A beautiful place that mamma would certainly be proud of; Alfresco is an Italian restaurant not to be missed on the beach adventure which is daily life in bright and breezy Brighton.
Perfectly situated on the beach on Milkmaid Pavilion and towards the old West Pier you are closer to Hove than Brighton. There are so many things to say about the structure. What looks like an old lighthouse, is in fact a vast restaurant and bar that has been beautifully constructed over levels. It’s a curved building which stretches to accommodate outside seating and attractive pillars are also thrown in.
The upper level has a central dining area with plenty of large paned windows that flood the restaurant with natural light. There’s a clean and crisp layout with light beech wood floors and modern smart tables that are not too posey. The semi circular terrace with its smart decked out balcony gives some magnificent views onto the seafront. This really is dining with a view.
Well dressed regulars fill their lungs with salty sea air as they mingle with a savvy work crowd who are here on business lunches. You'll find the odd well turned out tourist here too who are out to soak up Brighton’s ambience but really this is a locals place and is ideal for a spot of food if you're feeling jaded by Brighton life - you'll soon remember what you love about living by the sea.
You can almost taste the freshness of the food and the sea location seems to make everything taste fresher still. Starters include a warm, crisp goat's cheese on a bed of fine green beans with a pepperonata sauce. The salmon, caper and crayfish cake is delicately flavoured with lemon, parsley and spring onions. This is served with avocado salsa and mixed organic leaves direct from their own specialist supplier. Try also a salad of freshly authentic borlotti beans, grilled artichokes, sunblushed tomato, olives, organic mixed leaves and anchovy fillets which have been beautifully marinaded. The beans are soft and well cooked and the saltiness and piquancy from the fish and olives is the ultimate combination of flavours when mixed in a salad like this.
Mains include fresh tagliatelli with an array of wild mushrooms, black truffle butter and parsley, Rigatoni all’Arrabiata (which is rigatoni in a fresh tomato sauce mixed with stong flavours of chilli, garlic and peppery rocket) and Saffron risotto with smoked haddock and spring onions. The risotto is creamy on the palate and with small chunks of the soft, flaky haddock running throughout this dish it’s a real blend of smokiness that hits your mouth up until the last second. There are other Italian classics as standard including Pizza Calabrese, a melee of freshly prepared Alfresco tomato sauce, mozzarella, fennel flavoured Neapolitan sausage, wild mushrooms with rocket and finished off with truffle oil and Pizza Caprini which includes fresh tomato sauce, Italian goat’s cheese, sun blush tomatoes, Greek Kalamata olives and mixed peppers. This Mediterranean combo works well and the peppers are just the right side of marinated to not slide off your fork.
Other meat and fish dishes include an attractive looking Alfresco salmon and crayfish cake infused with lemon, parsley and spring onions and served with avocado salsa and mixed leaves or tender medallions of marinated Angus beef fillet with watercress, sauteed potatoes and a mustard and wine cream sauce. The sauce is well put together and doesn’t dominate the overall taste of the meat.
One Italian wine to choose is the light and dry Verdicchio Classico or the intense bouquet of the Pinot Grigio. Some reds to pore over are the full bodied Grottino with its dry, strong and velvety aroma or a warm glass of Canneto which has an elegant oaky bouquet. A good alternative to Prosecco the classic Italian dry champagne would be to go for the sweet and seductive Asti Spumante.
The Last Word
The true meaning of dining alfresco is found here accompanied by some decent quality dishes and spectacular views that even if you've lived in Brighton for years it will tempt you to find a camera and start snapping away.