Cave themed capers? The Tempest Inn is a seafront bar and restaurant aimed at locals and those wanting to avoid the tourist hotspots; I couldn't wait to take a visit to see if it delivered.
Just opposite West Street and a stone’s throw from the sea, The Tempest Inn is an ideal location to make the most of beautiful sea views as well as experience all the activity of the main Brighton strip. I got to visit The Tempest Inn on one of the first warm evenings of the year and the outside tables were already full (although a few punters still had their coats on – this is England after all). I was surprised how large the venue was inside – cavernous really does describe it. Smaller cave-like booths downstairs gave a feeling of cosy privacy, contrasted with a more open plan setting upstairs and large windows with views out on to the beach.
The place was of a marooned, shipwreck theme (the Tempest – get it? I'm looking at you, English Literature students...) but avoided looking tacky, as some themed bars can. Pink stone walls created the cave look with driftwood tables coupled with sumptuous leather sofas. Oh, and The Tempest Inn is clearly not afraid to poke a bit of fun at itself, with a giant feathered parrot greeting us as we got upstairs.
The Food and Drink
The menu is small but contains enough dishes to satisfy all palates, whether you're looking for something fishy, meaty or veggie. The Tempest Inn doesn't play with its food, offering simple and delicious dishes made with local ingredients. We started with popcorn mussels and fire kraken squid (both £5). Both dishes had a crispy coating with delicate spiced flavouring and a powerful hit of seafood flavour which can only be sourced from the freshest ingredients. Described by my dinner mate as “genuinely amazing” and accompanied with a rich homemade mayo, these were the perfect starters to get us going.
For mains, I was instantly drawn to the BBQ rack of pork ribs with chips, slaw and sweetcorn relish (£12). I am rarely intimidated by a plate of food, but this was the biggest rack of ribs I had ever seen (I'm ashamed to say I couldn't handle the whole rack and had to get help from my dinner mate who was more than happy to assist). The meat was beautifully cooked and delicately fell off the bone (as all good ribs should) with a full, rich and tangy BBQ flavour. My dinner mate chose burger topped with crab (£12) – the crab topping was creamy, with a bold, unflinching and fresh burger - another testament to the ingredients.
For drinks, there was a large selection of locally brewed ales, lagers, wines and of course soft drinks, but I couldn’t resist making a selection from the small cocktail menu. Always happy to follow a theme, I chose the Dark and Stormy (£6) - spiced rum and ginger beer, this drink was snappy, refreshing and really packed 'an almost pirate' punch.
The Tempest Inn was pretty busy on a Thursday night and it was easy to see it getting busier with the onset of summer and warm evenings on the beach. Even with three bars throughout the venue and plenty of seating inside and out, I would advise you get there early to avoid disappointment.
There was a mixture of people coming in for dinner, some just a quick tipple and some for longer drinking sessions and it really seemed like a great venue to do any one. The chilled hip hop soundtrack reflected the vibes of the Tempest Inn – laid back but with a little bit of attitude. The staff were always attentive and even though they were busy they always made time to check to make sure we had everything we needed and were happy with our food (which of course, we were).
A perfect “local” pub, whether you live in Brighton or are merely travelling in. It’s relaxed, unique and fun with a vast array of drinks and great no-fuss food. I will definitely be taking a few more trips down to the Tempest Inn.