Category Archives: Gull About Town

Gull About Town – December 2022

The skies are clearing as we head out of the chaos of an autumn that had us gulls wondering about the very future of the city’s rich pickings, and we’re gliding into a crisp midwinter of surprisingly fresh and vibrant food stories. Who’d have thought that we’d be talking new restaurants in a cost of living crisis, but there’s exciting news ahead.

Your gull has been pecking at the windows of what was her favourite nibble, Oki-Nami on New Road to try to spot Brighton’s superstar chef, Dave Mothersill. Furna, his tasting menu only restaurant on the site will be open by the time your Whistler hits the streets and has been met with cries of delight in the scavenger community. 

Great uncle Gulbert still tells the chicks nest-time stories of the stubbly-chinned chef who would leave his delicious leftovers at the back of Terre a Terre, The Salt Room, The Coal Shed, The Ginger Pig and The Gingerman for his favourite gull with a smile and a wink. He could spot a bird with good taste.  And, shh, but word has it that he’s the most likely chef to get the city’s elusive first Michelin star. 

And from that Salt Room stable, Tutto (pictured) has finally opened after a false start back in September. Early pecking has this gull cocking her head, but she’ll be sticking with the veggie leftovers until she can be sure where the meat comes from.

Squawking of new openings, your gull can report that the highly popular Curry Leaf chef, Kanthi Thamma and his pal from his Chilli Pickle days, Diego Ricaurte have settled into their new Latin American meets India restaurant, Palmito. Since picking at the pork chicharron with hominy corn and salsa, she’s even ditched the idea of spreading her wings and heading to Mexico for the winter. 

As the nights draw in and the Christmas lights begin to line the streets of Brighton, your gull hits a thermal to look down on the bird life in this pretty city. The chicks are tottering down West Street, pecking at the tacos strewn across the pavements ahead of their big night out. A team of eco-gulls are clearing the beach after an unseasonably warm day has attracted a swarm of tourists. And Great Uncle Gulbert struts out of the back of Bincho Yakitori, stuffed to the gills with his favourite pickings in town. Dave Mothersill was right about him. He does have great taste.

Gull About Town: August

The Gull has been flying too close to the glare of Brighton’s best hot spots this summer, and spotted some shiny new openings. The cackle about the latest Ivy Asia on Ship Street was so loud that your Gull had to swoop down for a better look. She was dazzled by the green onyx floors and lush Chinese fabrics, that wow approach to décor and colours that pop along with the champagne and have become the signature of The Ivy group.  

But regular readers will know that this bird has an eagle eye for any glitter that is not gold, and is very particular about knowing the source of the meat she eats. No self repecting Gull is going to eat anything other than a happy pig or carefree cow. 

She’s asked for the sourcing plicy at this culinary stable – The Ivy, Cote and Bills, as well as the Soho House group which has recently opened its Beach House in Madeira Drive – and despite pecking away for answers, she’s still waiting. And until she knows, she’s keeping her beak shut. 

Perhaps the cackle was actually for Pizza Pilgrims, the latest foodie landing, also in Ship Street. Brothers, Thom and James Elliot’s passion for proper dough had them dropping their careers in advertising and TV back in the 20teens to bring a little Naples to London, planet friendly style.  The Gull was brought up on tales of high flyers, and remembers fondly her nest-time story about Great Uncle Giovanni and the two young men who flew to Naples and drove back to London in a tuk tuk on a pizza pilgrimage to do the right thing for the planet. Their charcuterie comes from Cobble Lane Cured Farm in London where our animal friends have had the best of lives, they minimise waste throughout the food system and grow their basil hydroponically with Harvest London, saving 350,000 food miles a year. They even use wild farmed flour to fix the nitrogen into the soil and produce super tasty, gut and planet friendly flour for their pizza dough.  Their sustainable story has become a favourite among gulls in London, Oxford and now Brighton, where the cool young birds are already gathering to borrow a little eco-Italian style before a night on the tiles.

