Living on a budget does not mean sacrificing mirth for monotony. It certainly doesn’t mean turning your back on delicious, extravagant, well-prepared food in favour of dull, cheap slop. No, by-jingo! Living well on a budget means being savvy and seeking out the very best, but paying less.
With that in mind, we’ve taken to the more opulent of Brighton’s eateries in search of the very best pre-theatre dinner deals in town.
Holy hell balls, their steak is something else.
Usually, The Coal Shed is reserved for special occasions (I actually went here for my Master’s graduation meal and it was awesome!) However, if you shimmy on down between 6pm and 7pm, you can enjoy two succulent courses for £12.50, or three courses for £15.
I shit you not…one of the dishes on at The Coal Shed pre-theatre menu at present actually contains truffles.
So the next time someone tells you that you gotta spend it to make it, show them the money… that you saved while digging into a steak, dripping chips and chimichurri.
The Coal Shed’s latest culinary venture, The Salt Room, also offers a similar pre-theatre menu with a focus on high quality, fresh and sustainable seafood.
As a fun, thrifty “did you know”, The Coal Shed has a BYOB Monday offer. They charge £5 for corkage and the rest is up to you.
This gourmet take on one of the most delectable cuisines around, is a real Brighton sweetheart. For me it’s particularly special. Due to the fine ingredients and fresh approach to cooking, The Chilli Pickle is the only Indian restaurant I have ever eaten at that hasn’t made me feel mighty sick afterwards.
£13.50 will get you a delicious curry (think chilli monkfish and tiger prawn delight), with rice, chutney, riatta, snack, pappad naan and sweet. I’m gluten free and the lovely folk accommodated beautifully, bringing me a rice version of the naan that was still delicious as leftovers the next day.
Their set pre-theatre menu is available between 6pm-7pm, Sunday-Thursday, and their Jubilee Street address has the added bonus of being super close to the Royal Theatre.
Venture a little further out of town to this lesser known, epicurean’s delight. The Jolly Poacher’s pre-theatre menu offers two courses for £14 and three for £17. Choose between seasonal delicacies such as chilli salt squid, corn fed pan fried duck breast and bitter chocolate tart.
I stumbled across this unassuming Italian by accident one lunch time while casually searching for somewhere to have wine in the sunshine. It is perfectly situated next to the Pavillion Gardens and provides ample outside seating with fantastic service.
It was amazing! I enjoyed a very generous portion of garlic butter prawns followed by moules and frites, all for an astoundingly reasonable £9.95. On a Saturday! If you’re feeling particularly peckish, dig into a three course banquet for £12.75.
This lunch deal extends until 6pm, Monday-Saturday and comes with a very high recommendation from your’s truly.
I know it’s a bit naughty to hail a chain restaurant as one of the best in Brighton, especially given how much choice we have for fabulous eateries in our great city. But hear me out.
Cote really does have an excellent pre-theatre set menu: delicious, great value for money and a fabulous environment (we’re talking pretty darn swanky!) It’s also one of the cheapest on our list – two courses for £11.70 and three for £13.65. Go there, stay a while, and only then can you judge.
And as an added bonus! Riddle & Finns
I haven’t actually had their pre-dinner menu but I have enjoyed their extravagant feast menu, and man it is good!
If you love fresh seafood in a close, romantic environment, then you must must must go here. The one in the south Lanes is my favourite, mainly because Nick took me there on one of our first dates. The only downside is you can’t book, which means you may be waiting around for a while (there’s a cosy pub just around the corner).
Their pre-theatre menu runs from 12pm – 7.15pm and changes daily
Image contributed by Chilli Pickle