Brighton Born and Bread

Monday, 18 March 2019

The Salt Room tasting menu


Who doesn't love a good Instagram competition? I often enter them not only for the chance to win but also to help promote Brighton businesses and other bloggers, and (FINALLY) I won. I was lucky enough to win a £100 voucher for two people to try the new Salt Room spring menu, specifically to try their 5-course tasting menu, so as the other fish lover in the family, mum and I headed down for a very sunny lunch date. 

Starters


For the first course, we had one of their starter options named Octopus. 
A dish of Octopus, white beans, bacon, seaweed and gremolata and it was delicious. The octopus was beautifully soft without the rubbery-ness you can often have. I loved the crunch of the spring onion and the gremolata sauce matched it all beautifully.


The second course was a monkfish dish. Usually served with almonds, grapes and sherry vinegar. I tend to steer away from a combination of fruit and savoury but I loved the sweetness of the grape with the sharp vinegar and the delicate monkfish. 
We had a different version due to my mum's nut allergy (which did take more than one attempt as it originally came out with the almonds) so had the croutons which added the crunch needed.

Mains 


For the main courses, we had one fish and one meat main. 
For the fish course, we had the Sussex stone bass which was served with kelp, roast onion, smoked garlic and preserved lemon. I loved the stone bass with the crispy skin and both of the sauces alongside were delicious. I wasn't a big fan of the onion but the crispy topping was a great additional texture. 


For the second main, and if I'm honest the point I started to get a bit too full, we had a lamb dish. It came alongside black garlic, basil, courgette and anchovy. My highlight on this course was definitely the pastry which was stuffed with a great mixture of meat and crunch. The courgette was a nice vegetable option and the sauces alongside were delicious; for me, the meat was a bit rich after all of the other courses being so delicate but a great option for non-fish eaters. 

Dessert


The dessert option for the tasting experience is normally a warm chocolate mousse which is served with a praline mousse, confit orange and a tonka bean ice cream. Again because of both mine and my mum's allergies the kitchen was kind enough to create another dessert for us instead. A take on a profiterole with a chocolate pastry, chocolate sauce and ice cream inside. 

A chocolate-heavy end to a delicious meal, mum and I really enjoyed it but struggled to finish it. 

Allergies

For allergies, it was a meal of two halves. The kitchen was very accommodating at making new dishes and altered versions for most courses throughout the experience. However, there was a dish brought out with almonds after we specified the allergy. We also chose to order cocktails (as an extra treat) and one came out filled with almonds. My main issue with that is the lack of transparency on the cocktail menu and it was just by chance that I spotted the almond on top before my mum began to drink!

Did you see my last post? I wrote up my thoughts on 
Brighton's Best; Top 20 restaurants 2019 


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Sunday, 10 March 2019

Brighton's Best; Top 20 Restaurants 2019


It's that time again, the time when the top 20 restaurants in Brighton are announced. If you're not familiar with THE LIST, this is the top restaurants in Brighton narrowed down by votes from a panel of 'local experts' such as food writers, chefs, restauranteurs and food bloggers. 

This year I was lucky enough to be selected to be on the panel again so I was excited to see how the list turned out and if any of my votes made it to the top 20. So here are the top 20 in order:


The Little Fish Market
Taking the top spot for a second year running, they are (frustratingly) one of the few on the list that I haven't made it to and chances are I am going to struggle to now! I have only heard amazing reviews about this place and with the chef also bagging the Best Chef award, it is definitely one to head to asap. 

Bincho Yakitori
This one absolutely had my vote. I have never reviewed Bincho on my blog but it is one of my go-to restaurants for special occasions and visiting family. A Japanese barbeque restaurant with a simple menu but stunning flavours, a well deserved second place!

Cin Cin 
Another of my favourite restaurants, Cin Cin is an Italian restaurant with beautiful handmade pasta and a specials board that rivals any others I've seen. A restaurant with two sites (central Brighton and Hove) with slightly different feels but the same amazing open-kitchen atmosphere and delicious food. 
I was lucky enough to go to the Hove restaurant opening earlier this year and even got the chance to interview their head chef Jamie Halsall a few months after. 

Etch
Another one on the list that I'm yet to visit but is high up on the list. The Hove restaurant has monthly changing tasting menus ranging from 5-9 courses alongside wine pairings which bagged them the 'Best wine list' award this year too. I'm a keen follower of both the restaurant and the head chef, and former Masterchef professionals winner, Steven Edwards. 

Chilli Pickle
In at number 5 is Chilli pickle, a central Brighton Indian brasserie with a great selection of dishes and thalis that cannot be rivalled. I actually went recently to their restaurant not only to try their thalis but also got a chance to head into their kitchen and find out exactly how they make their traditional naan. Read all about our visit here.

The Set 
I've been to The Set twice, both before and after the revamp, and loved both menus they had on offer. Set in the beautiful hotel, I love that the new menu champions local brands and has options from starters, mains and a set menu for two to share. I'm looking forward to heading back soon to try their new menu in full. 

