The SuffolkEater reviews the Seafood & Grill at the Brudenell, Aldeburgh


To get the best of eating at the Brudenell Hotel Aldeburgh, you need daylight and either a table on the terrace or one inside with a sea view. However, as we found out a week or two ago, its Seafood & Grill has a pleasant, comfortable feeling about it on a blustery rainy autumn evening. Of the four-headed SuffolkEater group, two are quite regular lunchers or diners here, and for the other pair this was a first visit.

It is well organised. The young female staff are welcoming and efficient. The ambience is that of a fairly modern Bistro with well-spaced tables and seating which offers separate areas for, say, families wanting to be away from couples and mature foursomes (and vice versa, of course).

Brudenell Seafood and Grill 2

As you would expect. the menu is predominantly fish and sea-food. Those with a good appetite may order pre-starters of marinated olives (£3.00), a basket of home-made breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (£3.00 ), or pitta bread with hummus and tsatsiki (£4.00).

Brudenell Seafood and Grill 1

There are 12 “Starters and Light Bites”, of which seven may be had as a main course. The selection is wide: several of fish or shell-fish, goat’s cheese, charcuterie, Mediterranean vegetables, Caesar salad, potted duck and “Rich Shellfish Bisque”. Prices average around £7.00. Three of us decided to sup the bisque. This had been made from a good shell-fishy stock and came with a dollop of Rouille on the side, to swirl in à la Marseillaise. We all enjoyed this, but… and it is an important “but”: the soup was not hot when it arrived at the table. Our fourth diner ordered Sautéed Tiger Prawns with garlic butter, lemon and focaccia (£7.00): six good prawns and garlicky dipping butter, plus excellent but insufficient bread.

These are the four main dishes we chose, and what we thought about them. (1) Main course Caesar Salad with extra chicken and a side of fries (£15). Well put together and presented, all eaten up like a good boy. (2) “Real Scampi” with tartar sauce and fries (£15.00). “Amazing…. Haven’t seen proper scampi like this for years….just like Dublin Bay Prawns of long ago”); (3) Catch of the Day, plaice. (“Fresh, delicious and nicely turned in a pan with no excess butter”); (4) Wild scallops baked in their shells, garlic butter, parsley and breadcrumbs (£8.00 “There were five or six small scallops resting on shells with butter but not much in the way of garlic, parsley or breadcrumbs. Scallops didn’t look baked, but tasted fairly good”).

No vegetables, apart from fries were served or offered. Although some dishes were served on wooden platters, presentation was minimal and not as appetising is it could be. “Not a lot of creativity in the kitchen” was one comment, “Competent but not exciting”.

We didn’t take up the puddings on offer, which include various ice-cream desserts, sticky toffee pudding and cheesecake. Cheese, too, if you wish. All at £7.00. Three of us had coffee, which came with a chocolate truffle each. We drink sparkling water and four glasses of wine. For this, with 15% (voluntary) tip we paid £150.00.

Rating (5* = Maximum) Service: **** Ambience **** Food *** Value-for-money *** Summing up: We were not overwhelmed, but it is, nevertheless, among the better local places to take visiting friends or family.

Seafood & Grill at the Brudenell Hotel, The Parade, Aldeburgh, IP15 5BU. Tel: 01728 452071 Open every day, lunch and dinner. Reservation advised. Disabled access.

“SuffolkEater” comprises four food loving people of wide experience who dine anonymously in local eating places, pay for the meal and depart anonymously.



Twenty one years is a long time in one’s life, but to hold sway over the same hot kitchen, cooking lunch and dinner in a 60-cover restaurant for that length of time is really something. To still enthusiastically produce plates of very, very good food is something else. Robert Mabey has been doing this at Aldeburgh’s REGATTA since 1992. He and his wife Johanna also own the place.

Trained at the Connaught Hotel (a pinnacle of London hotel restaurants, in case you didn’t know) and Michel Roux Junior’s “Le Gavroche”, Robert’s cooking is assured and excellent. He has steak, chicken and duck dishes on his menu, all with creative touches and worth a detour, but fish is really his thing. He has his own smoke house, he cures his own gravadlax, and early every morning he is inquiring of his fish suppliers what’s freshly landed and good.

  Regatta Aldeburgh - exterior by day Regatta Aldeburgh - interior 1Regatta Aldeburgh - interior 2

A few evenings back the blackboard of six or so “specials” included sea trout served on a bed of “Vegetable Spaghetti” (long thin strips of carrots, celery, cabbage and other veggies shown the steamer for a few minutes – splendid) with new potatoes, and sea bass on the almost ultimately creamy risotto laced with spring greenery. Mary had the sea trout, I the sea bass. Both pieces of fish had been cooked to juicy not-quite-falling-apart superiority. The accompaniments matched. Seriously good, stylish but nevertheless unpretentious cooking – the hallmark of a chef who is confident of his creativity and abilities.

Earlier I had tried the home-made gravadlax – Nordic in style and quality. Later Mary essayed a Crème Brulée and pronounced it “best ever”.

There are five Mediterranean Nibbles to have with your aperitif (like one of three Sherries, perhaps, at £3.25 a go); nine starters, including minestrone and fish soup, oysters, tempura prawns and home-made goose paté; three meat and two vegetarian mains as well as the daily fish choices; nine puds and cheese. A well chosen wine list leans a little towards New World, and, sensibly, offers four whites, one rosé and four reds by the glass (17.5cl or 25 cl glasses from £4.00 to £6.50). I liked the Pays d’Oc Viognier, not as intense as the Côtes du Rhône Viogniers but bold enough for the gravadlax and a change from the much-offered Sauvignon Blancs and Chardonnays.

     Regatta Aldeburgh - fresh sardinesRegatta Aldeburgh - sea bass on risottoRegatta Aldeburgh - tempura shrimp

The servers are young, nicely presented, friendly and efficient; the ambience is Bistro rather than posh. And if you’re lucky, himself will emerge from the kitchen after his labours and regale you with accounts of the various vicissitudes of restaurant-running, of the fish catch of the day and the local scene, of which he, his wife and his establishment are an integral part.

A three course meal for two with a bottle of medium price wine costs from about £85.00. Our meal was two courses, with two glasses of wine, mineral waters and espresso coffees and cost £57.00. Very good value. There is a lunch menu, kid’s stuff, gourmet events various, and more, throughout the year. The opening times allow for a pre-cinema meal

Regatta Aldeburgh - exterior at night

Regatta, 171 High Street, Aldeburgh, Suffolk IP15 5AN, telephone 01728 452011. Open every day for lunch from mid-day to 2.00 p.m. and for dinner from 6.00 to 10.00 p.m. Highly recommended. Good photographs, the menu, wine list and lots of news may be found at