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Our latest interview, with Eastbourne’s e The Magazine:

An interview with Christine & Claude

Simply Seafood has to be one of Eastbourne’s best little secrets, and that’s a shame for a number of reasons. I had lunch there almost by mistake and was blown away by the meal. This is not a new restaurant to the town, it was established over 13 years ago in Westham, right on the roundabout by the station by Christine and Claude Horeau. Many people will have seen their TV appearance on ‘The Restaurant Inspector’ where they took the big decision to rebrand themselves from Horeau’s to Simply Seafood and it could be this simple reason that has let them drop off the radar. Below is a very brief interview to find out what they are all about and what they are doing to remind us all that they are still as great as ever.   Tim Gorringe (editor).

What inspired you to open a fish restaurant?
A love of fish and we saw an opportunity in Eastbourne, there was a gap in the market for high quality seafood cooked well, simply and respected the ingredients without fuss. Claude is from a family of fishermen so there had always been a passion needing an outlet.

What are your future plans for the restaurant?  
We get a great satisfaction from hosting and providing quality food, private functions are good because we offer the exclusivity of our function room and you can see the guests really appreciate being looked after in an intimate space with zero pressure, it really is like being in your own fine dining room, at least that’s our aim.

Ok I’m sold, eMag will book our Christmas party here, but what will it cost me?
Haha, well our usual rates start from £15.95 per person for a 3 course meal, but I’m sure we can extend the eMag staff to a free bread roll!

Where do you source your ingredients from?
All over Sussex, most of our fish comes from Hastings and some from Newhaven and Eastbourne.

If you were to open a new restaurant, what style of food would you pick?
Actually we’d like to stay with seafood but we’d focus on a very straightforward approach, almost a Mediterranean coastal style of very simple cooking with open flame grilled cooking, taking the freshest fish of the day straight to the table with minimal fuss, but it would be very location dependant like Sovereign Harbour’s quay side working closely with the new fishing project.

What or who are your influences?
We went to eat at Rick Stein’s and have not looked back.

How many cooks are there?
One.

How many staff are there?
Three.

Where do you get the ideas for meals and recipes from?
Most of the time it’s a reactive response to the produce, we can often be found standing round a table of ingredients we’ve just received brainstorming ideas and the menu for that day grows, plus we respond to our bookings and requests as not everyone eats seafood, so we’ll happily get creative with some duck or a vegan order.

Do you find adhering to health, safety and hygiene issues challenging?
No, we know what we are doing and all the latest standards are quite logical and fall in with the way we've always worked, if you produce vegan, vegetarian, fish, basically the full range of food types in one kitchen then you have to be able to eliminate cross contamination and bacteria, so our 5 star rating is more of a formality.

You’re scheduled for the electric chair. What’s your last meal?
Claude: Red Snapper. Christine: Lobster Thermidor.

How many items are on the menu?
It’s not really a relevant question for us as our menu is adjusted to suit our diners and the nature of which produce has found it’s way to us that day.

Where and how do you source your wines?
We have our favourites of course but we work closely with Hailsham Cellars.

Is the owner a chef?
Yes.

Do you change your menu? If so, how often?
Of course, all the time.

Do you make hard things from scratch?
Who doesn’t?

What events do you run?
We don’t organise that many events ourselves, but we host them every week for all sorts of groups like the Masons Lodge, parties, weddings and events like intimate family gatherings are popular in both the conservatory and our private dining room.

You mentioned a new light menu?
Ah yes, we wouldn’t describe it as Tapas but it’s in that style of shared bite sized meals that you all fight over, at least customers have been here! But we’ll have to launch that menu properly soon with a big party of our own, do you think we should sell tickets?
You may have to.

Simply Seafood is open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for lunch and evening dining but will take party bookings 7 days a week.