The Coal Shed, Brighton – Express Lunch

by Eshé Brown
the coal shed express lunch

The Coal Shed express lunch – premium dining (for less)

Back in July I had something pretty big to celebrate – I passed my probation in my new job! Being food obsessed it was obviously cause for a foodie celebration… so off I went with my manager to The Coal Shed.

The Coal Shed opened in Brighton way back in 2011, after which followed openings of its sister restaurants The Salt Room and The London Coal Shed. Although I haven’t written a review of Brighton restaurant until now, I have eaten so many fantastic meals here.

The restaurant sits centrally, just off West Street, next to the Fiddler’s Elbow, but it couldn’t be further from the usual West Street offering.

In the days when I was a PR, it was always my first choice for taking important clients out, owing to the impeccable service that was guaranteed and the intimate dining area at the back of the restaurant.

In fact, I will never forget the mouth-watering Chateaubriand with lobster that a colleague and I managed to expense thanks to client entertaining – those were the days!

It’s predominantly a steak restaurant, although there are also a great many fish and seafood options that change with the seasons to choose from too. If you’re veggie/vegan, I’m sorry, this just isn’t one for you (and it’s not trying to be either).

The Coal Shed also has an armful of local and national awards, including being named as one of the best restaurants in the UK by the prestigious Observer Food Monthly Awards.

In all honesty, I would love to eat there more often but it is quite pricey and way out of my budget these days. Luckily for us, it’s recently introduced a new more affordable express lunch menu, which operates Mondays to Fridays between 12 and 4pm and offers one-course for just £10.95. This express lunch menu replaces the pre-theatre menu and is more in line with what its customers need (one course – quickly).

I ordered the plaice when I visited, which came with a medley of chorizo, cockles, pickled chillies and samphire – a salty fresh green vegetable that is everywhere at the moment – plus a huge wedge of lemon to season.

plaice topped with cockles, chorizo and samphire at The Coal Shed, BrightonIt was an incredibly delicious plate of food, the fish was moist, fresh, and everything well-seasoned and beautifully presented. Considering this is top quality, locally sourced fish too it was an absolute bargain.

The only thing I would point out is there are no carbs with this dish. So if you were to order it and you were very hungry you’d need to add on sides, which are an additional £4 each.

I was famished on this particular day, so I ordered two seasonal sides just for myself –  the minty Jersey Royals and the Summer Greens cooked with a fiery chilli and fennel seasoning. They were divine.

Two sides were more than enough for me and I couldn’t finish all the potatoes by myself, so I recommend sharing this with another diner, even if you think you have a large appetite. If you’re after a light lunch you’ll be fine without.

My guest ordered the pulled pork burger, which came stuffed in between a soft, non-greasy, brioche bap with thick cut, chunky, beef dripping chips on the side (and the cause of some serious food envy for me) plus a side of crunchy red slaw. No need for additional sides with this dish.

Although I didn’t try my manager’s food (It didn’t quite feel appropriate to ask) he told me that it was one of the best burgers he’d ever had – and looking at his clean plate I was inclined to believe him.


RATING: Must Go | Give It A Miss | Worth A Try
PRICE: £29.90 for 2 people (with side dishes)

One of the best things, aside from the price here, is the fact that everything came out and was cleared away within 45 minutes, which means you can actually nip out on your hour’s lunch break and treat yourself, without getting in trouble with your boss. However, if you did want to take a leisurely lunch, that’s ok too – just bring your boss, like I did.

If I’ve tempted you to try the express lunch, I would book a table in advance. To do so just follow the link below to book online or give them a buzz.

The Coal Shed
8 Boyce’s St, Brighton BN1 1AN

*Disclaimer: I was invited to sample the express lunch menu but rest assured, when things aren’t up to scratch I still say so.

Whilst you’re here… do you think £10.95 is good value for lunch at The Coal Shed? Let me know in the comments below. Also please click the little heart button if you found my review useful. And if you didn’t, please tell me why too. Cheers!

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Philip Plummer August 28, 2018 - 7:20 PM

Glad you had a good experience.We eat from the main menu and it cost a fortune and was only fair.The lunch menu does sound much better value at The Coal Shed. Always enjoy the reviws.

Eshé Brown October 14, 2018 - 2:21 PM

Thanks Philip, I went in again for the express lunch the other week and it was really busy so I think it’s working out quite well!


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