Restaurant Review: Plateau

Simple, delicious food and a true passion for wine make this Brighton restaurant a highly recommended date choice

Plateau offers a modern French dining experience in the heart of Brighton. The locally sourced food is easily some of the best to be had in the area, and the drinks menu is a veritable master class in wine matching.

On entering the feel is vibrant and welcoming, the decor a classic combination of low lighting, exposed brickwork and rustic floorboards.

We started at the bar while we waited for our window seat, which looked out onto the historic town hall. It’s always a great sign to see groups of friends insisting to each other that they “must try this cocktail”, and the sights and smells of a parade of fantastic-looking plates streaming out of the kitchen bode very well for the evening to come.

One thing that really stood out was the music. So often an ambiguous afterthought, here there was a great fusion of genres and styles that really added to the elegantly bustling atmosphere. I later found out that Plateau puts a lot of pride into its unique monthly playlists. It was the first of many reminders that when it comes to the dining experience, Plateau really does treat every aspect with a great deal of care and attention.

After one of the nicest glasses of Syrah that I can ever recall having, we were shown to our table. To say this place has a passion for wine would be an understatement. Offering an outstanding array of organic, biodynamic and natural wines from artisan and independent producers, the choice is truly exceptional. With over 20 wines by the glass and eight pages of bottles, navigating the wine list could have been a rather mystifying experience, but the attentive staff fizzed with enthusiasm and knowledge, taking us on a journey of flavours that perfectly matched both our tastes and our food. The wines themselves, unique and exquisite, were an absolute highlight of the evening.

The food at Plateau is designed for sharing, with an emphasis on quality local ingredients, simply prepared and lovingly presented. From an array of starters I opted for salmon, dill and mussels, and my partner had the raw beef with arënkha, alliums and horseradish. Both were excellent, and the wild-style Sauvignon comes highly recommended to complement any fish dish.

When selecting a main, the plats du jour menu offers a variety of classics, allowing you to choose a three-course experience if preferred, but we felt we had to try the platters from which the restaurant derives its name. Sharing platters can sometimes leave you with a feeling of missing out, but at Plateau they are a speciality designed to steal the show, with a choice of meat, fish or vegetarian. We decided on the viandes platter, and as we neared the end of our generous portions of slow-roasted pork belly, spiced quail and venison empanada, etiquette dictated that I offer my partner the final bites. It was not easy.

Whether you’re looking for a casual spot to share a carafe and a selection of bites, or want a full sit-down experience with wine matching fit for any big occasion, you really can let your mood decide here. And it’s this quality that sets Plateau apart as a fantastic place for any date night.

At the end of the evening it felt only right to finish with a plateau gourmand, a selection of all the desserts on offer, paired with a glass of sweet chardonnay. On this occasion it was impossible to be polite and spoon warfare soon broke out, but it quickly calmed over a coffee and reflections on what an excellent night it had been.

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