Kenny Tutt’s another chef who’s doing the right thing by the planet, and you can ensure a properly sourced feed anywhere he pops up. The MasterChef 2018 winner hops about more than your regular gull on a hot tin roof and has just enjoyed an Ox Block residency at the Lord Nelson pub in Trafalgar Street.  If you missed his signature Sussex 40-day aged sirloin steak, you can pop along to Shelter Hall on the beach, and he’ll be at the first Pub in the Park at Preston Park from 16-18 September

There’s a lot of cawing among the gullerati about the new restaurant putting the final touches at Tutto, the latest restaurant from the team behind Burnt Orange, The Salt Room and The Coal Shed. We gulls believe you can never have too many Italian leftovers in Brighton’s bins, and Tutto’s promise of linguine alle vongole and duck ragu has the Gull Massive lining up on top of this airy banking hall which opens on the edge of the North Laine this month.  

Just down the road on Baker Street, a curious aroma of coal-cooked Japanese had your Gull cocking her head for a better sniff. Hitting a thermal, she zoomed along to Bonsai Plant Kitchen for a peck at the small plates and bao burgers, and even had a little groove to the Japanese techno thrilling the cool students in this new quarter of Univille.

But at the end of a balmy evening, why bother with anything other than fish?  As the Gull headed home to West Hill, she couldn’t resist another thermal lift to Church Road in Hove. This is where the more discerning gulls are already forming an orderly queue at the new Catch and Grill where fresh seafood platters and daily catch specials are proper Gull-centric fare.  Sufficiently sated, it was time for a swift half at local favourite, The Farm Tavern. Caw, what a difference! The team behind BRAVO 2022 Best Local winner, The Geese has teamed up with Brighton’s best wine cellar, Butler’s on the drinks menu to bring an excellent night to the Brighton/Hove border.  More news to come!

As your Gull perched on her nest, she looked down over Brighton and Hove and nodded in approval at the rich pickings the city has to offer. Head under wing, she drifted off to the sound of tourism pinging the tills of this plucky little place.

Gull About Town: April

As Brighton throws opens its café doors and puts its tables on the streets, we scavengers couldn’t be happier for spring to hit the city streets. Swooping and pecking at the pickings on the pavement, there’s more than enough to go around after a hard winter following an impossible Lockdown.

And there’s a hint of the Middle East in the air as the Gull takes to the skies this month, with the smell of lamb kebab and Yemeni chicken wafting up from Western Road. It’s enough to send shoppers right back into Taj to buy some pomegranates; as Great Uncle Samir told us when we were just tiny chicks, ‘Once you’ve tasted the fragrant flavour of sumac, you’ll never go back to ketchup again’.

But as the sound of a hundred different languages almost drowns us gulls out on these balmy nights, in the shout out for Brighton’s favourite ethnic restaurants for this month’s Feedback page, Facebook delivered exactly… Nada. How could this be? Do people not know about the mouth-watering delights brought to this land by our friends from much tastier food cultures? Allow the Gull to fly you through some of her favourites. 

Beaks up, come with me to sniff out the Egyptian lamb at Al Moosh, breathing in the aroma of saffron at the eponymous Persian on the way through West Street. Dip briefly in for the perfect Lebanese moutabal at Kambis, before pecking at the shish tawouk, perfectly grilled chicken skewers marinated in garlic, lemon and olive oil at Al Rouche just around the corner in Preston Street. The younger gulls report that there’s quite a flock enjoying the vegetarian meze around the bins at neighbouring Rotana, aka Little Marrakech, at the end of a sultry night. 

Hopping on a coastal thermal, we’re off to Hove and into the tiny grocery story of UniThai where if you venture deep beyond the shrimp paste, you’ll find an even tinier restaurant out back. Family run, word has it from birds of a different feather that this is straight out of Khaosan Road.   

A cooler vibe is at our own West Hill wonder, Red Snapper where Pam and Philippe have taken their family run Thai and made it a place Bangkok can only dream of. 

And let’s end the night with a few shots at le Baobab in Trafalgar Street with Abdoulaye and Julie, the husband and wife team who brought their delicious mafe, yassa poisson and roti yam to Brighton from Senegal via the kitchens of Europe over four years ago. They believe in Taranga, the Senegalese term for hospitality which most of the world shares through its food culture. Well, maybe not quite the more selfish white feathered types of the Northern hemisphere. And, to the delight of the North Laine gulls, they’ve just opened up a beautiful little outside seating area, presumably with an extra place at the table for your favourite gull. As we say in Birdworld, Bottoms Up.

