Our new regular feature looking into what’s new in food and drink
Twenty minutes before the announcement of a national lockdown. It’s probably not the ideal time to be given the keys to your new restaurant, but we are living in strange times.
The new owners of med. had the challenge of not only opening a restaurant at a bad time, but to build one from scratch. From March until July last year, the restaurant windows were kept boarded up, but inside Jack and Will (formerly of pop-up brand Wolfsmouth) were knee-deep in building materials, instruction manuals and a blur of drills and power saws.
Sometimes though, life is a question of perspective, of attitude. You can get down – or you can get the power drills out. “The lockdown actually provided us with one of the best gifts we could have hoped for – time” says Will. “We were flat out the months previously with our popups and I really don’t know how we would have coped if we’d had to build this place alongside working all the hours”.
“The time we had to build the space and save on professions meant we could design the kitchen and restaurant as a whole to fit in with these mad new times. We were lucky enough to be able to specifically create an environment most other people were having to adapt to” say Jack.
But all’s well that ends well and, as the lights shines towards the end of tunnel, they’re done. And now all that’s left to do is sit on the new terrace and enjoy the new al fresco menu “offering Mediterranean inspired small plates with big flavours”.
For more details visit http://www.medbrighton.co.uk or visit them at 2/3 Little East Street, Brighton, BN1 1HT
While the world has hidden its head under its wing, the Gull has been flying high above our favourite hostelries, busily peeking her beak into their lockdown labours. And there’s much to report. With drinking only allowed outdoors from April 12th, the Gull is already counting the crisp nicking opportunities as space is rearranged to cater for an alfresco crowd.
Those cool cats at The Eddy have been stamping their style all over the pub with Hatt’s massive new hand-made chandelier transforming the entire pub into a thing of bling beauty, while Mark’s new hand-made benches line the pavement. Low-flying birds will find rich pickings in the new gazebos and awnings as peanut-loving punters flock to soak up the arty vibe of this much-loved local.
Down on the beach, Rockwater, that modernist make-over of the much loved View, and then Venue at Hove’s Western Esplanade is a bird’s best friend with beach deck and roof terrace promising some tasty crumbs.
Closer to home, the Gull has spotted landlords and ladies across West Hill and Seven Dials busy spring cleaning their patios and clearing the decking to make ‘outside’ the new destination. At the popular bootlegger wine bar, l’Atelier du Vin, a handy new perch of string lights are already strewn across the green hedge enclosing its sunken garden, with cushions and blankets making its wine and cheese savvy clientele much more likely to stay longer, and maybe even leave a few crumbs for a hungry gull. Happily, it’s open from 1pm-8pm for the early birds.
The Shakespeare’s Head, once home to the Gull’s favourite roast leftovers, will have all three gardens open by the 12th April, and from 12pm that Monday instead of 4pm to celebrate. With a rebuilt front patio and heated marquee, the side garden in Howard Place and a lovely back garden, it’ll be business as usual in no time.
SWOOPING INTO Jubilee Square, the Gull has sniffed the air and discovered a little Singapore-style hawker experience at the back of The Chilli Pickle. Those clever Sperrings, Alun and Dawn who brought their off-road family adventures in India to Brighton 11 years ago, have always loved a shrimp krupuk with plum sauce and black pepper lamb ribs and trialled Hawkerman as a pop-up to make the most of their space in the restaurant. And they’ve done it well; West Hillers will remember their Chilli Pickle pop up at the Polygon on Seven Dials in 2017. And despite an October launch ahead of an inevitable lockdown, this little toe dip in the rough waters of hospitality has gone down swimmingly with the local as Brighton’s spice lovers took advantage of the double take-away option from Jubilee Square’s Asian one-stop shop.
THE GULL LOVES nothing better than rummaging around in the bins of West Hill on a Friday night and has been tucking into some rather exotic flavours from the newly arrived Dishoom, the Irani-Bombay experience so beloved by our London cousins. It’s only available via Deliveroo so far, but the menu is as top notch and includes plenty for vegans and vegetarians such as the Pau Bhaji, much-loved Mattar Paneer, Jackfruit Biryani, samosas and bowls of chole. It even delivers drinks – Bombay sodas, Limca and Thums Up alongside Dishoom’s Mango Lassi. And the Gull is happy to report all the packaging is made from reclaimed and renewable sugar cane pulp packaging and carbon-neutral PLA (a smart compostable bioplastic made from plants), are recyclable once rinsed or compostable. And each take away is matched with the donation of a meal through Akshaya Patra, a charity in India which offers free school meals to hungry children.
RIDING THE THERMALS towards Shoreham Port, the Gull has got wind of a new kitchen opening next summer. The Port Kitchen will be next to the lock gates at the award-winning Lady Bee Enterprise Centre and plans to serve visitors as they pass through the locks, as well as the Port’s thriving business community and tourists visiting the area. It seems that the council has a plan to make this hitherto industrial space into an iconic food destination with proper coffee, fresh food and, take it from a bird, unparalleled views across the harbour.