REVISIT & REVIEW: Isaac At, Brighton

Isaac At Brighton menu

I visited Isaac At for the first time last March and was suitably impressed with the quality and detail of the meal. Since then they have undergone some internal refurbishing and the place is looking smart and tasteful. So what else has changed? The kitchen is bigger (yet still bijoux by most standards) and there are a couple of places at the pass in addition to the larger dining area. Interestingly the tables have been set away from the kitchen and service is now staggered by table rather than served all at once to the room. Also the announced introductions to the courses have been ditched, which I'm kind of thankful for. Despite being interesting if you were geeking out on the food, it disjointed the evening for diners that had to cull their conversations at each course.

I'm still impressed by the young team here (who seem even younger...or I'm looking older!) who diligently work away during service, weaving around each other seamlessly in the open kitchen. It's quite some performance and if you are interested in the the theatre of the food, I suggest you snag the seats at the pass like us.

Everything is sourced as local as possible. The mileage of every ingredient and wine is listed on the menu which is two fingers up to the majority of restaurant menus that use the caveat "locally sourced where possible". (I was once shown a picture of a delivery of one place that particularly bleats on about this, but how local Spanish honey and Heinz sauces, are I'm not sure*).

Breads at Isaac At Brighton

The food here is very special and the meal even more refined and polished since my last visit. It was impressive before but the whole experience just seems more confident. The breads have even been tweaked a bit - the little treacle and stout loaf had a deep, rich flavour and the caramelised onion brioche was light and sweet.

Brighton Blue cheese mousse at Isaac At Brighton

We stated with a feather-light Brighton Blue cheese mousse, pickled walnuts and pear. This was a great start. The textures from the mousse with the crisp pear slices and the contrast of the the sharp pickled walnuts made it a real treat to eat.

Scallops at Isaac At Brighton

The scallop dish was so pretty with the little pearls of kholrabi and the perfect circles of January King (cabbage to you and me). Scallops, despite being delicate, can take a strong hit of flavour and this came in crisp slices of pork belly. The only thing I wasn't sure about through the whole meal was the chestnut puree on this dish. The muddy, mellow flavour didn't really add anything to the plate other than a nod to the festive season.

Lamb belly at Isaac At Brighton

The lamb belly in the next dish had been cooked in a water bath for two days. The texture was so interesting; crisp, thin layers of lamb alternating between gelatinous, silky slithers of fat.


Standout was the venison though - by far the best venison I have had for a while, possibly ever. The loin was so succulent, sweet and tender. The pressed terrine was a nice thing to add for interest too. I bloody love beetroot and the "ketchup" they had made with it was softly spiced - so good with this meat. This menu was intended as a Christmas menu (but available into January) and this was a really elegant festive dish.

Cider sorbet in a scallop dish  at Isaac At Brighton

Can we take a moment for the mulled cider sorbet? Sat like a pearl in an oyster shell you had to admire it for a while, but it was as good as it looked. I think they used sumac (amazingly foraged in Brighton somewhere) and peppercorns and the mulled flavour was intense and fresh. I could easily have eaten a bucket of this.

Caramelised apples and oat clusters at Isaac At Brighton

We finished with caramelised apples, oat clusters and a very subtle cinnamon ice cream. There is still a trend for breakfast as dessert and the honey oat clusters certainly tipped it that way. Mornings would certainly be brighter with a buttered apple puree like this one over my porridge though.

The dinner was punctuated with a disc of fennel shortbread with burnt apple puree and an almond, burdock and sumac drizzle cake which was the perfect end to a fantastic meal. You can order the full tasting menu for £47pp or have a slightly streamlined set menu at £35pp which misses out one of the main courses and the sorbet. For what you get and the care and attention to the food, you can't argue with the prices at all - well worth it.

Interestingly they offer a juice pairing (£20) as well as the alcoholic kind (£29) which is something I don't think I've seen before. All juices are created in house and a great idea for drivers, tee totallers and pregnant (I had NO IDEA what the hell to drink when I was). Wines are a real celebration of local vineyards - Ridgeview (of course), Bolney, Sedlescombe, Davenport, Nyetimber...they're all here. The same goes for the rest of the drinks menu, including the spirits (bar the whisky) and even the bottled water.