64 Degrees
Perhaps one of the better-known restaurants in Brighton, it slips down to 7th position after regularly staying higher. Seating only 20 it's a smaller but high-end restaurant in central Brighton run by Michael Bremner, who was seen on 2017's Great British menu and making it all the way to the banquet. 

Gingerman 
The original 'Ginger' restaurant, opening in 1998 but remaining consistently one of the best restaurants in Brighton. It combines great food and personal service with a seasonal menu and limited seating, make sure to book ahead to this Brighton gem- and keep an eye out for the newest in the 'ginger' franchise coming soon.

I also loved their October best offering (a restaurant festival run by the same organisers) and was lucky enough to head down and try it last year. 

The Salt room
I am a big fan of The Salt room and I've been there for a few meals over the years. They, as expected, have some stunning fish dishes and their most recent offering of a taster menu was something that my mum and I thoroughly enjoyed; the octopus dish is something else! What I loved is that alongside the amazing fish dishes they also have some other stand out dishes for all dietery requirements. The taste of the pier pudding and afternoon tea dish are also a must try for those of you with a sweet tooth! 
Read my full review of their afternoon tea here


Petit Pois
I took Henry to this French restaurant in the Brighton laines and it was one of Henry's favourite meals we've had. In at number 10 Petit pois has a well priced but delicious menu with everything from classics like snails and frog's legs to pork cheek stews and duck breast with celeriac. I loved the relaxed feel of the restaurant when we went and it's definitely somewhere we will head back to soon. 

Chard
I, like so many other people, was very happy to see Chard make its way to the top 20. I haven't made it there myself, however I received a glowing review from an ever hard to impress but keen foodie (my grandmother) recently. They have just made the move to the beautfiful space above Igigi and I am sure Chard is going to go from strength to strength in the new space. I am excited to head down to try their brekafast or their weekly changing lunch menu.

Baby Bao
I love that this made it to the top 20 list! Baby Bao, which is based in The Pond pub in the North laines, has a menu of their signature Taiwanese steamed buns alongside small plates and sides. They have a great selection of dishes for meat eaters and vegetarians/vegans and you cannot go without trying their dessert bao; which is served with either black sesame ice cream or peanut butter ice cream and jam. 

Issac At
I am always surprised that Issac At doesn't place higher in these awards, but coming in at number 13 is this British restaurant championing local produce and set menus. I ate here a little while ago and tried their set menu and absolutely loved their food, and their presentation. I really enjoy an open kitchen and Issac At does this perfectly. 


Fourth and Church
A hove based combination of a deli, wine shop and tapas bar serving small plates varying from aubergine caponata to seared octopus and slow cooked octopus. I haven't been to Fourth and Church yet but it comes highly recommended and, whenever I walk past, the deli counter always looks appealing!

Goemon Ramen bar
I feel like I missed the memo on this one. I have walked past Goemon a couple of times and never thought to stop and try their menu. However, with this high a recommendation, I am sure Henry and I will be heading down to Preston St to try one of the ramens or highly recommend gyoza. 

Plateau
Plateau was definitely one of those restaurants that I didn't get to soon enough. A restaurant meets wine bar, I had always thought of it as somewhere to drink however, mum and I headed down to try their October best offering last year and loved it! With a set menu or sharing food and a focus on sustainability and season food, it's a great late lunch or date night spot to hit in the centre of town.
Read my full review of their Octoberbest offering here

Fatto A Mano
I just never have anything bad to say about Fatto a Mano. It's the perfect mix of interesting toppings and combinations without going too far! Most recently I have a new found love for their sides as well- you haven't visited Fatto A Mano without trying their rosemary salt fries! It's a favourite visit for Henry and I, I usually go for the capricciosa which has all of my favourite toppings but the specials are always one to look out for. 


Murmur
The sister seafront restaurant to 64 degress, this restaurant has more of a family feel than 64. I haven't actually been down yet but I hear it has great breakfast options so it'll definitely be somewhere to visit in the summer- or when spring really starts.

Market 
An Anglo-Spanish tapas and small plate restaurant with a Sunday roast offering. Henry and I have actually only been to Market once and we weren't blown away with the service, but after seeing it being recommended by a few people, and now with a spot in the top 20, I think it's time to give it another go. 

Riddle & Finns
As one of the first restaurants I reviewed on my blog, Riddle & Finns holds a special place in my heart. A champagne, oyster bar and restaurant with sites both in the iconic Brighton laines and along the beach, it's a great spot for any lover of seafood. They are also amazing at accommodating allergies which is a mark of great service to me. 
Read my original review here

Brighton's best restaurants are also the geniuses behind Octoberbest, the autumnal restaurant festival during which the top 20 restaurants offer a variety of deals and set menus throughout the month. Previously this has always been for the select 20, however this year (I am so excited) a few who have missed out on the top spot are also going to be a part of the festival too. 

