I’ve been putting this review off for a while now, for a few reasons. The main one being that I have very mixed feelings when it comes to writing negative reviews about Indy restaurants, especially ones with brand values in which I believe. Despite what a lot of people think, I don’t want to offend, or rather, I am very happy to offend, but only with good reason…
This was my third experience of H.en, and I’m sorry to say that after its initial success of the launch event, it totally fell apart on my subsequent visits. I gave them the benefit of the doubt after the total disaster that was my second meal there, putting it down to teething problems, what we ate was on the house* to make up for it, and it was ok, but for me, overall, it’s just missing the mark somehow.
I talked about the interior in my write up of the launch but it hasn’t changed much, it’s still the same, I still like it. I particularly like the seat covers made of recycled jeans, they’re a nice touch, like something you’d see at Silo on Gardener Street.
The pink lemonade wasn’t bad, just a bit too watery, not tart enough, but by no means unpleasant. The iced coffee was fine and I love a pretty pattern on a coffee top.
1/4 grilled chicken with fries and side salad- £9.95
I have extremely mixed feelings about the fact that, had we have been paying, that minute spoonful of salad would’ve cost three quid… I know everyone has to turn a profit, but that is seriously pushing it. I didn’t try one of the standard fries, but I have a deep seated hatred for them being served in (miniature) cups, more and more places are doing it, and it’s annoying. This was my friend’s and she said it all tasted good but the fries were only warm.
1/2 fried chicken with hallumi and sweet potato fries- £13.05
What was good about it? The batter on the 1/2 fried chicken tasted great (even if it was lukewarm) and the meat inside was as juicy and tender as one could hope for- I would definitely plump for this over the grilled, but then I am an absolute sucker for fried so I suppose it’s down to preference. It cost £7.45.
What was wrong with it? Dry, distressed and discoloured sweet potato fries were the lowest point of the meal at £2.65, and £2.95 for that halloumi that looked like someone had taken a nibble out of- Are you mad?!
These sauce bottles pretty much sum up my feelings on Hen; heart’s in the right place but careless and a bit too rough around the edges for somewhere that’s only been open just over 6 months. however, if you look past the abysmal presentation, the contents of the bottles is actually quite good (if a bit samey), and made on the premises to boot- all the more reason to display with pride, I thought.
Waffles with berry compote- £5.45
I had one of these on a previous visit, it was ok…. but you can definitely taste the fact that it was gluten/sugar/fun free… I have similar feelings about sweets with no artificial anything in, you aren’t eating them for their nutritional value, are you?! But ideal for those with dietary restrictions I suppose.
Coffee & walnut cake, apparently…
Possibly one of the most joyless slices of cakes I’ve had in my life. Where’s the trimmings, what’s with the smallest little smear of frosting ever? Come ON guys, where’s the love?! I ate it all, but I certainly wouldn’t order it again, or recommend you do either. I don’t know how much it was, too much, I’m sure.
#toiletcam- all present and correct
Would I recommend? It certainly wouldn’t be in a top 10 places in Brighton I would recommend, probably not even top 10 in North Laine, but if you want a fried chicken fix that is ethical to boot, then yeah go for it. I’d choose it over Nandos, but if I’m honest, that’s to do with my preference for supporting local, rather than the offering, which is, much of a muchness, in my opinion.
*** FRIED CHICKEN UPDATE***
Fried chicken, fries and slaw- £10
I’ve only gone and found, the best fried chicken ever, possibly anywhere! It’s from a bit of a random, out of the way pub called The Park View. Three ginormous pieces of chicken in a batter so delicious and crisp it would bring The KFC colonel (and the owners at Hen) to tears with jealousy. I’m going back on Tuesday to do their pub quiz, to order myself some more and ask them if it’s free range or not. I’m hoping it wasn’t beginners luck, cos if not, I have found my new regular. I’ll report back.
Have you been to H.en? Where is your favourite place to eat fried chicken in Brighton or Hove? Please do comment below or hit me up on any of my social media channels (links below).