The Regency boosts a range of amazing reviews from actual experts like Rick Stein and Jay Rayner, so you really don’t need a mere serial gobbler like me to tell you to pay this Brighton establishment a visit.
Location & History
Located on the seafront corner of Regency Square, The Regency is one of the oldest restaurants in Brighton. From what I understand it’s been run by the same family for years, who are Greek and experts at delivering simply cooked, delicious seafood.
I only went there for the first time a few months ago, but since I’ve returned multiple times and it’s become one of my favourites. The decor is simple but perfectly welcoming and, despite the large size of the restaurant, it runs like a well-oiled machine with attentive staff and reasonable service.
Food-wise, my first visit was the perfect introduction – we started with a plate of battered whitebait. The thin layer of batter coating each fish was light and let the flavour of the whitebait shine through.
Then came the main event – their Extravaganza Shellfish Platter – which is served hot. Firstly, I’d just like to point out that at just £44.95 this is absolutely stonking value for money. The platter easily serves 2 – although allegedly some have tackled it solo (I salute you) – and with a side like their fish n’ chip shop style chips even two starving, greedy people will be satisfied.
In brief their platter consists of: a whole lobster thermador, muscles in garlic, three scallops in their shells with some sort of magical garlic buttery liquid, clams, two oysters parmiggiano and garlic prawns. With everything cooked to perfection and served hot, it was quite literally a spiritual experience. We didn’t have room for dessert, so simply finished off our bottle of Chillian Merlot (from their, also very reasonable, wine list) and went home to fall into an extremely decadent crustacean-induced coma.
My next visit I wanted to try something different so, to start, I ordered the calamari. I have extremely high standards for calamari, having been disappointed by quite a few soggy, bland varieties in days gone by. The crispy yet succulent squid that arrived in front of me looked good and tasted even better. As per the whitebait the batter was light and didn’t override the star of the dish – the tender squid. My dining companion decided to go Greek and have the Tzatziki with pitta bread. As you’d expect, it was excellent.
Next I decided to give the grilled king prawns with garlic a go. And when they say ‘with garlic’ – they really mean it. Unlike other restaurants, who might err slightly on the side of caution, The Regency deliver a ballsy punch of garlic without overpowering the fresh and succulent prawns. I’m an avid ketchup fan, but mopping up the sauces the prawns came in with chips was just heavenly! My dining companion decided on the deep fried seafood platter , which at £9.50 reflects once again the outstanding value for money here. The platter comprises of Cod, Scampi, Calamari, Whitebait and King Prawn – I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that it was extremely good.
You certainly won’t ever leave the Regency hungry, portion sizes are decent – and I can really put it away when it comes to food. The restaurant is always busy, so I’d suggest booking a table in advance, especially on Friday and Saturday nights (I’ve gone on a whim once to find it was fully booked all night – tragic!).
And it’s not just local Brighton folk flocking to this seafood Mecca, personalities who have passed through The Regency’s doors include Carl Weathers (as in ACTUAL Apollo Creed), Chris Eubank (well it is Brighton) and my favourite most obscure visitor Hideo Kojima, of Metal Gear Solid fame. In the restaurant there is a whole wall of famous faces pictured on their visit – you can also see these on The Regency’s Facebook page.
What I love most about this place really is it’s unfussy nature. They know what they’re good at and their fairly large menu means you’ll keep coming back. In Jay Rayner’s words (and there’s a hard man to please): “If you want fish, simply but expertly cooked at a price that won’t make you feel like you bought the fishing boat that landed the ingredients, there’s not much to beat The Regency.”
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