rickshaw restaurant

Fusing Our Favourite Tastes of Asia

When thinking about a restaurant serving dishes inspired by flavour-filled countries as diverse as Thailand, China, Japan, Korea and India, you can be forgiven for imagining that perhaps the establishment is taking on too much – however, leave those preconceptions at Rickshaw’s door and prepare to take your taste buds on an adventure across Asia.

Located on Ship Street in the heart of Brighton’s bustling Lanes, Rickshaw Oriental is a unique Asian restaurant and chic cocktail bar, oozing contemporary style.

It’s this cool design that first welcomes you and gives you the exciting impression that this is not just another fusion restaurant – that this is something rather special indeed. With a chilled and relaxed vibe, the spacious dining room, immediately transports you to Asia, thanks to the seamless mix of traditional touches such as Buddhas and elephants, along with ultra-modern and sleek lighting and furniture. I wasn’t surprised at all to later find out that one of Rickshaw’s owners, is in fact also an interior designer – a lot of love has gone into this restaurant and it’s three stunning dining rooms, and it really does show!

After taking in the calming ambience, my dining partner and I took our seats and both remarked on how chilled out we felt – busy Brighton and its streets full of shoppers felt a million miles away. We pondered over the menu and were amazed at the amount of choice on offer; not that it was pages and pages long, or overwhelming, just that we wanted to try it all! Each dish caught our hunger’s attention.

The innovative fusion menu of twelve starters and sixteen mains, along with noodles and rice dishes boasts options for everyone – regardless of which Asian food you prefer (be it Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Indian) or if you are vegan, vegetarian, a pescatarian or needing to avoid gluten, so you can see why our decision took a little while! It was also great to see that Rickshaw offers dishes to be cooked in ‘superfood’ of the moment – coconut oil, which is believed to have health benefits including weight loss, a boosted immune system and increased energy levels, for just 50p extra per dish. Great for those of us wanting to maintain those healthy eating resolutions, whilst still enjoying meals out.

rickshaw restaurant

Whilst deliberating over our menu choices, we ordered juices from Rickshaw’s Lanes neighbours, 42 Juice, who have teamed up with the restaurant to supply fresh cold-pressed juices and cocktails. We would have indulged in a carefully curated house cocktail like a Geisha Martini, an Indian Garden or a When Tokyo met Deli, or even a juice-based cocktail, however, we were in the final throws of Dry January, so we resisted and enjoyed fresh juice instead!

Sipping on pineapple, pear and ginger and a cucumber, apple, pineapple and spinach juices, we finally decided on our dishes.

For starters, I opted for a gluten free version of Salt Pepper Chilli Squid, while my partner ordered the Vietnamese Pork Ribs.

The squid was deliciously light, crispy and full of flavour, having been seasoned with black pepper, sea salt and of course, that fiery chilli! The honey, ginger and chilli ribs were also divine and were a great flavoursome mix of sweet and spicy.

Moving on to mains, my Satay Bumbu Kacang – a chef’s special – created using hand-chopped roasted peanuts, fresh chicken and served with sticky rice, instantly made me realise I’d made the right choice. Although, as my partner happily devoured his Korean Bibimbap, through mouthfuls; telling me that the variation of textures (vegetables, king prawns and sticky rice) made his meal a delicious and varied dish to enjoy, I knew I would most probably have enjoyed whichever main I’d chosen! Both dishes were beautifully presented and were a feast for the eyes, as well as the stomach.

We may have been full, but with a very tempting dessert menu, with sweets such as Rickshaw Wasbi Gelato, Geisha Cream Brulee and Banana Fritters, we just had to try some!

My dining partner selected the Geisha Cream Brulee (a twist on the classic crème brûlée, with the addition of tantalising raspberry and ginger!) and seeing that they were gluten free (and not usually been able to eat them!), I went for the Banana Fritters, served with vanilla ice cream and honey. Absolute heaven!

Before leaving we had a chat with one of the owners to find out just how they have made each dish traditional, yet still managed to incorporate that all-important contemporary twist – so what’s Rickshaw’s secret? Their highly experienced chefs all hail from countries from where their inspired dishes originally come from (Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and India), making it a perfect recipe for success!

Rickshaw’s tagline is Great Drinks and Food, Design and Good Times – did it deliver on all? You bet it did. The next time you fancy an Asian-fusion fix, you know exactly where to head…

Rickshaw Oriental, 36 Ship St, Brighton. BN1 1AB

01273 911811 www.rickshaw-oriental.com