It was my birthday this week so I added a couple of lieu days to the end of my 5 day rest so had a whole week off work! My missus gave me a wonderful birthday treat by booking two nights away at 36 On the Quay, a Michelin starred restaurant with rooms in Emsworth. On the first night we had the 7 course tasting menu and on the second night the regular dinner. The food was outstanding and it was only one out of the total of eleven courses eaten over the two days which disappointed. It was also the course which most jumped out at me from the menu as sounding terrific – Three types of pork which were loin, belly and cheek. The spoiler for me was the sauce which was so strong on the flavour of 5 spice powder (not mention in the dish’s description) as to overpower each piece of meat and to make them all taste the same albeit with different textures. The best dish off all was a starter from the second night’s menu – a very large duck egg yolk sitting on top of of a small mound of puy lentils, some very intensly flavoured funghi and a portion of fois gras! The bright yellow duck egg yolk when it broke flooded into the green lentils and not only looked great but tasted sublime. The fois gras melted in the mouth as if it were butter. That dish was a triumph.
The Coastliner 700 runs within a few hundred yards of the restaurant so we decided to have a day out on the bus and go to Brighton. All I knew about this service was that it’s one of Stagecoach South’s pride and joys getting new buses every couple of years. The timetable on the stop showed that the frequency was every 30 minutes and we decided on the 09:36. What I didn’t know was how slow this route is! It never leaves residential areas, once one place has ended the route planner spotted another road with houses along it and sent the bus down there. It never got a bit of open countryside where it could pick up speed for even a mile! Not only are urban areas naturally slow but stops are set at 100 metre intervals – I wonder if anyone can tell me how many stop there are on the entire Coastliner 700 route? We’d boarded at 09:36 and two and a half hours later had only reached Worthing! The bus was a new 2010 decker but the legroom was less than the worst a charter flight could offer and we were travelling long haul in bus terms! I couldn’t take any more so we terminated our journey at Worthing having guessed, correctly as I found out later, that Brighton was still an hour away. I didn’t dream that Emsworth to Worthing could be 2.5 hours and Brighton 3.5 hours! The main road route to Worthing is 28 miles, obviously the bus drove more than this, around 35 miles would be my guess. This makes the average speed around 14 mph! The whole route, Southsea to Brighton, takes nearly four and a half hours.
The route is shown here