REVIEW: Med 22Black, Brighton


I return to one of my Brighton Favourites, Med., who have undergone a bit of a reinvention and relaunched as Med 22Black.

Along with a lick of darker paint and a moodier vibe, the small plate menu has been updated to include more of the flavours and style from their well received Espina pop up at The Golden Pineapple bar in Ship Street and a stronger focus on the drinks menu.

You'll still find the sunny, Mediterranean vibes everyone has come to love, but with more prominent Asian influences and more edgy pairings, with some junk food inspo thrown in for good measure. Sounds like a fusion disaster, but somehow it works, and it works very well.

Occasionally the experimentation and drive for innovation is pushed a bit too far or misplaced; the impressive bone marrow Yorkshire pudding, packed full of succulent beef and sat on a green pond of East End Liqour, utterly delicious in itself had no place on the menu here (sorry chef Will).

The Marmite and furikake dressing on the hispi cabbage was a wallop of intense saltiness that was a touch too much. The delicate beauty of artichokes were sadly engulfed in the flavours of refried bean and tomato salsa. But we let them off, because without pushing the boundaries, you can't have the creative cooking that results in dishes like tuna crudo, uplifted with kumquat and avocado. Or silky, umami rich hoi sin glazed aubergine nor the tomato and blood orange salad with olive oil ponzu. And dammit, the cheeseburger tartare, something that goes against everything I thought I believed in in food, is a plate licking must order with it's tangy Maccy D sauce nailed.

But respect to classic flavours are still honoured here. I challenge you to find a better taramasalata in town - velvety and decadent. Perfect for the prawn crackers served with it and better with their delicious airy bread. I loved seeing a classic gnoccho fritto from the Emilia Romagna region, exactly how you'd find them there, pillow light and nestled simply next to cured meat. And fat juicy prawns were rightly left in the safe hands of Basque cooking and a piquant pil pil sauce.

Don't miss the drinks, impossible to choose from the cocktail list from the seasonal serves to the house classics. My sherry Monocle aperitif was the perfect way to kick off dinner. Leave the car at home and dive into the wine list too, carefully selected but extensive with some interesting natural and low intervention wines. We chose an orange wine, Casa Balaguer Tragolargo Blanco, crisp and floral with a pleasant fizzy farmy funk expected from the naturals.

Polishing off the feast, a giggly rhubarb trifle topped with smile making sprinkles. If you can't have fun with dessert, where can you?

As always, they have created food I want to eat, and even food I didn't know I wanted to eat. The menu is almost irrelevant because to me it doesn't matter, I'd happily try everything. Come with a group, sample it all.

Med. I loved you, Med 22Black, I love you more.



 



 
I dined as a guest of Med 22Black. Words and thoughts, as always, my own.