The Wellington Hotel, Seaford

The Wellington is our local pub and I've just been for brunch with my neighbour. He needed to eat before going off to field for his Rotary club at the Bluebell Gardens (see story, below). And I'm about to go and sit on the beach for some Vitamin D exposure. Well, I was. The fog has rolled in.

Moving on. This pub, perched in Steyne Road at the bottom of the Causeway, Seaford, is the only place I know in the area that will give you fresh olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dress your salad with. And it was a beautifully fresh spinach salad today.

Baked Potato with Prawn Rosemarie
My baked potato with tuna mayonnaise was generous, to say the least, although I managed most of it before having to say "quit". With brunch, HUP bought me a small bottle of prosecco 'One 4 One: Prosecco Doc'.

Once, I would have looked rather critically at prosecco  but it's a light and fresh replacement. What's more, it comes in glass - glass being the required container in these days of plastic pollution - and half the bottle now sits on my recently acquired glass desk. To be cooled as the sun sets because I like its dry, toasty flavour.

By the way, the desk came via the Seaford Recycling Group on Facebook, where people can put items ‘for sale’ that they no longer need. That means 'free to the collector'.  No money exchanges hands. It's a great site for sharing both your needs and your disposable material goods.

Meanwhile, back to The Wellington and salad dressings. Sammy started the practice, from recall, and she's the person to ask if you want something sorted out in a hurry. She's slim, well- groomed and has sleekly coifed long dark hair; and she doesn't take any nonsense.

I’ve noticed that the Wellington is careful to choose personable and intelligent staff. They're all professional and friendly, without being in your face. As a manager of two restaurants in my early years, I really look out for that kind of thing - "the small things matter*.

Recently, a cousin from New Zealand who I had never met before planned to visit Seaford with her daughter so I suggested they book into the Wellington for the night. I had a look around beforehand, and particularly liked the biggest room, which looks down the Causeway to the sea. However, a double bed wasn't the right thing on this occasion.

They stayed in a room with two single beds, and a decent bathroom, and seemed happy with the choice, although, as strict vegetarians, they didn’t try the food because they were eating mine.

One particularly attractive facet of the accommodation at The Wellington is that it's entirely separated off from the ground floor bar and dining room areas. You get a key to the front door and one to your own floor, and there are a couple of sofas and armchairs on that level from recall.

Their stay in Seaford was a lot more comfortable than their next stop, the following day, when they arrived in New York with temperatures 20 below freezing. Some B&B person had forgotten they were arriving in NY on 6 January. It took several hours to sort out.

I received word later that they were glad of the sheepskin and ski jackets I had given them "just in case"...

Back to the Wellington. Although I haven't seen the kitchen, we eat here a lot when we want good, plain food (my cooking is too ‘cheffy’, to borrow a term from James Martin). It doesn't seem to be plucked from a bag and banged into a microwave, whilst calling it 'home-cooked'.  Sometimes, there are special themes; and on Saturday, a meat raffle.

Their lamb shanks are extremely good; and there are different 'specials' and ‘themes’ daily. Our baked potatoes and salad today were £5.95 each. Dinner is starts about £12 a head, with specials from £10 for two, although going for glory with a sirloin steak will cost more.
*Here’s today’s website pick, ‘The Art of Stillness’

The Wellington Pub and Bed & Breakfast
33 Steyne Rd, Seaford BN25 1HT, Tel 01323 899517
Open: 12 noon to 12 am

A Confusion of Tastes

After several visits to the Golden Palace, I'm unable to say whether they're good or they're not. The conundrum comes because the takeaway versions of in-house food bear so little resemblance to each other.

Tung Mac and his charming daughter run the restaurant between them. They are attentive and swift on their feet, while the itself is restaurant is simple but pleasant, and very clean. The owner also appears to deliver food when it's ordered by phone.

Photos: Golden Palace, Seaford
Vivienne DuBourdieu©2018
We were delighted by our first two  visits - Thai dishes that tasted authentic, with a range of Chinese and Szechuan options also on offer. I'll certainly go out of my way for an interesting Pad Thai, having had many indifferent versions of the real dish in England. It all starts with the stock, of course. And perhaps that's where the Golden Palace falls down.

Either they have two entirely different cooks for in-house and takeaway food, or they have a deliberate policy of simplifying takeaway food.For instance, proper stock requires bones and/or vegetables to give depth and a range of seasonings - depending on the nature of the food - to give it complexity.

Without sufficient care, a Thai Tom Yam soup might simply amount to a lot of sugar and chilli in boiling water with a few prawns or canned mushrooms floating around on top. I haven't tried it at the Golden Palace but I've had that sort of thing elsewhere.

The Golden Palace certainly does Salt Squid well. This is one my favourite Asian starters, along with Japanese-style Tempura. He goes for Crispy Aromatic Peking Duck on nearly every occasion, along with a fiery Crispy Chilli Beef.

Golden Palace, Seaford

At home, however, it was a different matter. We had a couple of tries. Aside from the squid and the Peking Duck, the food ranged from carelessly cooked to awful. The Pad Thai, for instance, bore no resemblance to the in-house version.

The second delivery, which included Vegetarian Spring Rolls, and the aforesaid Peking Duck, once again, also had a new (to us) Sweet and Sour dish of pork, and Thai Green Curry. Oh dear. My 50% rating is for the speed and the piping hot delivery service. That's all. Most of it went in the bin.

Puzzled, we returned and discussed the problem with the proprietor.  In effect, there appear to be two separate ways of cooking or, perhaps, two completely different cooks. One for in-house food and one for deliveries.

We decided to forget deliveries and return again for a bash at the a la carte menu. Sadly, it really wasn't worth paying for a la carte on our most recent visit on 25 April. He enjoyed his spare ribs, and the squid was as good as ever - although I had to ask for sweet chilli sauce - but my dubious looking, Korean-style bean curd curry was uneatable. And again, it come without the Kimchi Sauce.

There was an apology, but this sort of carelessness in the kitchen will lose customers who know there way around South East Asian menus.

To sum up, appear to be three official three menus:  an 'a la carte menu', the £18 "all you can eat" menu, which is pretty good value, and the takeaway menu. What the cooks decide to do for any of these however, is another matter.

We paid £70 for two on one occasion last year, which must have included wine (a generic bottle of pleasant Rose for around £14) and one of the deliveries cost £32 as I have the receipts in front of me. The last visit - a la carte - came to £44. We were not charged for the forlorn Korean dish.

To summarise, the restaurant service is almost always good, and the curiosities of our visit last week (when were the only people in the restaurant), must have related to the weather. The best value, then, is to go there and 'eat all you can' for £18 a head.

The Golden Palace
5 South Street, Seaford BN25 1MP
Tel. 01323 890465 or 01323 895 037
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11am – 2.30pm and 5.30pm to 11pm (closed Monday)