Sussex Business Times reviews the British Airways i360’s newest offering for beachside food and drink: The Belle Vue restaurant
The newest addition to Brighton seafront, the British Airways i360 has been something of a hot-topic over the past year or so; some have been more enthusiastic than others. But, nobody can argue that it provides a spectacle for any visitor, and provides the ideal platform to look out onto our beautiful Sussex coastline.
Equally, in particular on a crisp, sunny winter’s afternoon as I found out at the beginning of the month, its restaurant is the perfect place to soak up the view. Set on the beach promenade, opposite the historical West Pier, the Belle Vue Brighton restaurant gives visitors a perfect view through the wall-to-wall glass vista, as well as a full and delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. Its name comes from the Belle Vue Field, which was Regency Square’s name in the 18th century and featured in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Everything about this venue reflects the local Brighton scene, with a unique character and modernistic charm.
I had the pleasure of a two-course lunch at the Belle Vue and, after being greeted on entering, was privileged enough to be seated with full view of the outdoor terrace and beach: pebbles, pier, sea, sun and all.
As I only had two courses to test the water with, I decided to work the system a little. My partner and I shared a starter and dessert, with separate main meals; so we technically had two courses each.
For starter, we decided to have the Wobblegate cider steamed mussels with crusty bread. This came in a beautifully rustic and traditional mussels pot, which was certainly steaming and, upon opening the pot, released a wonderful, rich smell. The mussels, as with all the ingredients at the Belle Vue, were locally sourced, and you could taste that. The sauce was creamy and indulgent, and the bread was the perfect accessory to mopping it up. This was easily my favourite part of the meal, and favourite course.
Our main got a little confused as we ordered a seafood sharing platter after realising there was no lobster option that day. I had previously wanted the The Belle Vue cheeseburger with fries and celeriac slaw, but opted for us to share the platter instead. Turns out we in fact received both – fine by me! So, we both enjoyed the South Coast Seafood Drift Board sharing platter and half of The Belle Vue cheeseburger each. Both were well presented and very tasty indeed, again with locally sourced beef and extremely fresh tasting Brighton gin cured smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, mackerel pate, battered prawns and a pickled herring (or roll mops as they were called). The sharing platter was more than enough for a light lunch for two, and I would highly recommend this option for a business lunch with a client. It’s relaxed and informal whilst being impressive and filling.
For dessert, we simply had to go for the Belle Vue Knickerbocker glory. This was a nostalgic throwback to the past. However, far from the children’s party-esque ice cream sundae classic, this was a very elegant glass of vanilla ice cream, raspberry and cream, with a chocolate toile to finish.
Chefs, Steven Edwards, a former winner of Sussex Young Chef of the Year, and Josh Stanzl, the co-founder and director of events catering company, etch have come together to create some clearly very impressive dishes on a wide-ranging menu that – it seems to me – would appeal to anyone’s taste. Having attended the i360’s Belle Vue restaurant press launch in October, I had high expectations. The samples of food presented at the event were thoroughly impressive, with the flavours and concepts explained to us by Steven Edwards himself. My only disappointment was not seeing Steven’s special Etch Burger Experience dish on the menu – something I had sampled at the press launch and fallen in love with, mainly because of the absolutely divine bacon jam, which I have since been on a mission to find. So, season dependent, keep your eye out for that!
Otherwise, my expectations were met, and exceeded. The atmosphere was relaxed yet sophisticated, with wonderful views surrounding the restaurant itself and very accommodating staff. This is an ideal venue for a lunch, dinner, business meeting or celebration. And what better way to precede or even end your meal than with a flight on the British Airways i360; the ideal day out.
Monday to Thursday 10:30 – last orders 18:30
Friday & Saturday 10:30 – last orders 20:00
Sunday 10:00 – last orders 18:00
To make a reservation or for general enquiries please call 0330 800 1360. You can also email The Belle Vue Brighton about event or group bookings firstname.lastname@example.org