Isaac At is one of the many gems we have in Brighton. The dining scene here is pushing harder and harder in terms of quality, variety and experimentation and it's great that the city is getting national recognition for it. For a really special meal, either as a treat or occasion, Isaac At should definitely be a strong consideration.

www.isaac-at.com
2 Gloucester Street
Brighton

I dined as a guest of Isaac At. Words and thoughts, as always are my own. *They will remain nameless. You know who you are!

REVIEW: Indian Summer, Brighton

Thali - Indian Summer brighton

Indian Summer have just celebrated their 15th anniversary in Brighton - no mean feat for a restaurant. And they were packed to the rafters when we visited too so the popularity certainly isn't waning. I must say I haven't visited for quite a while, and not since their move to bigger premises a few doors up from their old site. However they still champion the authentic, regional Indian cooking they always have done.

The restaurant is large, stripped back and modern, with gorgeous blue hues and huge photographic murals. It does feel a touch corporate in places and whilst I do like a bustling atmosphere in a restaurant, it was ear splittingly loud due to the size of the space and the hard surfaces. I had to move right next to Mr GF  (I don't mind, he's lovely) to hear him and bless our waitress who crouched down to bellow in our ears!

What I did like though was the menu length. Concise and well considered for variety, a short menu is often a sign of confidence. Plus is there anything more boring than starting a meal wading through pages of options?

bhel Puri - Indian Summer brighton

My starter of Bhel Puri looked unassuming but was utterly gorgeous. This street food snack had a base of of crunchy puffed rice and gram flour sticks topped with cubes of potato, onions, chickpeas and tomatoes. A tangy tamarind sauce and yogurt dressing brought it all together with fresh coriander and chilli. It's definitely an unusual one for Western palettes but so additively delicious, the textures are a lovely, lovely thing to eat. I did take a mid-eat shot to show you but half eaten food pictures..just no. Better to order one yourself.

onion and aubergine pakoda - Indian Summer brighton

The ever crowd pleasing Onion and Aubergine Pakoda arrived as a healthy portion. These deep fried fritters were crunchy with a real kick of heat and the aubergine gave them a pleasant, creamy consistency in the middle. I just adore the type of green coriander chutney they served with this too.

Tandoori meat platter - Indian Summer brighton

How can a carnivore not order the Tandoori Platter? It's impossible to resist! Indian lamb chops, done well as they were here, are irresistible and always the star of the dish. Also good was the coated, spiced chicken drumstick and soft sweet lamb seekh kebab. Even better were the scrapings of the iron pan mopped up with a roti - we didn't let those go to waste. The meats were served simply with mango chutney, salad and a cooling mint raita which is all that was needed.

Being gluttonous and indecisive in equal measure, it had to be the Indian Summer Thali for me. Plus thalis are so darn pretty! There was a portion of mutton curry, succulent and heady in cardamom and a portion of tender chicken in a sweet, deep coconut gravy. I love a soupy, comforting dahl and the selection of hot, sour pickle and fried potatoes with curry leaves and mustard seeds made this thali a real feast of flavour.

Mango creme brulee - Indian Summer brighton

I'm almost glad they went for a slightly Westernised dessert menu here. The typical Indian mithai sweets tend to set my teeth chattering with their insane sweetness. The mango creme brulee was not the smoothest I've ever had but enjoyable none the less. I liked the pool of mango puree at the bottom of the ramekin - much better there in the cool as hot mango is hideous. The small, spiced shortbread biscuit served with it was delicious, aromatic with ajwain, similar I suppose to caraway seed.

Indian bread and butter pudding - Indian Summer brighton

They had a decent take on the bread and butter pudding - God bless my husband and his never-ending pursuit of stodge - the additional spicing and finer "bread" layers made it one of the nicest I've tried.

The levels of spice and heat throughout the meal were pleasant, more layers of flavour and interest than gratuitous fire. They still offer an amuse and palette cleanser which I suppose is a nice touch but I've always found unnecessary and a bit fussy in between the courses of powerful and robust flavours.

