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.
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.