Gull About Town – food & drink news: Valentine’s Special

Want to do something lovely for Your Loved One? Want to take them Somewhere Special but can’t because it’s locked down? Well, if you can’t go Somewhere Special… maybe Somewhere Special can come to you….

The Gull has spotted a bit of a trend as she swoops through the leafy streets of West Hill and Seven Dials. It seems its food loving residents have been making the most of the survival instincts of the British hospitality industry and calling in their dinner from all over the land.  This is no Deliveroo, but carriages loaded with catering from Britain’s finest. Café Murano: yours to the door. Simon Rogan? Michelin-starred meals on wheels.

As in the bird world, so as in hospitality. When the going gets tough, the tough have a think about how to get going. And if the food lovers can’t get to you, well, you can always get to them.

London husband and wife team, James and Rebecca are used to reinvention. Way back in 2017 they left their jobs and toured Italy with their six-month-old son to learn the authentic way to make fresh pasta. Now, they’re bringing their Nonna Tonda pasta and high-welfare meat sauces, freshly made every morning, to Brighton in a box.

After years of bin duty The Gull is always afeared of a plastic bag of sauce, but the aroma of their pappardelle with pork shoulder and beef shin ragu wafting on the winds outside the Food Editor’s lair recently was enough to make a bird swoon. 

But The Whistler is all about keeping it local and Tom and Rowan Smedley, the young chef brothers who’ve set up their own pasta home delivery service, Forkful near the station have plenty of beef shin and pappardelle to offer too. The wild duck ragu looks like rich pickings at £10 coupled, perhaps, with the burrata with pickled bulls blood beetroot and kate pesto for £6.  The menu changes every week, according to the availability of seasonal produce which, for a bird who cares about the planet, is worth crowing about.

Over at Regency Square, while those attention-seeking starlings are performing to the crowds, The Gull has been following the hampers heading out the back of The Set. Once one of Brighton’s finest night’s out, The Set at Home is now selling weekly box sets of its locally-sourced super high welfare gastro feast classics for £110 for two on a first come, first served basis. Not a bad shout for Valentine’s Day.

While our own Seven Dials Small Batch café is even boxing up an evening menu – peck at the crab fritters with red chilli,⁠ coriander, lime juice and chopped spring onion⁠ with a soy dipping sauce for a delightful evening feed – Brighton’s king of coffee houses, Redroaster is turning the other cheek.  Those masters of resilience have put their Thai evening eaterie, Lucky Khao out to pasture during Lockdown and resurrected instead the good old British pie in a pre-paid meal drop.  Old Great Grandpa Gull’s tales of crusty crumbs and delicate morsels of Sussex beef dropped outside the old Kemptown Pie Shop which sat on its site more than 50 years ago have been passed down through the generations; he’d be so proud to see the gang of young gulls scrapping about at the back of St James’ Street today.

The Gull has been following the sweet-smelling fortunes of Kitgum Kitchen, Brighton’s favourite East African/West Indian restaurant since its street food days at Upper Gardner Street market. Its customers were so gloriously clumsy, juggling their bric-a-brac with a Zanzibar bhaji and crispy Farsi Poori that this poor gull was exhausted by a Saturday evening. Since then, it’s popped up at The Mesmerist, The Signalman, and The Hare and Hounds before finally settling at Preston Road, and it’s not letting Lockdown spoil the ride. heat@home is its latest iteration, delivering to your own oven on Fridays only.

And if you’re loving the Lockdown opportunity to cook at home, The Gull is happy to report a veritable booty of local goodies heading towards Brighton every Tuesday from the best of our neighbouring farms in the new Chef’s Farm food boxes. 

This week, it was High Weald Dairy halloumi and Brighton Blue, fish pie mix from The Fresh Fish Shop, South Downs butter and Sussex Charmer cheese, Hallgate Farm eggs, Brambletye organic apple juice and Goodwood Estate organic beef. Plus, enough celeriac, mushrooms, apples, onions, leeks, cavolo nero and potatoes, still dusty with Sussex mud and nestled in a bed of hay to question whether there even is a hungry gap at this time of the year. Maybe with so little to waste in that little lot, the hungry gap is just for the gulls.

Gull picture from Scribbler cards.