Service was smart and professional throughout and timings were spot on. There was a pretty interesting wine-list with some highlights handily pulled out that were particularly well matched for spicy food.

Despite its popularity, and I'm sure plenty of loyal regulars, it's a shame that Indian Summer is sometimes overshadowed by the infamous Chilli Pickle who have really helped put Brighton dining on the map. Maybe it's because of their more showmanship dishes (God forbid they take that pork knuckle off the menu - they'll be riots in Jubilee Square) or their more vibrant aesthetic that elevates their profile, but Indian Summer is by no means a poor second cousin. Highly worth a visit if you haven't been before or for a while.

Indian Summer
70 East Street
Brighton
70 EAST STREET
I was invited to review Indian Summer. Words and thoughts, as always are my own. 



REVIEW: Señor Buddha, Fish Thursday Night, Brighton

scallops with peanut - Senor Buddha Brighton

After having my preconceptions of "fusion food" totally turned on its head after my last visit to Señor Buddha, I returned for the Fish Thursday Night for another taste of their Spanish Asian style tapas dishes. Fish Thursdays are held on the third Thursday of the month and include a set 5 course menu plus dessert for £35. It's a bargain.

Señor Buddha is a quirky restaurant; it's intimate and located just off Preston Circus. I can't quite put my finger on the environmental style but the quality of the food is outstanding. Their wines are also stunning and front of house extraordinaire, Chris Garcia Viera, is very knowledgeable about their carefully selected range.

cocnut and lychee oysters - Senor Buddha Brighton

We stared off simply with coconut and lychee oysters, with fresh and clean flavours to make the most of the oysters.

sea bass cerviche - Senor Buddha Brighton

Next up was the sea bass ceviche, perfectly cured in lime and palm sugar, the texture was perfect - even for people like me who are not overly keen on raw fish. This dish had it all; sweet, sour, heat and pretty as a picture on the plate to boot.

Perfectly cooked scallops (oh those caramelised edges!) were given the classic Asian twist with peanut sauce, foamed coconut and slight spice with a European element of a salsa verde.

seafood fiduea - Senor Buddha Brighton

Next up was a healthy portion of fiduea, a Catalan dish similar to paella but with delicate, tubed pasta instead of rice. Full of clams and meaty prawns, any seafood lover would be in heaven with this dish alone. The pasta was nicely toasted on the edges and the dish had a soft, sweet spice to it. It was certainly unlike anything I have ever come across before but will try and hunt it out again.

cod with cava and miso sauce - Senor Buddha Brighton

The final course was a large portion of cod, given a decadent makeover with an unmistakable cava and miso sauce, matching the sweetness of the fish beautifully. I loved the shaved, raw sugar snap peas too.  

torta di santiago, almond cake - Senor Buddha Brighton

We finished with a slice of Torta di Santiago, a meltingly soft almond cake which is exactly my sort of dessert. Not too sweet, but just enough of a hit to punctuate the meal and would be gorgeous with a good dessert wine too. 

As I said, the wines were all fabulous and matched to the food. I particularly enjoyed the Maetierra Atlantis wine we started out with and I rarely go for whites. Hondarrabi Zuri is not a grape variety I have come across before but coming from Basque Country it was perfect with the food and a great choice - I'm treating myself to a case of this one! Unlike me, I strongly recommend you leave the car at home and get stuck into the wines here as you are bound to discover new varieties and favourites. I was so, so sad to miss out on the others on the night.

All in all a pretty faultless meal full of interesting ideas and exciting flavours. This is definitely one for the keen foodie that wants to discover food outside of their comfort zone. Some of the food here really shouldn't work when you read it but by heck do they smash it in practice.

Senor Buddha may seem quite humble in its current guise but plans are afoot for bigger and better things. Certainly one to keep a very close eye on in Brighton.

Señor Buddha
9 Preston Rd
Brighton BN1 4QE 

I dined as a guest of Señor Buddha. Words and thoughts, as always, are my own. 

