There’s been so much food news in town recently, it could turn a bird’s head. There’s the latest wins from Gull favourites Bincho Yakitori, Palmito and Burnt Orange scooping the top three at the Brighton’s Best Awards, and new collaborations all over town. Isaac at Isaac at has teamed up with former head chef at Terre a Terre, Dave Marrow at Embers on Meeting House Lane. Just up the road, the super talented Aaron Dalton who’s been turning his own house into Four Restaurant, has been lending a hand at Furna. And Dan Kenny at The Set has brought Bangkok to Brighton at Kab, without compromising his signature commitment to home grown ingredients. Even his wasabi comes from Hampshire and Dorset.
For more titbits, the Gull will be cocking her head to listen in to the Brighton Whistler podcast chats with Duncan Ray at The Little Fish Market and Maddy Riches at Dilsk, the new restaurant at Drakes. Beady eyed foodies will have spotted Maddy as front of house manager at Murmur, and with former 64 degrees chef, Tom Stephens, she’ll be sourcing from ethical growers & local producers, in and around East Sussex. A big whistle to them for supporting our free roaming pals across the county.
And as the weather brightens, your gull has been stretching her wings and heading for the hills to check in on her pasture-fed friends and find the best morcels out of town. The Ram in the unspeakably picture-book pretty village of Firle is almost on the seagull flight path from the to Seven Sisters, and a popular spot for holidaying birds. Its courtyard dining space is a particular favourite for a weekend lunch of lamb or beef from Place Farm who once grazed in the grounds of next door’s Firle Place. The game on the menu all comes from Firle Estate and most of its fish is from the mighty fine Brighton and Newhaven Fish in Shoreham.
Next, it’s a straight thermal to The Crabtree in West Sussex, as the crow flies, anyway, with a quick dive into a memory in Prince Albert Street. Great Uncle Gull still tells stories of the hippy birds who perched around Brighton’s trailblazing vegetarian, Food for Friends back in the nineties. Word had reached them that Simon Hope from the properly pioneering Food For Thought in Covent Garden was bringing some of its spirit to Brighton, and cool-hunters that they were, they hung around the bins to catch the first wave. And they were right; as vegetarians swooped in, it wasn’t long before two of its chefs, Amanda Powley and Philip Taylor would cross the road and set up their own groovy veggie, Terre a Terre and crown this fine city (then town) the best vegetarian in the UK.
Twenty years on, what should your bird spot, but Simon Hope himself, now lord of The Crabtree near Bolney, tucking into what looks rather than a steak. But relax; this is from Trenchmore Farm where Brighton’s best restaurateurs do their shopping, where the cows are pasture fed and get to snack on the mulch of the apple leftovers from its Silly Moo cider and sleep on straw from home-grown wheat. Vegetarians may prefer the goats cheese with Piccalilli, but your Gull spotted a rather juicy leftover tempura oyster to suck on as she caught the evening thermal back to Brighton. And as the sun set over the West Pier, not for the first time she pondered of what a very lucky Gull she is too.