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“Very poor”
Review of Alcove - CLOSED

Price range: US$0 - US$78
Cuisines: French, Contemporary, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, After-hours, Lunch, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Sam's of Sevendials is a family-owned bistro in the heart of Brighton's Seven Dials - just minutes from both the station and the seafront. Formally Sevendials Restaurant it now has a fresh new look and more relaxed vibe. Set in a former Lloyd's bank building, the restaurant's interior is impressive and features a newly fitted bar area and many black board specials. With a variety of seating areas Sam's is perfect for business lunches, family celebrations, dates and birthday parties. Sam's award-winning British menu includes favourites such as the salad of pork belly in an Oriental marinade of white radishes and spring onions; the risotto of smoked salmon and chives with seared scallops and coral butter; and the decadent Vairhona chocolate fondant with rum and raisin ice cream. The restaurant also boasts a private dining room, impressive global wine list available by the glass, carafe and bottle and a large South facing terrace open in the Summer months.
Reviewed 28 December 2013

Not a good experience at all. The restaurant had no atmosphere, was cold and empty. I normally feel a little sorry for restaurants that are empty but in this case it soon became apparent why there was nobody else there.

The food was just not good enough. The starter was ok, but was just some salmon with a few leaves so hard to mess up. The main was just awful, meat bland and all covered in what looked like tar. I can't prove it but the dessert did not taste homemade and was not good.

Waiters tried hard but were inexperienced. Had to ask for salt and pepper. They had no English mustard and ran out of the wine we had ordered after one bottle.

I can't see this lasting too long. If you charge top end prices you must deliver and they were a long way from that.

Thank kg08953
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (186)
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6 - 10 of 186 reviews

Reviewed 23 December 2013

Where do I start?... serious lack of atmosphere, cold restaurant, inexperienced staff, below average food...

We booked a table here for 6 of us and it was such a disappointment. They asked us to pre order, from reading this menu we expected great things. They give the impression of a fine dining experience with the likes of venison pate, granite's and canapes on arrival. How wrong!

According to the waiter, they had no Sauvignon Blanc, only a Sauvignon. The waiter "recommended" me a wine and when I questioned whether it was a good bottle he quite arrogantly told me that they select the wines to match their food. This "recommended" wine was disgusting to the point in which we sent it back. We had to spend £25 on a bottle to get something that was still only mediocre. And when I asked to try it first I was told you can't try unless you buy. What a joke!

My starter of pate was terrible. Too cold and with one tiny bread roll to accompany it, meaning I had to leave half the plate as I really wouldn't want to eat pate on its own. My friends' salmon was overly fishy and tasted cheap.

The mains arrived on tiny plates, almost child size plates! The portion was tiny and the quality of food was quite frankly, embarrassing. And this guy apparently has 25yrs experience as a chef? He should be embarrassed. The only thing I can think it was down to was because it was a Christmas menu?! It felt as though they were just trying to profit from us as much as possible.

The service was my biggest aggravation. I know its not the staff's fault, it's the owner's fault for not training them properly. Or employing enough of them!

The funniest moment was when the waiter asked if we enjoyed our food, we replied "no" and he mumbled "sorry about that" and ran off! Needless to say we didn't pay service and promptly left to continue our evening.

It just really saddens me when there is such a lack of passion! Brighton needs good restaurants and if you get it right, we'll return! I'm afraid Alcove, none of us will return and I certainly won't pass on any good word to all my fellow Brighton buddies!

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Thank Lydia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 December 2013 via mobile

I am so disappointed. I had been emailing the owner regarding our booking, she was efficient, friendly and very professional so I felt confident in arranging a group night out at Alcove. It was dreadful weather, we were the only table in there to start with and the still sat us by the doors, why? There was only one other table used while we were in there so we could have been placed somewhere more convenient. The staff were very pleasant but seemed inexperienced and knew nothing when asked about the food. We had to ask for several things (condiments not provided unless requested) and they ran out of the wine we ordered, mustard etc. We were asked how our meal was before we started eating and I now know why, it was edible but only like warm and covered in thick stodgy gravy, absolutely five for a canteen but not for £36 per head. The dessert looked like it had been bought from frozen. We didn't pay service and left straight after dessert. It was such a shame as the setting is do lovely and both the Seven Dials and Sams were such great places it seems that Alcove can't meet the same standard. I hope they get it right for future clients but we won't be going back

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Thank Lynne2751965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 November 2013

When Sams closed at 7 dials me and my better half were disappointed, but hoped a good restaurant would rplace this main venue at the 7 dials roundabout.

The Alcove opened with what can be best described as a soft launch, but we spotted the A board outside that suggested it was open.

The interior had changed very little, there was a slight whiff of new paint, but overall it had lost any warmth that Sams had. It was dark inside and fely unfinished, framed blackboards that were blank and it was cold. There ws a table of 4 in the far corner and a couple in another. The lack of atmosphere was intense.

We decided to go for it and the waiter who was attentive made a point of turning a radiator on.
The menu, obviously French was a little on the pricey side, so instantly expectations are high, and sitting in a cold restaurant with no atmosphere, the food had to deliver.

We went straight for the main courses I ordered the Lamb and my better half had the beef fillet.

Im not a big fan of over presented food, but I do appraeciate that we do eat with our eyes, so when my grey plate of lamb arrived I wasnt that hungry. The lamb was not pink and sat on some bland cabbage. Overall the dish failed to deliver any flavour at all.

My better half fillet was cooked ok, but not bue as ordered, it was obviously good quality meat, but again the overall balance of the dish failed to deliver on flavour.

I pass this restaurant most days and they dont seem to be getting the customers in. I think they need to do some research on what the locals actually would like. I personally think that the dials needs a good wine bar/casual dining venue, something with small plates or good rustic food, with a good wine list, to appeal to all of the 'media types' living in the area.

The Alcove wants to be a fine dining experience but is far from it, cold, grey and overpriced. I hope they sort out their problems otherwise I fear they wont last too long.

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Thank David P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 November 2013

We used this restaurant last year at the other location, we were the only two eating but the food was delicious and service good. The cocktail bar was downstairs and no atmosphere but fab drinks. We were very excited to see that they had moved to a new destination. There have been a few generations of restaurants at this venue and we tried all and never went again so our hopes were very high! We went with friends and were disappointed. The chairs etc are still the same, hard wooden ones not suitable for what was classified as "fine dining". There is no area for drinks beforehand and we were shown to a table right on top of other people but chose to sit elsewhere. It was cold inside, we ordered our drinks and found the "mixologist" as he called himself very condescending!! I am an aid margarita drinker and know what I like and do not expect to be lectured and what he regards as the "correct" way to make one. I received the margarita in a very small martini glass with ice and refused to pay £7 for 4 sips, he offered it free which was not the point. It was good and I ordered another one but to be put into a tumbler with ice. He maintained it was the same size but I can assure you it was not, it was stronger and more liquid but worth the £7.

They were busy dashing around which was not relaxing and the barman was obviously miffed with our complaint. The dinner was a long time coming and they kept offering us drinks etc. When it came it was for £30 one piece of steak, 2 slices of potato and a handful of green beans. The £30 included an item "granite" a sorbet by any other name and we found the whole thing very expensive and not worth money for food or ambience.

To use the toilet one goes downstairs and it was absolutely freezing down there also not a very welcoming experience. Why not heat downstairs!

Unfortunately for us another unusable restaurant at seven dials and will not be returning.

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Thank Leiprechaun49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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