SHOPPING: Steamer Trading Christmas Edit

Range of Christmas cookware

My love for Streamer Trading is all year round, not just for Christmas and you'll often see me in the Brighton branch stroking and cooing over the equipment (sorry). When me and Mr GF were fresh faced and moved in together in our first teeny Brighton flat those many moons ago, we scrimped hard and bought a few quality kitchen bits here that we still have now. Steamer Trading certainly stocks some great quality brands that stand the test of time. They have expanded now across the country and I was delighted to see their cutest branch in Alfriston on my way to review Wingrove House recently. So pretty with its low ceilings and period features! 

Anyway, here is my Christmas edit for essentials, drinks, baking and gift from their range. 

Christmas food kit essentials


Carving knife set and baking tray

Sabatier Carving Set
Now the main event is always the turkey/goose and you DO NOT want to cock up the carving ceremony with blunt knives, let me tell you. You can spend silly money on knives and sometimes it's worth it and sometimes it's just kitchen gadget sport. Sabatier are a decent mid-priced option of decent weight and quality. I'll be happy to use these on the day and they'll last for years to come.


Circulon Roaster & Rack Set
A good tip is always check your  roasting tin size before the big day! This one from Circulon is big enough to accommodate most family sized birds. The rack is a good to have as wrestling a turkey out of the tin or trying to drain the juice for gravy is never fun. And because the meat is raised from the base of the pan, it won't stew in the juices at bottom which can be used for gorgeous gravy.


Ultimate gift
stainless steel pepper mill

Peugeot Paris USelect Mill
This is a brilliant gift for the foodie in your life. Now I thought Peugeout made cars but no, they made a darn fine pepper mill too and actually started out in 1840 as coffee mill makers. Bit of trivia there. Le Moulande Des Grands Chefs is a weighty, stainless steel beast and best of all has SIX grinding grades. This pleases me no end as I use a lot of freshly ground pepper but always irritated me seeing the big chunks in dishes. Love it and it will last years. 

£49.95


Drinks

drinks dispenser and novelty ice cube tray

Kilner Drinks 5L Barrel Dispenser
Although you can't use boiling liquid in this, I'm seriously eyeballing it for mulled goodness for the kitchen elves on Christmas day, who, lets face it, always get left out whilst everyone else gorges themselves, opens presents, snoozes in front of the TV. Yeah, Christmas was SO MUCH FUN until you become a real adult. Gah. Anyway, there are a few of these about but Kilner, of jar fame, is a super brand and this is functional, well built and ideal for the party season. Spiced punch anyone? 


ZOKU Naughty or Nice Ice Molds
A cheeky little touch to Christmas drinks. A silicone ice mould for easy release. I know which one I'd get.

£9.99 

Baking
red traditional mixing bowl and cookie cutters

Red Mason Cash Bowl
Can this scream Christmas any louder? It's so pretty and begs for a Christmas pudding or cake to be made in it. I remember growing up we had the original brown caneware versions of these traditional mixing bowls. They are still as fresh looking today as they were in the 1800s. 

29cm version £24.50 

Dexam Cookie Cutters
Christmas without spiced cookies? Unthinkable! These are great stocking fillers and pretty hung straight on the tree for foodie decorations. 

£1.75 

And erm....

Ps. if Santa does read my blog (obvs) then hint hint >> http://www.steamer.co.uk/homeware/outdoor/zio-ciro-wood-fired-pizza-oven.html

Thanks to Steamer Trading for sending over a range of products. Words and thoughts, as always, my own.

Christmas Party Menus Guide Brighton 2016

Graphic Foodie Brighton festive food guide

The annual eating season is upon us. Christmas is just a few weeks away (!) and time to get that Christmas dinner party booked. Here are some ideas for where to book your Christmas party in Brighton from traditional Christmas dinners with a twist to some alternative dining options. There are also a couple of ideas if you don't fancy sitting around a table at all but still want something delicious to do.

Great quality, traditional food with a twist


Busby and Wilds
The East Brighton super restaurant/pub that is consistently good. Think all the trimmings in a smart but relaxed environment and you have the perfect Christmas venue. On the menu are two bird roasts, slow braised beef shin and some enticing fish and vegetarian options too. B&W are also knocking everyone else out of the Christmas pudding game too. They are making Christmas puddings that Boho Gelato will make into ice-cream to serve with their steamed ginger puddings **DOUBLE PUDDING KLAXON**. There's also a chocolate mousse with pistachio genoise sponge and clementine jelly with my name on it too.

