It’s always nice to start the year on a high, so it’s fitting that this is my first review of the year. An evening with the Chefs from two of the most talked about restaurants in Brighton, was always set to be a highlight of my year, food-wise, and I’m so happy I got to be a part of it.
From what I gather this collaboration of 2014 Brighton restaurant scene powerhouses, sold out quickly, much to my (initial) disappointment, as I’d been thinking of booking a ticket. As regular readers know, I’ve eaten at both places in the last 6 months and loved them both, so when I got a DM from the lovely Doug at Silo inviting me as their guest, an excited little squeal may have escaped from my mouth- I was in there like swimwear.
The day of my visit, I started my recent bout of illness, I was gutted. I’ll spare you the details as I’m sure a lot of you will have just had your Christmas ruined by it and won’t want to be reminded. I felt rough but I would’ve had to have been struck down with some sort of plague to have been able to bring myself to miss it (I’m not kidding, FOMO is a massive thing for me when it comes to food). But I manned up, wrapped up and headed down there, for what I was sure what was going to be an extremely memorable evening.
As I said in my recent review of Silo, I absolutely love the space, and the layout. I was on a table right in the corner to the side of the kitchen- ideal as we had a great view of the teams, from both restaurants, at work. I was also delighted to be sitting with my pal Fran as well as lovely food writer, Andy Lynes, plus a couple of others.
The thing I love about both of these restaurants, particularly 64 degrees, is their ability to do serious stuff with ingredients, whilst allowing them to retain their essence. One of my (many) pet hates is food which has been interfered with to the point of molestation, there was not a bit of that to been seen here that night.
I think some people might balk at the £45 price tag (incl one free cocktail), but I’ve seen supper clubs/pop ups locally, charging well in excess of this, for menus that hold zero appeal for me. I personally think in this instance, for the calibre of chefs and six courses- it’s a really good price and I wouldn’t hesitate to pay it myself.
I’m going to get straight to the point, and say I wasn’t a fan of this course. It’s the only real negative I have to say about the entire experience. I wanted to like it, really and truly I did, I just didn’t. When I first heard that a zero waste restaurant was coming to Brighton, this was exactly the sort of stuff I imagined them to sell… and was delighted to discover that they didn’t (on the every day menu).
I didn’t like the name, I found it off-putting, even more so when it was served on the plate made from recycled plastic bags.
The hoisin sauce tasted like ketchup, nice, homemade ketchup but ketchup none the less and didn’t work with anything on the plate really. The ceviche was served in crispy fish skins (another nod to Silo’s ‘nose to tail’ ethos)- I didn’t not enjoy it, I just wasn’t crazy about it.
The duck liver pate was never going to be a winner with me as one of my least favourite things in the world, is smooth, meat, paté- bleurgh. I eat it every time it’s served to me, to try and force myself to like it (I did this with mushrooms and olives and now LOVE them) but so far, no one has managed to change my mind. I did enjoy the strips of fried duck skins that accompanied it though. I don’t really have anything to say about the fish in batter but I really loved the kimchi sauce that I dipped it in- definite 64 degrees influence there methinks.
That’s it for the negativity, I’m not afraid to admit I didn’t take any pleasure in writing that as I enjoyed the whole evening so much that I hate to lead with negativity. So that’s it. Line drawn.
|Silo house bread with smoked butte|
That butter was an OCD person’s nightmare, but you forget all about it once you’ve spread it on Silo’s glorious bread. Loved it last time, loved it this time and was over the moon that they’d flavoured their unsalted (churned on the premises) butter with smoked rapeseed oil- it was fragrant and delicious. I could’ve eaten it with a spoon… I know, I’m rank.
|Catchbox cod, Andy’s sea veg, black quinoa, cauliflower|
This felt to me like a Silo influenced course. It was an amalgamation of all my favourite aspects of the dishes from my previous visit. The translucent fish was accompanied by cauliflower two ways; a velvety puree as well as thinly sliced and crispy, both of which married well with the delicate cod. The quinoa added a nice crunch as well.
Apologies for the lame picture, it doesn’t do it justice at all.
|Secretts Farm Jerusalem artichoke, blue goats cheese|
The artichokes had the consistency of hassle back potatoes, but with a rich, earthier flavour. I’m not a huge lover of blue cheese, but along with the pickled red cabbage on the side, it created a perfect bridge between the ruggedness of the artichokes and the tang of the cabbage. I would love this as a side to a bleeding steak. Yum.
|Brooklands Farm duck, Secretts Farm carrot and kale|
I often struggle with duck dishes in restaurants as so many places seem unable to get it just right. Definitely not the case in this instance. The kale was like crispy seaweed, texture wise, and went really well with the tender duck fillet and silky carrot pureé. One of the people at my table said it was the best duck dish they’d ever eaten.
|Whey, cocao mass and rose petals|
This was nice, I’m not sure what I was expecting really but the only thing I can think to liken it to, is lemon sorbet. Loved the rose petals but could’ve done without the cocao to be honest. I like the taste and it did add a nice element of texture to the otherwise melt in the mouth dessert, but I hated the way the nibs got stuck in my teeth. Lovely palate cleanser though.
|Apple, pine, yoghurt|
This also felt like a 64 degrees dish. The parfait, delicious as it was, had no hint of the promised pine flavouring, that I could detect, anyway. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, I did, immensely. It slipped down a treat with the very slightly sour yoghurt and caramel sauce, which was poured over it at the table by Doug himself. I don’t really have much to say about the cereal topping, not really my bag usually, but in this instance the added crunch was by no means unwelcome.
In summary; Interesting menu, Memorable food, fantastic atmosphere, attentive service and great value for money. A quick browse through my Twitter timeline told me that an enjoyable evening had been had by all. It totally lived up to my, not unnecessarily, high expectations.
So there you have it, my final supper club review of 2014, I hope to bring you loads more in 2015, as I’ve got a funny feeling that this current trend isn’t going anywhere for a while.
Are you a fan of supper clubs? Have you been to 64 degrees or Silo? Are you a fan too?Comment below or tweet me x
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