommended first.
She immediately said that the Pickles were definitely one to try. That was good enough for me.
They arrived on a vintage white tin plate, on top of a square of brown paper bag. Very New York. The taste was sensational. Sharp, Juicy, Crispy and Hot. They gave a whole new meaning to the word ‘appetiser’. Our appetite was well and truly ‘whetted’.
We ordered our mains with a side of fries and the Kale and Nut salad. The salad was ridiculously cheap at only £3.50 so I wasn’t expecting what we got.
It was certainly no ordinary salad and was like a meal within its own right.
It was a surprising amalgam of warm kale, radishes, sautéed onion, a mixture of nuts including cashews, pecans and hazelnuts, seeds, and a generous dollop of creamy ranch dressing which was obviously homemade.
Words do not do this ‘super salad’ justice.
Now for the steak. The star of the show in my book. I already had high expectations of the Rib-Eye from reading that it was Dry Aged, Organic and Hertfordshire.
I asked the waitress where they got their beef from and she told me it was from a local small holding in Sussex which only supply to the top restaurants in Brighton.
My expectations climbed even higher.
It came out on a wooden chopping board garnished with a generous ‘clump’ of watercress and a drizzle of vinaigrette. Like the rest of the New Club, it was pretty huge.
A great cut of meat with just the right amount of fat.
When I cut into it, I was pleased with how it had been cooked.
It had that great crusty, chargrilled outer edge, but still blushed pink-red in the middle.
There were already juices on the board before I even started. Gorgeous. It lived up to my high expectations. Although it was almost as big as me, I was enjoying it so much I ate way more than I needed to.
Tommy got to try some, but probably not as much as he’d hoped! Though, he was more than happy with his enormous ‘Dirty’ Burger.
When it was time for Desserts, we went for another traditionally American sweet on our trusted waitresses’ recommendation: the New York Cheesecake.
I’m not fussed about cheesecake so I ordered one of my favourites, the Affogato. You could get this with a range of liqueurs like Baileys or Amaretto but sadly I was driving so I went ‘Vanilla’.
I did have a sneaky peek at the Cocktail and After Dinner Drink menu though (for future reference). The menu was extensive and had some really inventive and exciting cocktails to choose from ranging from super sweet to sharply sour.
I made a mental note to come back with a few girlfriends and leave the car at home.
When the cheesecake arrived my eyes nearly popped out of my head. It was a huge portion and covered in a shiny drizzle of Dulce de Leche. Much to Tommy’s distaste, I tried a bit and it was incredible. I am now a cheesecake convert. Probably a week’s allowance of calories but totally worth it.
So, when we wandered into The New Club, looking for good food in a relaxed setting, we got that and more.
The food was high quality, fresh and inventive.
The steak was absolutely spot on and one I’d definitely go back for.
In fact, I think something The New Club does very well is that it gives its customers several reasons to come back for.
As we left, relaxed, warm and satisfied I was already thinking of the next occasion I could return to experience more.
Brighton Food Reviewer, Jodie Wallis, November 2014
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