I’ve been putting off this review for what seems like aaaages now, mainly because I know I’m going to struggle for different adjectives to describe how outstanding this restaurant is.
It opened late last year with little to no fanfare and has had nothing but rave reviews from the National press including, The Guardian and Telegraph newspapers, as well as receiving a coveted spot in the Observer Food Monthly favourite restaurants list. Local press and bloggers are going wild for it too- in fact, I’ve yet to hear anything negative about the food at all.
It first registered on my radar when someone posted a photo of their menu on Instagram, and each and every one of the dishes sounded right up my street. I screenshotted and sent it to a foodie friend of mine who visited a few days later and then took me there the following week.
I’m slightly ashamed to say that I was a little bit worse for wear by the time we arrived for our extremely late lunch, and have very little memory of the end of the meal. I only got a few photos below which I’ve included at the end of this post. The only thing I have to say in my defence is, it was Christmas and the people I was dining with are a terrible influence on me. I’ve returned twice more since and it’s my most recent visit that I’ll be focusing on for the most part.
The offering changes depending on the seasonal and local produce available, often daily in fact, so they regularly tweet pictures of the menu, and I’ve yet to see one that hasn’t appealed.
It’s definitely small plate dining, but the food is so tasty, and filling, that I’d say three or four dishes would be ample, for people with a normal appetite. Those of you who are regulars round these parts I don’t fall into this category and we ordered all of the fish and meat options as well as two veg and two desserts, on the other occasions we ordered everything on the menu. Unless you are going to take this approach too (I can highly recommend it) then I’d say this place is more aimed at people who favour quality over quantity.
On all three occasions I’ve visited I’ve been lucky enough to get a seat at the pass so was able to watch Michael Bremner (owner and head chef) and his team work their magic in a seamless fashion. Their mantra is ‘prep hard, cater easy’, and after watching them churn out dish after dish of consistently perfect food, it looks like it’s a pretty good rule to work to.
|Mackerel, Waldorf, ceviche,|
I bloody love ceviche, and mackerel, so this was a little bit of me. The fish was ‘just off the boat’ fresh and the accompanying flavours and textures complemented it perfectly.
|Scallops, miso, lemon grass, rocket|
The scallops were sensational, firm, sweet and unbelievably fresh- definitely the fishy highlight for me. Check out this video of a scallop swimming, it’s adorable!
|Plaice, heritage tomato, tapenade|
This for me was the least remarkable of all of the dishes- don’t get me wrong, it was very nice indeed, it just didn’t have the pzazz of some of the other dishes. I really hate ‘smears’ on plates too, does anyone other than chefs like them?!
|Wild bass, spring onion, oyster, maris peer|
The bass, as you can see is cooked to crispy perfection as were the potatoes, I’d never tried Maris peers before and I can highly recommend them. Memory fails me as to what the sauce was (bad blogger) but I’m sure it was fabulous.
|Cauliflower, shallot, pomegranate|
Pureed and baked cauliflower is topped with a crisp shallot bhaji and juicy pomegranate seeds. An absolute winner of a veg dish and like nothing I’ve ever had before- brilliant, just brilliant.
|Bone marrow, whelks, garlic|
I learnt a new phrase the other day which sums up this dish perfectly- food boner . The whelks were tender and buttery and the bone marrow unctuous and rich, definitely one of the highlights of the meal for me.
|Chicken wings, blue cheese, kimchi|
I flippin’ love a chicken wing and often make them at home these spicy little numbers didn’t disappoint. I’m not really a fan of blue cheese in any other context than this, it’s the perfect accompaniment for it and the dehydrated cabbage on the side adds yet another delicious dimension.
|Pork, celeriac, red cabbage, almond|
My favourite thing about this was the red cabbage puree, spiky and tart it actually tasted really plummy and was the perfect bed fellow for the meltingly tender pork. I’m sure some people would have concerns about eating pork served this pink, but go with it, it was some of the best I’ve tasted.
|Short rib, kale, mash, onions|
This fell away from the bone with the merest nudge of a fork and was absolutely superb. The mash was completely smooth and luxuriously creamy- the very best way in my opinion.
|Textures of chocolate and rum bears|
Textures of chocolate seem to be an almost permanent fixture on the dessert menu, but slightly different every time. Dust, mousse, ganache, truffle and a cup of hot chocolate featured on this occasion and it was absoloutely perfect. The rum bears are deliciously boozy and the sherbet they’re served with is mind blowingly sharp.
|Highlights from my other visits…
I really am lost for more derivitives of the word amazing so I won’t summarise each dish below, but my favourites were the salmon pastrami, oysters, roast meat platter and textures of chocolate… that chocolate and praline- oh my god.
The house egg features on nearly every menu, and is definitely worth a mention too, cooked at 64 degrees in a water bath, it’s actually the venue’s namesake. Definitely go for one of these if you’re into eggs- it’ll be the tastiest and silkiest you’ll ever eat.
|Salmon pastrami, pickles, mustard|
|Partridge, pear, celeriac, sprouts|
|Sunday roast- all of the meats|
|Poached oysters, salsify, creme fraiche|
|Haddock, house egg, cullen skink, spinach|
|Potato gnodel, cabbage, smoked butter|
|Oats, whiskey, honey|
|Sticky toffee pudding|
|Textures of chocolate|
So yeah, as you can probably tell, this place rocks my world. My Mum rang the other day to ask me for a ‘hip hop and happening place for a couple of rock ‘n’ roll old birds can go for lunch’- I didn’t think twice about recommending it to her. She and her friend loved it and she’s already visited again.
On the basis of the size of the space (it seats 27) I wouldn’t recommend it to claustrophobics, fatties or anyone wanting to bring in a pushchair/screaming child- obviously the restaurant doesn’t discriminate on these grounds, but seriously, it would be highly anti social of you.
Have you been to 64 degrees? Is it on your to-do list? Comment below or tweet me, I’d love to hear what you think.
53 Meeting House Ln, Brighton BN1 1HB Tel: 01273 770115