I recently noticed Skyfall just around the corner from where I live. The sight of this shiny, new establishment stopped me in my tracks, how had I not heard about this or noticed this thing of beauty as it took shape on my doorstep? I think it is fair to say, that us Hove folk would certainly welcome a new restaurant on Church Road that was offering something a bit special.
Skyfall describes itself as a ‘Burger and Lobster Specialist’. I can’t recall any other establishment in Brighton making this claim and so I was instantly intrigued, something new to try! It would be fair to assume that the name Skyfall was inspired by the recent Bond film. After a brief enquiry, I discovered that there is indeed no link to James Bond, the owner just liked the name, which is fair enough. Apparently though, BT did take it upon themselves to give the restaurant a phone number ending in 007, so don’t let this mislead you.
The restaurant’s branding is stylish. The decor and image the restaurant presents is attractive and enticing. I am pretty picky when it comes to aesthetics and have to confess that I was immediately seduced by its appearance. Exposed bricks, elegant industrial lighting and contrasting shades of grey and yellow (grey seemingly becoming the obligatory colour palate in Brighton & Hove). A rather precarious looking, giant wine rack/piece of art has pride of place (see picture) and the atmosphere feels sophisticated and welcoming as you are lead with anticipation, to your table for the evening. The restaurant also offers live music during the evening service, Mariella West was on the night we tried the place out and it offered an un-intrusive, mellow backdrop for the evening.
As you would expect, the menu offers a variety of burger and lobster dishes. Cheese burger £11, Moroccan lamb burger £11, lobster thermidor £22/£40 and surf and turf £40, an 8oz Dry aged ribeye steak and half a lobster finished on the grill, lemon and pepper or garlic and herb butter dressing.
There is a good selection of wines, including a local white from the Bolney Estate. I selected a Peregrino Sauvignon Blanc from Chile which was delicious and a great accompaniment to seafood.
I was delighted to be sharing this dining experience with Lucy from Taste of Manchester (our sister site). For starters we shared garlic rubbed crostini £4 (pictured), topped with sun blush tomato and olive tapenade and local crab cakes £8, fresh crab chilli and coriander served with crunchy Thai slaw. The crostini was fresh and pleasant, flavours of garlic and fresh grassy olive oil accompanied the salty minced black olives. The crab cakes were fresh and possessed the intense crabby flavour you would expect when both the white and dark meat is used. Whilst the menu stated that chilli and coriander were present, I only really noticed these ingredients in the accompanying garnish. The crab cakes were tasty, but adding these more fragrant flavours in a greater quantity would probably take this dish to the next level.
For the main course, I chose half a lobster £20, “Tail and claw served on a brioche bun with wasabi mayonnaise, pickled radish and baby gem lettuce” (see below). The taste of the lobster was pleasant although I didn't feel the flavour came through as much as I would have liked and if there was any wasabi present in the mayonnaise, I couldn't taste it. The sweet and sour pickled radish was a welcome addition, I would have enjoyed more of these and less of the limp undressed salad garnish.
My dining companion had the blue cheese and bacon burger £12, which for my taste, was overdone. We weren’t actually asked how we wanted the burger cooked, which I would have put down to an oversight had an neighbour not mentioned they experienced the same when they ordered a steak here earlier in the week. The burger was reasonable, you got the flavours of the salty bacon, flame grilled beef and creamy stilton but there are some immense burgers out there in this city and so if you claim you are a specialist, you need to be pretty special.
The chips at £3 were poor. Taking the time and trouble to source local, fresh crab and lobster and then serving processed frozen chips seems counter productive. Couple this with serving a bowl full of tiny remnants of chips, indicating that we were getting the dregs at the end of a bag, makes for a chip from hell horror story. One of Skyfall’s neighbours goes to the trouble of frying their hand-cut chips three times and it is well worth the effort.
It was good to see local’s Boho Gelato on the dessert menu as well as a Sussex cheese board. For dessert we chose chocolate torte £7, served with raspberry sorbet and praline custard and the roasted pineapple £6, topped with black pepper and caramel sauce, served with buffalo milk ice-cream. The desserts were reasonable although I found the pineapple to be very hard and almost impossible to cut up and eat with just a spoon.
The service at Skyfall was excellent, friendly and attentive, I cannot fault this aspect of the restaurant. I respect a restaurant that tries to innovate and do something different, but in an increasingly competitive dining-out market, where you are competing with a number of resident flavour magicians, it is only fair to rate Skyfall around the average mark. The restaurant decor and ambience are a pleasure to experience but if Skyfall is as ambitious as its appearance would have you believe, the menu will need some improvement. I want to like this restaurant and I want to see it succeed, but what the discerning customer is really looking for is style AND substance.
47 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2FN
01273 041007 firstname.lastname@example.org