I’ve known Hastings and St Leonards all my life, ever since we used to stay in a seafront hotel for a week in the Easter holidays each year when we were little. It’s always been a mixture of raffishness, artiness and a fair bit of sad dilapidation, but there is architecture – and that always draws creative and talented people, and there’s the sea and the fishing fleet which are a magnet for food lovers. This rich combination drew chef patron Nick Hales, to found the simple unassuming restaurant, St Clement’s.
Somehow I had failed to hear about it. I had missed excellent reviews in newspapers, guides, and books. And even if I had stumbled on it on trips to Hastings and St Leonards I am unlikely to have noticed it as something special on a charming but shabby little street.
We were there on a bitterly cold spring day for my birthday, and the food and delicious wine warmed us through and through. It was a real and all embracing birthday treat.