Tim Firmager heads to the south coast, to try out what the new venue, Pascere restaurant, offers the discerning diner of Brighton.
Brighton’s newest food destination, Pascere, is looking to shake up the well-established hipster food scene in the coastal town, and offer something innovative and enjoyable. We at Vada headed over to Pascere to see how this is executed for a Saturday lunch.
Located in The Lanes, Pascere is an independent restaurant (befitting of the Brighton food scene). Split over two levels, the ground floor offers diners a seat at the bar, or equally a table to see people pass, and just as importantly, a place to be seen. Upstairs, guests can watch all the action of the kitchen with the chefs right in front of them. Opposite, a seat at the bay window, allows you to sink into a homely elegance around a table of friends.
The interior has a touch of Riding House Cafe (the London establishment), with a modern design and a smattering of Nordic features.
To match the modern interior, the menu constitutes a marked selection. Lunchtime starters consist of a soup, salads, duck liver parfait or cured trout. We opted for the cauliflower and truffle soup (£6.50) and a warm heritage tomato, with burrata and basil salad (£6.50). Both arrived promptly and well presented. The salad was light and a delicious balance of flavours, whilst the cauliflower was complex and moreish. Both would be successful as main courses for lunch, and in fact most of the starters are available at main-course sizes (and prices).
We opted for variety however and chose the braised beef cheek with parpadelle and aged parmesan (£17.50) and then pan-fried stone bass, roasted onions, girolle mushrooms and seaweed (£17.50). The beef cheek was was succulent, tender, and delicious with the soft strands of parpadelle pasta. The bass was equally well presented – in terms of colour and flair, but we would have liked just a slightly larger fillet.
For dessert, we noted an immediate space for what would be a welcome addition of a molten chocolate pudding or seaside themed dessert. We settled (rather quickly) instead, for the chocolate mousse with malted milk ice cream and a chocolate tuile (£8), and a portion of the buttermilk sponge with honeycomb and milk ice cream (£8). The chocolate mousse was rich, and paired well with softness of the milk ice cream. The buttermilk sponge provided a delightful contrast of textures with each crunch of the honeycomb.
The wine list will inevitably lead you astray – no harm there, and we took no harm from a bottle of Chateau du Gassier Rosé (£31). However, if you do order and post-repas tea or coffee, double check it: a pot of English Breakfast instead of peppermint and liquorice made an unwelcome introduction on our table.
The menu at Pascere isn’t flashy, it focusses on select crowd-pleasers with a bit of flair. A sufficiently extensive wine list means that any discerning drinker will enjoy their stay. For a rather indulgent three-course lunch, at an average price of £47.50 per person (for three courses, sharing a bottle of wine) this does not represent a horrendous price point, in fact for dinner-time diners this means Pascere a good value destination.
Pascere is located at 8 Duke Street, Brighton, BN1 1AH
For more information or to book online, visit pascere.co.uk.