2 courses £24/3 courses £32
busbyandwilds.co.uk

the ginger pig - christmas food brighton
The Ginger Pig

The Gingerman Restaurants
Of course you'd have to include the Ginger group. All of the four sites will have their own menu with slightly different styles. The Gingerman is more formal, the Ginger Dog and Pig are relaxed with a refined edge and the Ginger Fox is an upmarket country pub. I'd eat happily in all of them. Also James Villiers, Head Chef from the Dog is currently is on Masterchef Professionals, raising their profile and cooking refined, quality food that you really want to eat. Which is what the Gingerman Group is all about.

Prices vary gingermanrestaurants.com


Something a little different



chilli pickle - christmas food brighton
Banquet at The Chilli Pickle

Chilli Pickle
For those really not interested in a Traditional Christmas dinner, then this is it. All the spice, all the warmth, all the vibrancy. The menu has some old festive favourites like the Goose Momos to some new dishes like the smoked salmon marinated in honey kasundi, coriander and spice, parsnip and curry leaf pakora. For mains the mutton curry with ginger, cardamom and cashew or pannier shaslick with glazed pumpkin sound a treat. Finish with a vanilla and buffalo milk kulfi or pineapple gingercake and coconut ice.

2 courses and nibbles £24.95/3 courses and nibbles £27.95
thechillipickle.com

Giggling Squid
Giggling Squid have a couple 3 course evening menus on offer with plenty of the fresh, vibrant Thai food we know and love them for. There is also a lunch option with a selection of Thai tapas sets too. Read my full review here where I try the Christmas evening options out. 

3 course menus £24.95 or £29.95. Lunchmenu £18.95.
gigglingsquid.com

silo - christmas food brighton
Slow cooked duck, parsnip purée, smoked walnuts, orange oil and coriander shoots - Silo Christmas 2015



Silo
I would love to try Silo's take on Christmas. As usual there is a herbivore and omnivore menu with dishes like Venison Tartar & Sprouts, Shitake Mushroom, Worksop Blue & Dumplings and Salted Pear, St James & Elderflower. Amazingly they do have Turkey on the menu, but it will be unlike anything you've had before with with January King (I had to Google that too) & Sourdough sauce.

£36/38 per menu
silobrighton.com

senor buddha - christmas food brighton
Senor Buddha

Senor Buddha
I really loved my visit to Senor Buddah despite my huge reservations and preconceptions of Asian Spanish fusion food - I was sold!! For Christmas they are offering 3 tapas dishes with half a bottle of wine and complimentary pintxos.

£25 set menu
senorbuddha.co.uk

The Manor
The cafe in the North Laine? Yes, that's the one. But set aside the scrambled eggs on toast as their evening Christmas menu is stunning. 5 courses, with meat or vegetarian options, that reads so well and has zero turkey content.  Instead expect smoked duck breast w/ spiced plum chutney & celeriac remoulade, Slow braised pigs cheeks, Guinness & Clementine mushrooms finishing with spiced poached pears.

At £35 pp, this is a steal.
themanorbrighton.co.uk

Rootcandi
Obviously no turkey on the menu here at this vegetarian restaurant, but I guarantee you won't miss it judging by my last visit. Instead, expect globe artichoke ravioli and braised fennel shank with parsnip purée, black truffle and a mushroom and thyme jus. I love the sound of their parsnip doughnuts with apple parsnip cider for dessert too! All mains are served with a ‘christmas tree’ of accompaniments on their bespoke stands.

5 courses £32.50
rootcandi.co.uk


Cheap and cheerful


burgers at Coggings and co - christmas food brighton
Christmas at Coggings & Co

Coggings & CoThis is a great for groups. In fact, I pointed Mr GF and his team there last year who had a great time. Start with sharing platters of dips, breads and nibbles then choose from a selection of their festive burgers. The pork & sage burger with wholegrain mustard mayo, pork & chestnut stuffing, apple sauce and salad would be for me. Desserts here have always been good and the choice doesn't disappoint from the Chocolate & cognac parfait to the crowd pleasing sticky toffee pudding.

