REVIEW: Little Bay, Brighton

On
Thursday afternoon I got an email from one of my colleagues about a
ridiculously good deal at Little Bay restaurant on Brighton seafront- 50% off
your total food bill.  I hurried to the website to look at the small
print, expecting it to be between the hours of 12 and 3 on a Monday or something
equally inconvenient, but the offer was valid every day and night.

I’m
always deeply suspicious about businesses that prostitute themselves to such an
extreme degree, but because I love a bargain and am incredibly greedy, I
decided that for £1.98 for  starters and puddings and £4.48 for a main it
had to be worth a go.  I had a quick scout about on Trip Advisor and it
had a solid 4.5 out of 5 rating so I made a booking for that very evening and
messaged Mr P&P to let him know I was taking him on a date.

After
posting the offer on my Facebook, my friend Claire immediately commented
“I’m pretty sure this is the place with the opera singer popping up at
your table trying to scare the shit out of you while you eat. Apparently he
scaled a wall to come and scare my friends in their booth. The food was pretty
average but worth it for the comic value”.  Well, I didn’t like the
sound of “pretty average” food, but I was highly amused at the
thought of an opera singer scaring the living shit out of Mr P&P who
detests things like that so I decided to keep the booking but not mention the
scary singer part to him.  
The
inside of the restaurant is absolutely bonkers, decked out like a full on opera
themed theatre, with the tables around the edge being little booths designed to
represent a box at the opera- we were seated in one of them. The photo below is
of “box” one opposite us. 

We’d
barely had time to look at our menus before the opera singer pitched up, within
minutes she had handcuffed, yes handcuffed, herself to one of the
customers and was brandishing a water pistol and asking the other diners
whether or not she should squirt this poor woman in the face!

We’d
already had a look at the menu online, I tried to dissuade Mr P&P from
ordering the prawn cocktail but he has some weird fixation with this
1970s-esque starter and insisted that was what he wanted.  I ordered the
Choux de crab with ginger, chillies and citrus hollandaise and a portion of
mussels as well.

For
my main course I chose the Confit leg of duck with braised puy lentils and pak
choi, Mr P&P went for the grilled lamb steak with celeriac puree and port
wine jus.  We both ordered a portion of the hand cut chips fried in goose
fat.

The
starters took about 20 minutes to arrive, I’d like to say they were worth the
wait… but after you see the pictures you’d know I was talking absolute
bollocks.

Possibly
the worst prawn cocktail in the world, even with a price tag of only £1.98 it
was ridiculously meagre.  I couldn’t even bring myself to taste it, but
apparently it tasted pretty much how it looked.

On sampling this “delightful” specimen his verdict
was “that is like some sort of fucked up profiterole”- I couldn’t
have put it better myself.  The hollandaise was like a lemony slightly
rancid custard.  The crab had clearly been living in a tin for the last
few years and there was no sign of the advertised ginger and chillies. GRIM.

And
the winner of the worst mussels I’ve ever eaten award goes to… Cold,
overcooked, dry and rubbery, they were absolutely rank.  I’m just thanking
my lucky stars they didn’t poison us.

Needless
to say we weren’t holding out much hope for our mains…

While
we awaited the next course, the opera singer, as predicted, popped her head up
behind us and started singing, loudly, right in our faces then started trying to get into the box with us- I literally couldn’t breathe from laughing at the horror on Mr P&P’s face.  Although
slightly amusing the overall experience was about as enjoyable as our starters.

My
duck was actually delicious, crispy skin and melting flesh that fell away from
the bone that was pretty much flawless. The lentils were really tasty and the
perfect consistency but the pak choi was a bit overcooked.  For £4.48
it was excellent.

Poor
Mr P&P’s luck was out in the mains department too 🙁 He swears that his
“lamb” was in fact a beef frying steak and I would put a fair old
chunk of money on the fact it was too.  The “Port wine jus” was
almost definitely bisto with a tiny slosh of red wine in.  The celeriac
puree was OK but it’s just mashed boiled veg really isn’t it.

What do you think?  Lamb or Beef?

The
chips were OK, nice even, but they don’t look hand cut and almost certainly
hadn’t been anywhere near goose fat either.

Out
of the entire experience this offended me the most. Branston, EURGH, Heinz or
nothing.

After
our plates were cleared I went to the ladies room, clean and OK smelling in
case you were wondering, and on my way back I passed a large group of people
cheering, I followed their gaze to see the aforementioned opera singer
virtually lap dancing the person sat at the head of the table.  This might
have been a slightly more pleasant experience for the recipient if she hadn’t
have looked like an even more crazed version of Lydia’s Mum from TOWIE.

We
decided to throw caution to the wind and order desserts, mainly for research
purposes but also out of curiosity. Mr P&P had profiteroles with banana
cream and I ordered White chocolate and pistachio parfait with passion fruit
coulis

The
profiteroles were actually alright, the banana cream had a nice flavour to
it, a bit warm but OK. The chocolate sauce was rich with just the right amount
and the pastry (the same as the crab starter) was light and crispy.
 Definitely the best out of Mr P&P’s menu choices.

My
parfait was alright.  It was really just ice-cream on a crunchy base
but I enjoyed it.  Other than my duck the desserts were definitely the
highlight of a very unremarkable meal… that’s not a massive compliment, by the way.

The
bill came to £29 with service. We put down £30, waited ’til the lap
dancing/dominatrix opera singer was harassing another table and fled before she
could corner us again.

Obviously
it wasn’t the greatest, but the waiting staff were pleasant and attentive and
the setting was quite extraordinary.  I’m glad I went because it was
definitely… an experience.  Just not one I wish to repeat ever again!

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