Esplanade Hotel, Brighton

Salt & Pepper SquidSalt & Pepper Squid – coming in about average

date of visit: Monday 24 June 2013

My parents are, as you may have gathered, our chief babysitters and their payment (in kind) is being taken out for meals. Sometimes I am a bit sharper on this than others, and sometimes the meals are more exciting than others.

On Monday afternoon I had a meeting (that had been rescheduled – forcing dinner to be rescheduled) in town and so I hatched a plan that I could collect Andy and we could meet my parents at the Esplanade (Espy to the locals) for an early dinner.

Best laid plans and all – not only did this meal take three goes to actually happen, but my meeting ran later than expected and Andy and I caught every single traffic light on the way down to Brighton from town. So it wasn’t such an early meal and the toddler was rather beside himself. As plates passed our table he looked at them mournfully, exclaiming “want one!”.

Fortunately, the Espy has a salad bar. On a Monday night I thought it a pretty sad affair (nowhere near as comprehensive as that at the Warradale). The hot selection was potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli and the bowl of green leaves looked a little wilted. Still, we are lucky in that Mr 2 embraced the cauliflower and broccoli and absolutely loved the pasta salad and that kept the worms at bay while we waited for our food.

I ordered salt and pepper squid (mindful of the small person shouting about food near me), Andy chose (as always) the beef schnitzel with gravy, dad opted for the liver and bacon and mum tried out the special fish (as in, the whiting from the specials board, not the no-name fish from the menu).

Mum seemed to be the definite winner here. She was really happy with her fish and rated it much more highly than that available in some other local eateries. My salt and pepper squid was pretty standard pub issue: tender and at least in this instance the batter was relatively crispy (thus beating the Exeter at Semaphore out of the water, so to speak). Andy was decidedly ho-hum about his schnitzel and, while dad demolished his liver and bacon, and rated it more highly than that he’s had in other places, the liver was horrendously overcooked.

The slices of liver were so thin, and then subsequently deep fried, that there was no way the liver was going to be anything but overcooked.

Liver, bacon & mashOvercooked liver with a big pile of mash

As far as pub meals go – the Espy falls into the OK category. Service was friendly and reasonably efficient, although there was an inexplicable delay in our bottle of wine arriving at the table.

The dining room is spacious and pretty basic, and there is also a children’s play room (very much NOT a plus, in my books). The Espy offers various meal deals depending on day of week (and you may find vouchers for additional discount on the website). It is also in the Entertainment Book – which we used on our visit.

After discount, our meal was around $80, which, for four people and a bottle of wine is not too bad. Just set your expectations accordingly!

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