Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sussex Gastro Pubs Series: Lunch at the Thomas Kemp

What is now The Thomas Kemp in Kemp Town has been through several incarnations before becoming the civilised bar/restaurant it is today. I first remember it as the Burlington - a slightly seedy grunge bar, which was then bought by the now (thankfully) defunct Polar Bar chain - never quite right for the sophisticated surroundings of the village. We have no shortage of decent pubs, and several nice restaurants in Kemp Town, but The Thomas Kemp has filled a noticeable gap between the two. We rarely go there of an evening, though it does seem to have a fair few events going on. But it's a good lunch venue for when you fancy something a bit fancier than pub grub but not quite as posh as Blanch House. The ever-changing menu is imaginative and well executed, with plenty of vegetarian options on offer. Decorated with antique map wallpaper, it is light and airy, and you can even see the sea if you sit down the front end, which we did today.

I ordered the red pepper and sweet potato soup (pictured), which came with lovely hunks of freshly baked french bread. Also pictured here is Ant, tucking into his mackerel with chilli sauce, salad and rice - which I'm told was very good. We both treated ourselves to a beer, and sat reading the paper for a bit before popping across to Bona Foodie to pick up some cakes for afternoon tea later. I love wandering down to Kemp Town on a Saturday, because you can get most things you would need without all the hassle of ploughing through town, and you usually bump into some familiar friendly faces along the way. Today our lovely dentist was on the table next to us in the TK. He looks so much younger in his weekend clothes, it was quite perturbing!
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