The place to B: Annemarie Field samples the delights of B12 in Hailsham
In an era when many bars and restaurants come and go, I have a good feeling that Hailsham’s new High Street eatery, B12 Bar and Kitchen will stand the test of time and is 100 per cent here to stay.
For a start it has good food reasonably priced. The surroundings are trendy but not over the top: bare brick walls with Banksy style pictures and just the right lighting.
And then you have the final ingredient – Melvyn Funnell-Strange, who has already made a name for himself locally with Bucklers Cafe and The Deli in nearby St Mary’s Walk as well as restaurants in Eastbourne and Tunbridge Wells.
The star of the show however is the menu: not too fussy and comprehensive with something to suit everyone whether you just want something to nibble on, a starter, bigger dishes or create a steak – including a cut of cauliflower.
Many of the dishes are vegetarian and can be adjusted for vegans so B12’s popularity can only soar among those choosing a plant based diet.
As for me, I consider myself something of a houmous connoisseur and the homemade roasted peppers dish topped with pumpkin seeds and pitta bread does not disappoint. Neither do the starters.
There are seven to choose from and despite being slightly tempted by the cauliflower fritters, I plumped for the wild mushrooms, smoked bacon in a smooth garlic cream and served on top of toasted sour dough.
An abundance of mushrooms and a delicious meal in itself.
My companion Denise tackled the seared mackerel with a smokey potato salad and topped with chive oil and said it was fast becoming her favourite as she is a regular diner at 12 High Street.
There were some big decisions to be made when choosing our main courses but there is no rush at B12 and a comprehensive wine list (£17.95 for a bottle of the house Sauvignon Blanc or Merlot) can be enjoyed as you dip between the catch of the day (homemade fish cakes on the day we were there), burgers, steaks, pasta, duck breast, pork belly or a salad.
I dithered between the pan fried chicken breast with fondant potato, cavalo nero white veloute and the pasta and can now highly recommend the king prawn linguine with cherry tomatoes, samphire, shallots and just the right amount of lemon.
Denise has far more will power than me and opted for a B12 salad which is no ordinary salad as it comes with Serrano ham, goat’s cheese, red onion marmalade and a generous helping of mixed leaves.
B12 is fast gaining a name for its steaks and Thursday night is steak night when two people can each have sirloin with a choice of peppercorn, chimichurri or blue cheese sauce with a chunky chips, mash or new potatoes all washed down with a bottle of red wine for £40.
Also proving popular are the sharing platters of meat or cheese or both.
I seem to have concentrated thus far so far on the main menu but B12 – open from 10am until 11pm Tuesday to Thursday, 10am until midnight Fridays and Saturdays, from 9am on Sundays and closed on Mondays – has a wide range of sandwiches available from noon until 3pm and includes fish fingers, traditional club, falafel, pork, cheese and ham, all served with crisps and a fresh fruit pot.
Breakfast and lunch are served on Sundays and there is a choice of two roasts for Sunday lunch.
I will be returning: if anything to check out some of the cocktails on a list which is growing by the day.
Like I said, I have a feeling that B12 is here to stay and I for one want to become one of its regular flock.