You may have noticed the sudden influx of meat-focused restaurants popping up all over Brighton and the more established ones are improving their meaty menus with more adventurous delights. With that in mind it’s only right I sample as many as possible and feedback to you fine people. I felt The Coal Shed should be the first to undergo my steak scrutiny. The restaurant is well known for its flame licked steaks and is a popular hangout for Brighton carnivores.
Coal Shed is tucked away on the unassuming Boyce Street and you’re immediately drawn in by the wonderful aromas emitting from the building. You’re met by the staff’s friendly faces and the comfortable surroundings of a tasteful décor. The Head Chef is Dave Mothersill who’s also worked at The Ginger Pig and Hotel Du Vin, so he certainly knows his stuff. Plus anyone who puts a half lobster as a surf ‘n’ turf steak accompaniment on their menu is alright by me.
The menu is simple but exciting and lists the cuts of beef, accompanying sauces and weights. There is also an impressive selection of fish on offer. Had I not been steak hunting I would’ve gone for the hake with artichokes, caper gnocchi, celery, smoked shrimps and almonds. (Fortunately my sister ending up having it so I got a taste, it was magnificent).
I began my indulgence with a delightfully refreshing aperitif of Hendricks gin, tonic & cucumber (£9.50) whilst browsing the starters. My eye was immediately drawn to the oxtail and bone marrow with onions, bacon & parmesan (£7.50). The dish was superbly presented avec l’os and the flavours danced a rich and sublime waltz upon my ginly refreshed palate. This was clearly a well thought out dish and although I’ve had marrow and oxtail before the parmesan added a pleasantly surprising element.
With that taste bomb well and truly exploded it was steak time. There were three sharing steaks on offer and since I was sharing with my Dad, whose denchers aren’t what they used to be, the softer the cut, the better. We settled on sharing a bone in prime rib cut (£6.50/100g), a personal favourite of ours that melts in the mouth.
Now, I don’t trust people who eat steaks well done and have fallen out with close friends who have gone medium- so how meat is cooked means a lot to me. I was readily prepared to go rare and very pleased to hear our waiter suggest how each cut would be vastly improved by how it was cooked. And by jove the fellow was right!
The prime cut was medium rare, leaning towards rare and it was transcendent. It was soft, juicy and beautifully marbled. Served with hefty beef dripping chips(£3.00) a whole roasted bulb of garlic(£1.50) and bone marrow jus(£1.00), I was in meat heaven. The steak was scarlet inside and beautifully charred on the outside, the chips were fluffy and indulgent. My giddy garlic bulb worked perfectly with the jus and the entire meal came together commendably.
I was sadly far too full to enjoy anything else however, having eaten there before I thoroughly recommend the decadent dark chocolate tart or the cheese board (mainly for moreish raisin and walnut bread.)
Coal Shed is an ode to cleverly thought-out yet simple flavours all with a wonderful gourmet twist.
Images by The Coal Shed