Review – 24 St Georges
24 St Georges lies in the heart of Kemptown, Brighton. Having heard great word of mouth about this fine dining restaurant, we booked a table for three people almost a month in advance in order to secure a reservation.
Kemptown is home to some of the best food and drink establishments our city has to offer, including The Townhouse, The Ginger Dog, Busby and Wilds, Brighton Rocks, Pizzaface, Hand in Hand and The Barley Mow. With such diverse and eclectic offerings in that area, the decision on where to spend a Saturday night can be a difficult one. However, in 24 St Georges you’ll find a welcoming atmosphere, classic decor and modern European cuisine to feast upon.
24 St Georges is a co-ownership between Dean Heselden and Jamie Everton-Jones, both of whom have prominent roles in not only the kitchen but also the operational side of running a busy restaurant. Family men, they see 24 St Georges as a joint venture in sharing their passion for “great food and exceptional service“.
Situated on St George’s Road, the restaurant is easy to locate and recognisable by the large, clear glass window on the front of the building. Stepping inside, the floor is divided into two, a welcome area where your coats are checked and a formal dining area. Seats by the window are seemingly reserved for two making this a fantastic date restaurant. Who wouldn’t want a glorious window seat to watch the world go by from and gaze longingly into a partners eyes?
The menu at 24 St Georges offers classic European dishes with a modern twist. Dean and Jamie are committed to using local produce and fine tuning dishes to align with the changing seasons. I did wonder if the menu changes monthly and if on February 1st we were dining from January’s menu? Small quibble aside, I had no problem ordering the Lobster Cannelloni – with Sussex blue cheese, tarragon, lemon gel and apple (£6.95) followed by the Sea Bass – with dauphinoise potatoes, wild mushroom fricassee and pumpkin puree (£18.95).
Having completely cut down on drinking, especially during the week, our table of three decided to order by the glass. Given my fish based choices, I had a medium glass of the crisp yet fruity Mauzac Sauvignon (£5.70). If ordering by the bottle takes your fancy, prices start at a modest £19 for the aforementioned Sauvignon, rising reasonably to over £25 for a French Muscadet or £45 for a premier Chablis. Whatever your tipple 24 St Georges have a wine list to suit every taste and budget.
Treated to some homemade wholemeal and sundried tomato infused white, the bread selection was well received. However, the appetiser version of a scotch egg was terrific introduction to 24 St Georges skill set. Miniature quails eggs with soft yolks sat incased in warm breadcrumb, sealed together by a smooth mushroom pate. Delightful.
The presentation of the lobster cannelloni starter was very good, however, I do question the use of grey plates. For me, it devalued the overall look of the dish and subtracted from the careful and concise presentation. The lobster cannelloni however, was a good starter, made better by the barrage of flavours on the plate. The sharp and zesty lemon gel, smooth blue cheese sauce and the rich lobster worked well together to create an interesting and novel starter.
Not being ones to shy away from the occasional indulgence, we ordered a round of (non-alcoholic) mojito sorbets to cleanse the palate. These were fantastic, packed full of zest and zing; an ideal way to refresh the tastebuds before the next course.
The sea bass was beautifully cooked with deliciously crispy skin and a white, taut flesh that lingered in the mouth. The sweeter fish worked well alongside the pumpkin puree that surrounded the plate and both became mellowed by the earthy wild mushroom fricassee. Romanesco cauliflower, greens and a charred spring onion completed the vegetable elements. The dauphinoise potatoes were subtly included to the side and became more of an accompaniment to the already busy plate.
This dish was a further insight into the great work being done by Head Chef Dean and his Sous Chef Jamie in the kitchen. Perhaps moving forward I’d love to see a step away from the traditional ingredients of fish, veg and potatoes and really push themselves to think of new combinations. However, a great main course overall.
Hazelnut Cake – with vanilla and Jerusalem artichoke ice cream and caramelised apple (£6.95) was ordered for dessert and after the first bite, I was hooked. A marvellously moist, warm triangle of sponge sat golden and proud on the plate, packed full of a mild hazelnut flavour. Forkfuls were eagerly devoured alongside the melting, smooth ice cream. Was the gel and crumb needed? Probably not. Less is more sometimes and with a cake as indulgent as the 24 St Georges offering, this theory very much applies.
24 St Georges is unique blend of traditional yet modern and has a menu that reflects this. Expect to enjoy great plates of food and leave with a feeling that you’ve encountered terrific value for money. Part of 24 St George’s charm is the unpretentious atmosphere and warm, almost homely feeling you encounter. Book ahead and relax in a gem of a Kemptown restaurant.