Review - Hove Place

Review – Hove Place

It’s always difficult leaving a pub feeling guilty. For months, even years perhaps, I’ve told people Hove Place is the place in Hove for a roast dinner. Perfect location, great surroundings, Hove’s own hidden hideaway that served great food and a top Sunday roast. My last visit was in February 2013. I am a fool for thinking that the same standard could have been maintained across two years.

Visiting late on a Sunday afternoon, our table of five slowly dwindled to three of us as people ate earlier, yet three of us  soldiered into Hove, stomachs rumbling.

Hove Place’s interior is still good. A mixture of up-market pub and sit-down restaurant. Somewhere that Nan, Mum and Dad would all really like, and it’s clearly a hit with families given the number of tables taken up with them.

Serving until 10pm, even on a Sunday, Hove Place offers its pub food menu alongside traditional roast dinners. Choices include roast wagyu or topside of beef, pork belly, lamb shoulder and squash and cheddar vegetarian wellington. A nice set of roast options that all come with seasonal vegetables, dripping potatoes, Yorkshire and gravy. The price tag? £14.

I should have run a mile! £14? This had better be good I thought to myself, sipping a small glass of Merlot (£3.75) and ordering the lamb shoulder. 

Natasha – who was suffering the world’s worst hangover – ordered a child’s portion, reasonably priced at £6.50. Upon service, I thought Hove Place had accidentally given me a child’s portion also. It was miniscule. Tiny. And no different in size to the plate Natasha was tucking in to. I asked if there had been a mistake.

My plate was taken back to the kitchen and an excuse of “the roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings are the same size which gives the illusion of the portions being the same size”. I want a roast dinner please, not a magic show.

A few carrots and extra potatoes later, I was now tucking into my adult sized roast. And it was dire.

Whilst presented well, the lamb was shredded and had lost any kind of bite or texture, not to mention flavour. Surely a shoulder should be gorgeously fatty, intensely flavoured and tender? When I order meat, I want to eat flesh. Not a pre-shredded puddle of tasteless mush. I even found a large chunk of incredibly soft carrot in the middle of my pile. Why?

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The vegetables – carrot, broccoli, leek and red cabbage – were mediocre at best. The carrot added a much-needed touch of sweetness to the plate but the red cabbage floated around, limp, lifeless and tasteless. My one spear of broccoli might as well have stayed at home and the leeks were instantly forgettable. Again, everything was bland and tasteless.

Roast potatoes are imperative to a roast dinner and whilst we were given a generous portion, I only ate two. Dry, stodgy, lacking in fluffiness and not at all crispy, these were a roast dinner abomination.

The one saving grace of the entire place was the light and airy Yorkshire pudding. Not exactly hard to get right, but I’m glad that Hove Place managed one plus point on the plate.

Overall, it was how bland everything tasted that irked me the most. Not to mention my dismay at the portion size, let alone the price tag. Yes, I complained and yes Hove Place (kindly) charged me just £6.50. But would I go there again? I highly doubt it. A fall from grace. I’m interested to know what has gone wrong at what once was Hove’s best Sunday lunch hotspot.

Hove Place, 35-37 First Avenue, Hove – 01273 738266

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