Forget heading into town for a culinary treat. The hidden gems around Brighton and Hove are often the local pubs and restaurants, tucked away at the end of your street.
The George Payne in Hove is no exception and being a two-minute walk from Aldrington train station makes it easy to get to, even if your street isn’t in Hove, actually.
Approaching on a summer evening we were welcomed by the sight of relaxed groups of people chatting at the large outside tables, well placed to enjoy the last of the sun.
Inside is light, airy and spacious with a clean comfortable decor. There is also a good-sized beer garden with a children’s area. Children seem well catered for with a selection of animal biscuits and old school sweet shop jars to complement the normal ‘grown-up’ snacks, which should keep you going while enjoying the extensive selection of grown-up drinks available.
There were a variety of regular events being advertised to keep the community entertained with this night being the start of the Caribbean themed weekender, serving rum and malibu cocktails and a special menu. To get into the swing of things we started on Carib lager while we deliberated over food.
Everything on the menu sounded delicious with platters, light meals and mains available alongside the Caribbean specials. The friendly staff were very happy to recommend their favourite – ‘Fu- Fighters’ katsu tofu with tempura cauliflower – with such genuine passion shown we couldn’t say no! We were also recommended the meat platter to start (as the Korean chicken is ‘banging’ – again, who can say no!) followed by Fu Fighters, steak sandwich (obviously) and a Lemon Sole from the Caribbean specials menu.
While waiting we sampled the Caribbean Rum Bowl and Malibu cocktails. The rum bowl was dark and broody but also had a fresh lime zest behind it; one sip of its gorgeous Malibu partner transported me to a beach sunlounger, fitting beautifully with the chilled reggae beats drifting from the speakers.
The meat platter turned out to be a well-stocked circular slate with, in no particular order; a delicate ham hock terrine, juicy beef sliders each in a beautifully light saffron bun with sharp cheddar and crisp lettuce, the promised ‘banging’ Korean Chicken slathered in a delicious spicy sauce, well-matured parma ham, and top quality chorizo sausage with just enough heat to make your mouth water. The red onion dipping sauce nestled in the midst complemented each meat wonderfully, and the roasted lime garnish took the salty parma ham to another level.
After a brief recovery break to deal with meat sweats, the mains arrived. Again these did not disappoint. The lemon sole, crusted with fiery lime and scotch bonnet was tamed by a sweet potato and coconut gratin. The fish flaked off the bone and tasted fresh and zesty. The steak sandwich was just the right pink and served with good chunky skin-on chips. Our recommended ‘Fu Fighters’ was firm tofu parcels and crisp, crunchy tempura cauliflower, both excellent with the light katsu curry sauce and presented with fresh warm edamame beans that popped happily in the mouth. All this scattered with black and white sesame seeds and baby coriander. Absolutely delicious and was our definite favourite.
A sad moment to end when we could find no room for the Unicorn surprise dessert (other desserts are available). If you visit on a Tuesday though it’s free with your main… and if the George Payne doesn’t happen to be at the end of your road you may be like us and glad of the rather full and slow walk home.
The George Payne Pub is on 18 Payne Ave. Hove, BN3 5HB