£21.95 per person for 3 courses
coggingsandco.com

pizza at fatto a mano - christmas food brighton

Fatto a Mano
Brighton's fallen a bit in love with Fatto a Mano and embraced real Neapolitan pizza (on the whole - you Domino stuffed crusters are still out there I'm sure). They will have some festive specials as well as their regular menu. There is a lovely private room at their Hove branch which seats 14, perfect for an intimate, yet informal dinner party.

fattoamanopizza.com

Blow the budget

pork at little fish market - christmas food brighton
Little Fish Market

Little Fish Market
Probably my favourite Brighton restaurant. When I think of a treat meal, I think of this place. They aren't doing a Christmas menu as such, but their winter tasting menu uses seasonal ingredients and a visit to this restaurant will always feel like a celebration. Read about my last visit here. 

£50 for Five Courses
thelittlefishmarket.co.uk

Issac at
Have the team done particularly well this year and profits are up? Or are you just a lovely boss? The young team at IssacAt are still finalising their menu (perfectionists that they are) but they will be adding a festive twist to their set and tasting menus. The food is elegant, modern and exciting.

www.isaac-at.com


Not a meal

If you don't fancy a sit-down meal but still want something delicious, how about these for an alternative?

brighton food tours - christmas food brighton


Brighton Food Tour
I really enjoyed my food tour with this company, it's really good fun. They are hosting a Brighton Food & Drink Christmas Special Tour that will give you the chance to do a bit of Christmas shopping with festive tastings, tipples and exclusive discounts on Christmas food and presents. It's also a really fun thing to do as a group and meet some local producers and retailers along the way. You can then decamp to the nearest pub.

£40 per person including all food/drink tastings + exclusive discounts

Ten Green Bottles
This place is great for learning more about wine in an informal, stylish  setting. They do lots of different tasting events for groups large and small, and exclusive events for larger groups. I like the sound of their Cheese and Wine Challenge which includes a competitive element. Perfect for that office-angst that builds up over the year.  The challenge includes a glass of fizz on arrival, tasting samples of six wines, a cheese matching challenge, a selection of breads, olives and nuts and a bottle of fizz for the winning team.

£30 p/head, including prize (for larger groups, from 6 people to 30)
www.tengreenbottles.com

REVIEW: Christmas at the Giggling Squid, Brighton

lamb shank massaman curry - giggling squid brighton

Here I am back at Giggling Squid Brighton having only recently reviewed the standard menu. This time I'm tucking into the Christmas menu (yes my life is hard).

I'm glad to see they haven't tried to be clever with giving turkey and spouts a Thai twist but the menu is full of the fresh and vibrant food I remembered from my last visit.

There are two three-course evening menus to choose from, one at £24.95 and the other at £29.95 (includes a glass of fizz). I could easily have ordered from either really so dipped into both. (There is also a lunch option with Thai tapas sets for £18.95.)

prawn crackers - giggling squid brighton

As before we had drinks and a huge bowl of those awesome prawn crackers (they need to outsource these to pubs).

duck pancakes - giggling squid brighton

We started with the duck spring rolls which arrived in four huge pieces. They were filled with plenty of sweet shredded duck meat wrapped in a fine, crisp Thai pastry and served with a plum sauce. Utterly crowd pleasing, I don't know anyone that wouldn't enjoy these. Apart from vegans maybe.

pork dumplings - giggling squid brighton

The pork dumplings were beautifully presented (shout out to the kitchen porter for all the washing up they need to do). Texture wasn't my favourite being wrapped in some sort of pastry and steamed. A stronger lemongrass and more seasoning would have helped too.

The wine list here is great. I admit I chose my glass of Kung Fu Girl Riesling based on the name alone (wine connoisseur that I am) but there was a lot of love for it on my social feeds after I posted about it. And it wasn't just smart branding with crisp, fruity, aromatic and just sweet enough, it's perfect with Asian food.

