Review – Fiddlers Elbow
Having only visited Fiddlers Elbow a few years ago – on a rowdy and drunken Saturday night – I was surprised to find the pub a whole lot more inviting. This was good, especially as we were sitting down for a cosy dinner. Typical Irish ‘pubby’ things adorn the walls and made for a comforting and warming atmosphere.
The menu is curated by the Beery Seery Kitchen Company, and focusses on hearty meals with a predictable emphasis on Guinness. We had trouble selecting from many of the menus favourites: Irish stew with soda bread, Guinness sausages (made by the Brighton Sausage Co) and mash, amongst many more. After lots of deliberation and with manager Paddy’s recommendation, we opted for the Guinness Moules Frites (£10.95) and Traditional Steak and Ale Pie (£8.95).
One thing that did strike me though was the mixture of Irish classics and pub favourites. Steak and chips, vegetable curry, Cajun chicken and fish finger sandwiches all made an appearance alongside the aforementioned Irish food. It would have been brilliant to see Fiddlers Elbow have the confidence to run an Irish themed pub with an Irish themed menu, and not revert back to playing it safe crowd-pleasers. It’s about quality, not quantity – and if the quality is there, the punters will come.
A big bowl of meaty mussels arrived first, cooked in cream, bacon and Guinness, all served up with bread and crispy fries. Initially I was slightly dubious about how the Guinness would work in such a classic dish, but the sweet stout really worked against the salty mussels and bacon. A hearty and delicious dish with a good punch of flavour and the bonus of mopping up sauce with crusty bread to finish.
The steak and ale pie was served in its own pot, topped with a puff pastry lid with a side of cabbage fried with bacon and a generous portion of rich mash. The pie filling was again very bountiful, with large chunks of steak and veggies in a classic ale tasting gravy. The sides were cooked perfectly and the addition of bacon to the cabbage really lifted the usually lacklustre pub veg. I prefer a pie to be stand alone, encasing the filling with a well cooked pastry. However, the flavours were there and we still enjoyed it enough to clear the plate.
We were told we had to try their signature dessert – hot waffle, Guinness porter house ice cream and chocolate sauce (£4.25). How could we resist! The kitchen make their own boozy ice cream in house and have got the quantities of alcohol to sugar just right, resulting in a different and more-ish ice cream.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Irish food on the Fiddlers Elbow menu. The portion sizes were generous and the presentation of our main dishes was really good. The staff were all very friendly and manager Paddy was a delightful host for the evening. If they keep up this level of service, I’ll definitely be back to sample more Irish classics, and polish off more delicious ice-cream.
The Fiddlers Elbow, 11-12 Boyce’s St, Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove BN1 1AN
Rob’s food was complimentary, courtesy of Paddy and the Fiddlers Elbow team.