“Quite simply perfection! Every course consistently excellent, with a huge variety of bold flavours and textures celebrating high-quality British ingredients, a great deal of thought going into the presentation and composition of each of the dishes, as well as each of the stunning accompanying wines. Furna is something truly unique and special”
Having enjoyed a wealth of acclaim from a twenty plus year career cooking at some of Brighton and Hove’s most revered restaurants including the likes of The Salt Room and The Gingerman, Yorkshire born Dave Mothersill has well and truly earned the reputation of one of the city’s most well respected and skilled chefs. Furna, which opened just eight weeks ago, is Dave’s first Solo venture, celebrating the very best sustainable high-quality ingredients and drawing on his extensive culinary experience to deliver a luxurious multi-course tasting menu with an optional expertly curated wine pairing. Of course, we wasted no time in booking ourselves in to try it out for ourselves. What we experienced was something extraordinary, something that well and truly surpassed all our already sky-high expectations! Here’s how it went.
Ideally situated for residents and visitors alike smack bang in the centre of town on Brighton’s prestigious New Road in a stunning converted Grade-II listed Georgian building with many of its original features retained. Entering Furna feels like you are entering a building that is rich with history. The warm intimate interior is inspired by the sites classical heritage but given a contemporary edge with gorgeously slick and stylish furniture and beautiful decorative art designed by well-known local artist Sarah Arnett. There is an open kitchen at the end of the room on full view behind a chefs counter, which is where we choose to take our seats so we can chat to Dave whilst watching his team busily creating masterpieces for our enjoyment.
Spoiler alert! When I say masterpieces I am not exaggerating. Every dish we tried was lovingly presented,ambitiously well crafted, containing bold, exciting flavours that have truly left a mark on us forever!
Dave is straight over to introduce himself alongside Furna’s resident expert sommelier Ross, who pours us each a glass of 2016 Sugrue sparkling rose ‘Ex-Machina’ for our enjoyment while Dave serves up some elegant looking snacks. Dave tells us he is passionate about cooking with high quality seasonal ingredients from the very best suppliers around, putting them at the forefront of each dish using classic and modern techniques to combine uncomplicated flavours. As we tuck into our snacks which include lobster claw with Nashi pear and kelp, trout soaked in a blood orange ponzo marinate with cod-roe and dill, and a lovely soft waffle topped with cream cheese, crisp onion and truffle shavings, each producing an incredible array of flavours that made us realise that we are in for a dining experience like no other. Even the bread course that came next was shear decadence, a piping hot tear and share glazed Parker house roll with silky smooth roasted yeast butter and gloriously salty yet slightly piquant smoked cods roe. By far the tastiest bread course I have ever experienced.
Our tastebuds fully awakened and now on red-alert, we are presented with our next course. Native lobster in kelp custard with Nashi pear, shimeji and exmoor caviar. The gorgeous buttery flavour of the lobster is enhanced by being soaked in beef-stock and is well and truly front and centre in this inspired dish, further complimented by the tangy picked mushrooms and sweet pear. The light frothy Japanese style kelp custard is silky smooth and balances all the flavours to round it all off. A gloriously fresh Muscadet is the perfect accompaniment, light and refreshing whilst not distracting from the delicate flavour of the lobster. Wonderful.
In preparation for our next course Ross fills our glasses with Barbera Appassimento, San Silvestro, which he tells us is a bit of a marvel as is produced from vines grown at a high altitude to produce a light and balanced wine, perfect to go with our next dish; veal sweetbreads with chantarelles, Jerusalem artichokes in a roast chicken sauce. The sweetbreads are brined in milk for several days and crumble at bite to release an almost ethereal flavour, the artichokes and mushrooms serve to enhance the taste of the sweetbreads whilst adding interesting textures to the proceedings, the gorgeous light mellow chicken ragu brings it all together, along with some some truffle shavings adding a little decadence.
As we wait in anticipation for what comes next, we cannot help but marvel at the attention paid to the minutest of details.. Every wine has a special glass, every course served in a specific dish, with stylish cutlery seemingly appearing out of nowhere before each one is served. The service seems personalised with a sense of “old-school” hospitality steering away from the fine-dining label that this level of food should have, giving us a more relaxed personal experience. Silver service is done away with, so we are left with a lovely laid-back, fun dining experience.
We go back to the sea for our next course, Cornish cod, celeriac, apple and smoked eel, paired with a deliciously aromatic Austrian wine. The the exquisitely light, sweet salacious cod flaked at the mere touch of my fork, paired well with the intensely smoky eel, with apple adding a little crunchy texture and a spot of sweetness to this delightful dish.
Keeping us on our toes, as soon as our plates are cleared we are presented with a secret course not listed on the menu. A venison pancake, Utilising the neck, proving that some of the best flavoured meat comes from the off-cuts, with crispy kale and a bone marrow consume. What a wonderful surprise this was, Slow cooking was certainly evident as it melted away releasing the meats full flavour which went perfectly with the rich, intensely fragrant consume.
Throughout our evening Dave is genuinely curious as to our reactions to each and every one of his dishes, he is all to happy to answer any of our questions. It is interesting to hear all about the challenges they faced during construction, including coming across an old graveyard which turned into an archaeological dig, delaying opening by several months! Ross engaged with us regularly, recounting a fascinating story behind each wine he presented us with. We loved watching Dave’s team dance around each other like a carefully choreographed, well-practiced routine. You would certainly not know that they had only been working together for a mere eight weeks.
To go with our final savoury course of fallow deer we are treated to a glass of Avaton, Ktima Gerovassilou, a wonderfully rich, complex Greek tipple which we are told contains the oldest known grape in the written word. It tastes like nectar of the gods. Exquisitely paired to compliment the taste of the meat, that has been slow roasted in black garlic to further intensify the beautiful gamie flavour, and served with confit bone-marrow, prunes, beetroot and hazelnut, bold flavours in themselves, working in harmony to boost the main ingredient and making each mouthful an adventure. Superb.
The two dessert courses are some of the most accomplished and downright delicious sweet creations we have experienced in our lives. First off, Mirin Meringue, with Yorkshire Rhubarb (which Dave tells us is the best in the world), creme fraiche and tarragon.Then crunchy Opalys Valrhona white chocolate with blood orange and yoghurt. Both absolute marvels with so much going on in terms of perfectly aligned flavours, exciting textures and a mix of temperatures, we were in dessert heaven. Washed down with a wonderful well-balanced dessert wine to the mix, Recioto di Soave ‘La Broia’ made from high altitude grapes so not as syrupy and sweet as most dessert wines. A perfect way to end our culinary adventure.
Thank you Dave Mothersill. For Furna is quite simply perfection. Every course consistently excellent, with a huge variety of bold flavours and textures celebrating high-quality british ingredients, and a great deal of thought going into the presentation and composition of each of the dishes, with stunning accompanying wines. Everything from the sumptuous interior design to the elegance, experience, and knowledge shown by Dave and his entire team, culminates to everything you would expect from the finest of restaurants, with none of the pretension. Furna has it all. It is something truly special and must be experienced to be believed.