Review of BadSaint, Littlehampton High Street
BadSaint has had a buzz around it since opening earlier this year – and now it is open again, what better time to try it out.
Slap bang in the middle of the High Street, the cocktail bar and restaurant offers something new to Littlehampton’s gastronomy scene - and has already breathed some life into the town centre.
I visited on Wednesday evening (August 5), and even walking up it was an oasis of hospitality: customers chatting and laughing while dining al fresco on a lovely summer evening, with the welcoming lights inside drawing me in.
Within, the decor is clean and modern - white walls with sapphire upholstery - leaving no trace that it was formerly a Natwest branch, but taking advantage of the impressive facade outside to give an extra touch of grandeur.
The proprietors describe the menu as fusion cuisine with Meditarranean influences, which could be seen in dishes like the lentil falafels and chickpea fritters for starters, to the mezze board and orange pannacotta for dessert.
But many of the dishes on offer also reflect what you’d expect to see in a gastropub, such as rib eye steak, chicken supreme, pan fried sea trout and bream.
I opted for the trio of duck - confit duck leg terrine, a deep-fried duck bonbon and duck liver parfait with vivid green chive oil and an onion puree - followed by the fish feast seafood platter, while my friend went for the baked cheese souffle and chicken supreme.
While we were waiting, a dish of marinated olives was presented to us, swiftly followed by cocktails made by the in-house mixologist.
As the designated driver, I went for the Saint San Francisco - a ‘mocktail’ of orange and pineapple, berry puree and passionfruit - and the pornstar martini my friend enjoyed was a less luridly orange and more sophisticated version of the typical hen do drink. We also got to sample a pina colada, complete with a blowtorched marshmallow skewer garnish.
Because of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, the restaurant was alive with customers, from couples enjoying a date night to reunited friends and a family birthday party, which meant the food service was a little slow at first.
But this was understandable, and the management struck the perfect balance of creating a warm atmosphere while making me feel safe. For example, the tables were well spaced out and equipped with a bottle of hand sanitiser.
When it arrived, the duck trio was enjoyable - particularly the silky-smooth parfait - and the cheese souffle was unctuous and perfectly-sized.
And in hindsight, I wish I’d ordered my friend’s meal: a juicy chicken breast, doused in a flavoursome gravy which was soaked up by the ‘pommes anna’: potatoes thinly sliced and fried gently in copious amounts of butter. He was lucky to have any left after extending an offer for me to try it.
With a bit of room left to spare, we dived headfirst into the dessert menu. The cheese board was my choice, and it didn’t disappoint: a local selection of Brighton Blue, Golden Cross Goat’s Cheese and a standout Sussex Charmer cheddar with all the trimmings.
For those with a sweet tooth, then the White Chocolate Heaven - a cardamom mousse coupled with raspberries and a chocolately crumb - is not a bad way to go.
Overall, the service was brilliant, the atmosphere relaxing yet vibrant and the food made a Wednesday evening feel like a fancy occasion.
It does live up to the hype and is already a jewel in the High Street’s crown.