21.Coal shed, 22.The Urchin, 23.Kujira, 24.Lucky Khao, 25.Bus stop, 26.The Gingerpig, 27.Polpo, 28.VIP Pizza, 29.Unithai and 30.Halisco

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Sunday, 24 February 2019

Brighton BB heads to bake off- The Big London Bake


Ready, set, bake! And bake we did...I have always wanted to step into the GBBO tent, it's one of my favourite programmes (obviously, as any normal person, I prefer the BBC version) and there is nothing more my mum and I love than to watch it together, or to watch it apart and text through every second. So when mum was gifted tickets to The Big London Bake I was so excited, and a little bit competitive!


The set up is simple. 90 minutes to complete a recipe that is provided and then flavour and decorate. You work in teams of two or three and there are around 16 people in the tent. For our competition we had to make a twist on a battenberg which included making the sponge, butter cream and a fruit jam to seal the layers. 



Once we had the recipe started next it was time to get creative. There was a corner full of things to make your bake unique; from flavourings like popcorn and rum, fruits, nuts and a range of cordials and chocolates. Initially, overwhelmed would be an understatement but mum and I quickly settled on a mojito-inspired cake. The cake flavours we went with were lime and mint for the green squares and coconut on the white layer. 

We made a raspberry jam for in between the layers and covered the cake in a rum and lime buttercream. The fondant covering the cake we did not flavour or colour but instead left white- because we're classy like that! 



To decorate mum and I worked together to make coloured fondant leaves and flowers and then added coconut shavings and white chocolate buttons. 

Then...it was time to be judged!



I loved the way that the whole thing was taken so seriously. Everyone put full effort into their cake and into their decoration and the judging was just as full on; with the 'head baker' tasting and commenting on each element of the cake whilst everyone else stood and watched. 

For ours, and this is just a classic humble brag, her comments were along the lines of:
"A light sponge", "Great buttercream" and my favourite "dare I say perfect!"

We had 5 minutes to mingle while she decided and then it was announced... WE WON!



Although the experience was a competition and time sensitive it was so much fun. From the bake-off tent which was fully kitted with individual fridges and all the equipment we needed, to the range of ingredients and 90's hits playing it was a great day. I can't recommend the experience enough and even if you don't win, you will get a great day and a delicious cake at the end of it!



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Monday, 4 February 2019

My Winnie the Pooh Honey cake


I love Disney, for most people who know me that will not come as a surprise. I also love food, again no surprises there! So when I can combine those two things then its a no brainer for me. 

With this month being Valentine's day, what better time to combine those two loves into something sweet to share! This recipe is, of course, inspired by the adorable Winnie The Pooh- I love the Winnie the Pooh story from the books to the old series and now the new film adaptations- so what else could I do as my first 'Disney' inspired food than a Winnie the Pooh classic; honey, and more specifically a honey cake. 

Ingredients

175g unsalted butter
75g light brown muscovado sugar
140g honey 
2 eggs- separated into yolk and whites
225g self-raising flour
zest of half a lemon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Method
  • Mix together the yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl, when fully combined add in your softened butter making sure to get out all of the lumps
  • Add in the honey, zest and the spices 
  • Sieve in the flour and mix well 
  • Mix in the whites, it will feel like the mix won't combine.. just keep going!
  • Spoon into medium size muffin tins 
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until browned. If you can't tell then use a sharp knife in the middle of the muffin and if it comes out clean they're done. 
Serve warm with a drizzle of honey on top to glaze

Which Disney or Non-Disney recipes would you like to see on the blog? I can't wait to try out some more of the classics; maybe the grey stuff from Beauty and the beast or some Princess and the frog Beignets? Let me know what you'd like to see in the comments

Did you see my last blog post? Dry-january may be over but there is always space for a good cocktail recipe that you can enjoy on the weekday without the headache the next day! Check out my Dry-January mocktail recipes post here

“‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘What’s the first thing you say to yourself?’
‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’
‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing,’ he said.” 





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Saturday, 26 January 2019

The dry-January mocktails


Full admission, I am not doing dry January. I’m doing dry weekday January but I’m too much of a committed friend to quite say goodbye to a merlot for a whole month! But I know there are a lot of people who are, so this one is for you.

Berry Sober 
This recipe makes two

2 lemons cut in half
75g fresh blackberries
50g icing sugar
Soda water

In a blender blitz together the berries, lemons and icing sugar
Pass all of the mixture through a sieve to avoid bits
Pour into your glass
Add soda water and stir
Taste test; if it's too sharp for you then add more icing sugar!

Garnish with a wedge of lemon on the side of the glass- because why not?!

Feeling like an elder-flower
This recipe is for one (because really, how many people are still going by this point?!)




1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1 tbsp elderflower cordial
Seeds and juice from 1/2 pomegranate 
1tbsp lime juice
250ml lemonade 
1 tsp edible glitter

Combine the juice, cordial and lime juice and stir
Add in your pomegranate and shake 
Sieve out your pomegranate seeds into your serving glass
Top with lemonade and stir in edible glitter 
Decorate with the other half of the pomegranate, just to make it look fancy!



So, you may not be doing dry January but are you doing veganuary or just trying to cut out meat? To celebrate pie day this year (yeah, it's a thing!) I decided to make a vegetarian pie for Henry and I and, inspired by a friends' baby shower buffet. 
I made my take on a greek pie! Find the full recipe for it here


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