Brighton city center has a hidden gem of a restaurant hidden in plain sight, championing quality local food in a welcoming and vibrant atmosphere.
Kindling Restaurant, located on East Street just a short walk from the waterfront, was opened in December 2019 by Ramin and Jane Mostowfi.
The timing of this opening was rather unfortunate as the hospitality business was less than 3 months away from taking its biggest hit with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing endless closures and restrictions for over a year and a half.
Because of this, Kindling hasn’t had a chance to shine in the Sussex restaurant ecosystem. However, with the world seemingly moving away from the worst effects of Covid, now is the time for the business to make its mark in the coastal city, having been listed in the 2022 MICHELIN Guide.
When we first entered the building on a cool Sunday afternoon, we were greeted by friendly staff members, who demonstrated experience and warmth in their service throughout our time there.
The minimalist bohemian décor is easy on the eye, the artwork on the wall and the plants hanging from the ceiling find beauty within their simplicity, perfectly complementing the spirit of the food served.
The message from chefs Holly Taylor and Toby Geneen cuts straight to the point: locally sourced, minimal waste and putting quality first. Creating a menu of seasonal British small plates that are served when ready for the table.
His philosophy was evident from the first bite of our first course, slices of Ashdown Forest venison belly topped with thick strands of Lord of the Hundreds (a hard sheep’s cheese produced in East Sussex) and walnuts. These rich smoky flavors excited the palate, leaving you intrigued for what was to come.
The grilled Romanesco cauliflower was the most visually stunning dish we ordered, with a sauce of fermented red pepper and toasted almonds delicately swirling on top of the large floret. Ironically, it was the least memorable of the palette, the only real disappointment of the afternoon.
This and the restaurant’s rather unusual choice of music – liquid drums and bass – is not what you’d expect to hear in a normal restaurant setting and with good reason, as it doesn’t add to the ambiance of the overall theme the business was trying to achieve. .
Our third course perfectly captured the coastal setting. A soft and light river trout fish cake that oozed freshness from the moment the knife touched it, served with an original celeriac and nasturtium flower remoulade.
However, we saved the best for last when we ordered a mild lamb stew surrounded by baked potato mash and topped with buttery Cavelo Nero.
A dish like this should be comforting and uplifting through its bold flavors and textures. This bowl acted as a warm blanket on a cold winter’s day, a lovely ending to a nice afternoon of eating.
Kindling’s ambition to serve quality local food is successfully realized through dishes that don’t try to do too much, a handful of ingredients in one dish used effectively by Holly and Toby to create something that is both tasty and interesting. .
For couples looking for a place to enjoy a weekend lunch, this place is the ideal setting to experience the best that local cuisine has to offer.