Ox Block at the Lord Nelson in Brighton

The eternally popular Brighton pub The Lord Nelson has made itself even more desirable with a shrewd partnership with former TV Masterchef winner and Sussex chef Kenny Tutt.

The Full Nelson burger
The Full Nelson burger

It’s always been a reliably cosy and a dashed decent sort of establishment with oodles of Harveys beer on tap, and is even more comfortable since it’s expansion in recent years.

And now the Trafalgar Street boozer has raised its food game immeasurably with Kenny Tutt’s cracking new menu which includes flame-grilled dishes aplenty.

The 2018 Masterchef winner and former Brighton bank manager (a now vacated branch of Santander, not too far away on Western Road) is a man on the move with four restaurants in Worthing and Brighton.

Ox Block's 40-day aged steak at The Lord Nelson

He has brought his Ox Block concept to the Nelson, which in short means some eminentally desirable dishes, cooked on a Japanese Robata grill.

It’s a sensibly-sized but very moreish menu, replete with little extra twists that elevate proceedings way above the old pub grub staples.

Where else would you find crispy black pud and maple sriracha, or a three-cheese truffle mustard toastie amid the snack menu?

It’s exciting prospect for carnivores (with some nice veg and vegan options available too), the images of the 40-day aged sirloin with a cafe de paris butter are certainly enticing enough.

Ox Block's Gunpowder chicken thighs at the Lord Nelson Inn

On our visit we kept things meaty with gunpowder chicken thighs, and Kenny’s new Full Nelson Burger.

The former was almost inhaled by chum, but the bite I managed to wrestle off him had been nicely assembled with toasted peanut, lime and a good herby flatbread, with enough red chillies to cause Guy Fawkes to have called for another pint of Harvey’s Best.

BN1 isn’t short of a burger or two but the Ox Block/Full Nelson creation is a prince among patties.

The first bite of the blended chuck and brisket burger was all a burger should be, juicey and nicely balanced but not overwhelmed by a welter of accompanying ingredients, including a Harveys IPA cheese sauce, smoked bacon, and a very well-behaved candied jalapeño

A bevy of Harveys beers at the Lord Nelson Inn

A brilliant crusty bun-full of fun which holds its own with the offerings of the specialist posh burger imporiums.

The pudding menu is small in size but big on decadence, and not too light on calories…

It’s a straight choice between deep-fried Oreos with dulce de leche ice cream, or crispy bacon and maple ice cream on a warm waffle.

Both were as indulgent as they sound. The battered biscuits were never really going to be anything else and waffle dish will leave many diners wondering they haven’t chucked a rasher or two on their pud before.

Ox Block's deep-fried Oreo dessert at the Lord Nelson Inn

So, it looks like the Kenny and Harveys axis could be a winner, with the likeable chef serving up the kind of quality, but decently-priced food that justifies sharing a table with Sussex’s grand old beer.

Ox Block's bacon and maple ice cream waffle at the Lord Nelson Inn