Review – Brasserie Pascal
A Mother and Daughter excursion gave us a chance to try the Hove based French restaurant Brasserie Pascal. Starting with a half of Aspalls at Pull and Pump post work, before pottering along in the evening hustle and bustle of North Street back toward our home turf of Hove.
Born as the love child of the once hugely popular yet now sadly defunct La Fourchette on Western Road, Brasserie Pascal has been pleasing the citizens of Hove and beyond since 2007 with its combination of classic and moden French cuisine. A very popular and slightly upmarket restaurant, the building is grandiose with a clear emphasis on customer service as our waiter was very attentive as he greeted and seated us.
I’m not sure what it is about Mothers, but I’m certain they have to find a fault in something or other. “It’s not very posh is it?” Mum stated, as soon as we’d been seated on a far table underneath a mirror. Granted, the place could have done with a spruce up and a lick of paint, but I quite enjoyed the rustic element to the establishment and began to argue my case… until our charming French waiter presented us with laminated menus.
Why, for the love of god, would you do such a thing? This isn’t Malaga’s sunset strip, this is Second Avenue.
Snobbish grumbles aside, the menu was, large, eloquently written and played host to an array of marvellous French dishes, including snails and plenty of foie gras based dishes. Not one for the animal rights lovers it would seem.
Ordering a bottle of a very reasonable Muscadet (£16.50), I was in the mood to treating myself to something a bit fancy after an arduous week and immediately was drawn to the Raviole of Foie Gras – with wild mushrooms and truffle oil (£10) as my starter. The only other time I’ve had foie gras was on holiday in Dijon in 2011, so Brasserie Pascal had a lot to live up to!
Presented on a slightly dipped plate and warm, the dish was sleek, slick and every element shone. The foie gras was slightly warm, rich and velvety and encased in a beautifully light ravioli pasta shape. Perched on top were a small gathering of wild mushrooms, with a wickedly smooth and creamy mushroom enhanced sauce slathered over the plate like silk on ice cream. Topped with a drizzle of truffle oil? Pure heaven.
I really loved this dish, it felt like it was there to indulge me and that it did very well indeed. The portion size was spot on and I couldn’t have eaten a drop more. My only regret if forgoing the offer of bread at the start of the meal to mop up the remainder of the sauce.
A dreamy starter. Tres bon so far.
Choosing a main course was challenging and I was glad when Mum suggested we share one of the chefs options, the aptly name Hove Festival of Fish – grilled skate, sea-bream, scallops, king prawn and cod served on a bed of potatoes with a tomato, beurre blanc and vierge sauces (£30). Not being content with that mammoth array, we ordered a side of Green Beans, Shallots and Butter (£3).
Kept warm by candlelight and presented on an appropriately fish shaped dish, our seafood selection looked very appealing indeed. Wading and piling the gorgeous grilled cuts of skate, sea-bream etc onto my shiny white plate, I could tell we’d made a strong choice.
Each small chunk or fillet went down a storm, with minimal bone picking and lots of ‘ooh, have you tried this one?’ Highly enjoyable. I also relished the way the fish had been cooked fairly plainly and allowed the consumer to toy with the flavour themselves. A drizzle of lemon here, a splash of sauce here – the combinations were endless and provided much fun pairing up different fish with different sauces.
Speaking of which, the beurre blanc was a stand out. A highly decent consistency and went excellently with the range of white fish on offer.
The green beans were fresh, crunchy and with added shallot made a really good pairing to the fish. The potatoes were there to add some substance to the dish and what better way to pad something out than soft, herby and buttery potatoes? Delicious.
Being the greedy guts that I am, I couldn’t help but order a dessert. Opting for the Creme Brûlée I revelled in the thought of ending my French indulgence with something traditional.
I was really pleased upon tapping away at the burnt sugar crust and hearing the satisfying crack to reveal smooth, creamy custard underneath. The dessert could have done with a bit more vanilla in my opinion and I’m not sure what the decorative strawberry was about! However, minor grumbles aside, this was a very good classic French dessert.
I had expected to have a good meal at Pascals and was delighted when it turned out to be a great one. By the time the last drop of Muscadet had been drunk both Mum and I were completely converted. High quality French cuisine at a very reasonable price. It was hardly surprising that when we left the place was a beehive of activity.
If only they’d ditch the laminated menus and give it a lick of paint, then this could be well be a new entry into my top 3 restaurants in Brighton and Hove.