Brighton seems to be a hub of cooking talent at the moment, with the top restaurants bidding for diners attention with increasing creativity. One of the hottest food events in town has been the Brighton Food & Drink Festival's FoodLab event; where top local chefs worked with some of the area's best producers to create spectacular one off dishes. Understandably, it's always sold out.
This year, for the new Brighton Wine Week, it was the turn of the young chefs (under 26) to showcase their talent in the FoodLab. Hosted at Etch, which was perfect, it made for one of the best lunches I've had in a while.
Seeing as it's a one-off, this isn't a review; just a showcase of the event and the excellent dishes we were treated to. But if you can, definitely look this event up in the next festival in Autumn (6th-16th September) which seems to be growing year on year, with a number of additional side events like this. Book early!
Before that though is Brighton Cocktail Week - grab a £10 wristband then go on a crawl of over 30 bars and restaurants in the city who'll be offering a BCW cocktail for £5 to wristband holders. There are also plenty of food matching and masterclasses on that week too - see the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival site for more details. The cocktail fusion collaboration at La Choza, Boho Gelato frozen dinner and historical feast and cocktails inspired by female food writers of the 20s and 30s all look particularly awesome.
Isobel Humbey | The Salt Room X Red Roaster
Isobel set the bar high with pork belly, octopus and blood orange with Red Roaster coffee and black pudding crumb served with a shot of coffee bean butter washed vodka.
Sam Watson | Ginger Fox X Ridgeview
Probably dish of the day for me was this crab tortellini, braised fennel and mussel and Ridgeview Chardonnay broth, perfect with the gentle acidity of the accompanying glass of Ridgeview Bloomsbury.
Eliott Buchet | Jeremy’s Restaurant X Bedlam Brewery
This was very clever, using all the elements of beer production from Bedlam Brewery. Braised pig cheek, salt baked yellow beetroot with malt, red beetroot fermented with yeast, spherical beer pearls and a malt tuille.
Jackson Heron | 64 Degrees X Trenchmore Farm
It was very ballsy to serve something that looks so low-key and based on a kebab shop sarnie in this setting, but using sublime Sussex-wagyu cross beef from Trenchmore Farm, it hit the taste mark square on.
George Thomas | Issac At X La Cave A Fromage
Sour apple gel, candied walnuts and poached apple with a goat's cheese ice-cream proves that classic flavours are hard to beat.
Michael Notman-Watt | 64 Degrees X Blackdown Spirits
Not much to look at, but I loved the boozy ice-cream sandwich served with a gently spiced rhubarb lassi in this gin & juice concept dish.
George Boarer | Etch X Wobblegate
An ideal end to the meal was this fresh jelly and panna cotta using Wobblegate's Bramley juice and a brilliant Cox and Bramley sorbet.
Shout out to Seb Cole from Boho Gelato who made the most delicious apple and liquorice sorbet cocktail to kick the dinner off - you know when a drink ends and you're sad (in a good way, not a wino way)...yeah, that.