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The Better Half Pub in Hove - review

PUBLISHED: 11:41 17 November 2015 | UPDATED: 16:03 06 November 2017

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A new pub is Hove offers something different to the local drinking and dining scene, says Jenny Mark-Bell

The Better HalfThe Better Half

Brighton’s pub scene is unparalleled and whatever your whim you will find a drinking hole to suit. The city’s establishments range from tiny, spit and sawdust saloons to a converted church, from chichi cocktail lounges to gin palaces.

In more sedate Hove, though, at least in my part of it, there has been something of a dearth of proper pubs. Certainly there are a few (The Foragers being worthy of mention), but wine bars and restaurants are thicker on the ground. When I visited The Better Half, four months after its May opening, it was packed – clearly it has been taken to the bosom of locals, as it was a weekday evening.

The pub has been charmingly converted, with wood panelling in dark, earthy colours and frosted glass in the windows. We sat in a cosy booth, with seats of buttery soft leather, presided over by a drawing of a cat named Mickey. Indeed, quirky artwork and signage abound.

The menu is divided, with scant regard for mathematical logic, into several ‘halves’: The Bigger Main Half, The Lighter Main Half, The Burger Half and so on. The former was largely cuts of meat (and fish), the second salads and seafood. The swordfish steak, when it came, was huge. That was no problem, as it was tender, juicy, and accompanied by a salsa of chilli, pineapple and mango that gave it the appropriate amount of zing. Fabulous. From the more traditional ‘pub’ part of the menu, the spicy bean and vegetable burger was indulgent and creamy (we did request extra cheese), and the piquant homemade gherkin salsa, ketchup and brioche bun were nice touches.

It’s nice to see some excellent local suppliers on the menu – Lewes’ wonderful Flint Owl Bakery provides some of the bread, and those in a celebratory mood might like to toast with a glass of Ridgeview’s Bloomsbury. There are a couple of local beers too.

“There’s no nouvelle cuisine here,” laughed landlord Simon Stern, seeing us staring at our vast desserts, eyes pinned back. Indeed, the chocolate brownie beat me, but I did manage to finish the excellent peanut butter sorbet. Apparently the sticky toffee pudding was surprisingly light (it was big enough to sink a ship), and delicious.

This cosy and convivial pub deserves to do well, and judging by the Thursday night crowd, it will. There’s room for another addition to Brighton and Hove’s drinking scene, and I will drink to its success.

1 Hove Place, Hove BN3 2RG; 01273 737869; www.thebetterhalfpub.co.uk




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