There’s no denying that Brighton has its fair share of restaurants clogging up its narrow Laines and wide avenues. They’re often totally delicious, trendy affairs… but sometimes finding a table is an ordeal. The old buildings can be cramped, the food either too elaborate or just burgers, and they’re not the sort of places you can bring a group without at least one of them complaining. So when I heard about Third Avenue in Hove, an unassuming yet spacious spot, I was all ears.
First things first: this was a grown-up affair. You don’t have to sit on top of your neighbours because the whole dining area is as big as your living room, and there's no need to queue in the pouring rain for an hour either as it takes reservations. The venue was a sizeable but cosy neighbourhood hangout with vintage-style decor, plush seating and enough space to gossip the night away without the next-door table getting involved.
The first dish to catch our attention was the ‘butter of the day’. If you take nothing else away from this review, at least appreciate that Third Avenue offers a daily butter. During our visit, the special was seaweed and saffron (£2). It turned out to be a delicious and unexpected combination, an interesting treat that paired perfectly with the warm and delightfully chewy sourdough (£4). To go with our meal, we both went for cocktails - I chose the lychee rose martini (£11), made up of vodka, lychee liqueur, rose water, lime juice and gomme. My friend, on the other hand, ordered a non-alcoholic elderflower presse (£5), which combined mint, lime juice, cordial and sweet agave.
Moving onto the main dishes, the standout for us had to be the fried squid (£8.50). It was lovely and crisp, but it was the black garlic aioli that really stole the show. It had a rich and deep flavour that perfectly complemented the squid and was a nice change from the zingy sauces you’d usually expect in such a dish. We could have done with a few more pieces, so if you’re a bit of a squid fan I’d think about ordering more than one plate.
The grilled gambas (£9) were lovely, with three big boys coated in a 'nduja butter and chives. They were tender, flavoursome, and we could have easily devoured ten more. We also delved into charred asparagus (£9) accompanied by a lovely mojo rojo (a slightly smoky red sauce), manchego and almonds. The cheese added a savoury flavour to the dish, while the almonds gave it all a nice crunch. On top of that, we devoured the blistered padron peppers (£5), perfectly cooked and sprinkled with a generous pinch of smoked chilli salt, alongside a portion of manchego truffle fries (£6).
Personally, I always appreciate a dessert menu that isn’t afraid to err on the side of pudding. Third Avenue rises to the occasion, showcasing an impressive selection; we decided on the classic apple and winter berry crumble (£7) and the chocolate delice (£8). The crumble came with a scoop of subtlety spiced cinnamon ice cream, giving some originality to the old favourite, while the delice was a chocolate-lovers dream, with a rich velvety texture and a side of extra chocolate in the form of a sorbet.
The DesignMyNight Digest
When it comes to finding a welcoming local hangout, Third Avenue is a great shout. The food is original but unpretentious, while the drinks are unexpected and fun. There’s bags of space to have parties or big get-togethers, but it’s also a perfect date spot that can be a bit more private without being left awkwardly alone. Loved the butter of the day, calamari bites and puddings… and you’ll be full enough to welcome that short walk down to the beach for a post-meal stroll.
💰 The damage: £74.5, plus service charge.
📍 The location: 72 Church Road, Hove, BN2 2FP.
👌 Perfect for: Intimate evenings and gossiping with friends.
⭐ Need to know: There is a swish speakeasy bar downstairs available for private parties.