The lamb shank for the main was incredible. Everyone loves a massaman curry and here it was everything I wanted it to be; fragrant, rich and sweetly spiced by star anise, cinnamon and nutmeg. The lamb shank was tender and fell off the bone, the vegetables still had some bite which I liked too. The nature of food at Giggling Squid is that you want to share so we had this in the middle of the table. Even after we finished we were still drinking spoonfuls of the leftover sauce. But I've been with my husband 18 years so we can behave like this in front of one another thankfully!

salt and pepper prawns - giggling squid brighton

Our other main was equally as good. Four plump, sweet and juicy King prawns, beautifully butterflied with a salt and pepper batter. Scattered on top was plenty of fresh chilli and spring onion. So simple yet so delicious.

boho gelato black sesame ice cream - giggling squid brighton

Desserts are the same on both menus - I rarely want chocolate after a meal so opted for just a scoop of the Black Sesame ice cream made by Brighton's Boho Gelato. This is such an odd ball flavour yet so good in practise. It's more delicate than you would imagine with just an after taste of that toasted sesame flavour. There are also other flavours like Rose Yogurt, Lemongrass & Basil and Banana & Honey too.

mango cake - giggling squid brighton

We also tried the Caramenlised Mango cake which could have been a little sweeter but was fine with the vanilla ice-cream. If you did like chocolate, the Feuillantine would definitely be a good option having seen it.

chrstmas menu - giggling squid brighton

Giggling Squid continues to be a relaxed and fun restaurant, perfect for small group bookings for Christmas. Fine dining has its place but so does a mid-market, good value and decent quality restaurant like this. The atmosphere is intimate and bustling and even Mr GF remarked that it had been a while since we've been out and had such a laugh at a restaurant.

Giggling Squid Brighton
11 Market St, Brighton BN1 1HH

(Also at)
Giggling Squid Hove
129 Church Rd, Hove BN3 2AE

I was invited to review Giggling Squid. Words and thoughts, as always, are my own.

OUT AND ABOUT: Beaujolais Nouveau Day at Hotel Du Vin, Brighton

Beaujolais Nouveau glasses with wine

When I think about Beaujolais Nouveau I imagine 80s yuppies, big phones and long expensed lunches. The bottles were probably flown in by Corncorde for goodness sake.

But here we are today and there's a resurgence of the Beaujolais Nouveau glory days, albeit with better clothing and more conveniently sized communication equipment.

What the hell is it? Well each year on the third Thursday of November, Beaujolais Nouveau wine is made available to enjoy to the public. Winemakers and wine shops are not allowed to sell it until this precise date, hence the celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau Day to make the occasion.

Beaujolais Nouveu is made at a frantic rate (bottled just 6-8 weeks after harvest) resulting in an alarmingly drinkable, fresh, light and fruity red wine. Its fast production means there the tannins are low and the colour is a gorgeous light red. There's no point in keeping it locked up in the cellar for 30 years and is best drunk soon after release. Hell, just drink it all on the day I say, I was totally sold and have already marked next year's date in the diary.

Food at Beaujolais Nouveau Day at Hotel Du Vin Brighton

I was a guest of Hotel Du Vin to celebrate what is the World's largest annual wine bash and were served the perfect meal to wash down our Beaujolias with; slabs of rich pate, beef bourguignon, coq au vin and a classic tart tartin. Sommelier Robin Roux also selected other complimentary wines for the meal, served family style on the large banqueting table, which was a nice touch.


It was also a good excuse to check out Hotel Du Vin Brighton's refresh of the dining areas. I was quite fond of the Disney French style decor before but the fresh new colours have elegantly modernised the area. The light mint and grey is trés Brighton and I look forward to dining there again soon. The last few years have seen a dip in quality in the restaurant sadly but I think change is in the air judging by the meal I had (and a cheeky plate of their octopus!) and it could well be worth a look again. I noticed the infamous cheese cart is still there!

Octopus and pasta at Hotel du Vin Brighton


Many thanks to Hotel Du Vin and Brighton Food Festival for hosting the event and for my invitation.