insideKENT Magazine insideKENT Issue 68 Nov 2017 - Page 97

the fried stone bass lost out to the chicken breast with roasted leg, baby carrots, carrot fregola and hay mayonnaise. Before you scoff at somewhere I’ve not only referred to, but have headlined ‘without gimmicks’ serving hay mayonnaise, bear with me…it’s very ingeniously made by burning hay with a blowtorch, pouring oil over the top of that and then storing the oil in a preserving jar. The whole process is repeated with the same oil every day for a fortnight to intensify the flavour and it works, tasting phenomenal when paired with the tender sous-vide chicken breast, which was dewy with rendered fat and accompanied by the savoury bite of a roasted leg. restaurant’s website blurb states it offers dishes ‘with a twist’, nothing is twisted beyond recognition. OK, there are here are hints of Stanford’s wandering imagination – such as the hay mayonnaise and the elderberry meringues – that punctuate the menu, but there’s neither an ‘unctuous’ item, nor a deconstructed anything in sight. There’s style, substance and thought behind every ingredient put on the plate, which results in remarkable quality and creativity too. Painstaking though the methods behind Stanford’s fantastic food must be, they’re for the kitchen to know and the diner to savour; refreshingly, Pascere’s not concerned with shouting about it. My only slight reservation about opting for the confit trout with trout tartare, roast, pickled and charred cauliflower and elderberry meringue, was confusion on whether the elderberry meringue belonged on the plate. I couldn’t quite grasp the concept…which is clearly why I’m not a chef. The trout was mild in flavour and meltingly soft, lifted by the cauliflower in its various guises and absolutely complimented by the flavour of elderberry, which melted out of its little crunchy meringue shells in bursts, adding more depth and texture to the dish. I stand corrected. The restaurant’s biggest twist appears to be where the notion of fine dining is concerned and how the restaurant has translated this into a stage set for both fans of fine dining and fans of great food, but great food that doesn’t have to be eaten over a four-hour, ten-course extravaganza. As contemporary dining has evolved, the ‘tasting menu’ seems to have become synonymous with fine dining, but they’re two different styles of eating entirely and Pascere is loyal to them both. Besides the incredible quality of the food, Pascere’s very best feature is that although the You can pop in for a small plate with a glass of wine (go for the Portland crab tart with shellfish custard without hesitation); you can opt for three-courses – this year’s festive à la carte menu includes tasty new additions such as rabbit saddle and leg with lobster mousse, and pan-fried halibut with bacon lardo and chestnut puree; and, if you want to go the whole hog, the yuletide ten-course tasting menu (pictured below) is an irresistible mix of appetisers (all hail the afo rementioned crab tart), smaller plates like mushroom orzo with blue cheese, and main events including roast goose. Pascere is so wonderfully unstuffy it’s a breath of seaside-fresh air. A classy escape in what can be a frenetic city, it knows what it wants to do – welcome people in and feed them – and it does it with understated artistry and just the right amount of edge. Pascere 8 Duke St Brighton BN1 1AH www.pascere.co.uk pascerebrighton pascerebrighton pascerebrighton 97