“Nature writes our menu as the seasons inspire the food we cook.”
Oh, how I miss the days when we were able to get all dressed up and go out to a restaurant. I miss the excitement of discovering somewhere new and sampling the delights that the wealth of incredibly talented chefs we are lucky to have in Brighton and Hove have been perfecting for our pleasure. In between lockdowns last year we enjoyed a delightful memorable evening at Brighton’s premier eco-conscious restaurant; kindling, where we were lucky enough to be able to sit and enjoy an incredible meal prepared by two of the finest chefs around, Holly Taylor and Toby Ganeen. I take comfort in the thought that we will be able to do this again soon, but in the meantime, was very excited to learn that Holly and Toby have been keeping themselves busy creating and serving up enticing and innovative finish at home boxes. I got in touch straight away and ordered one, excited to learn what surprises Holly and Toby have concocted from the best produce the Winter season has to offer.
For anyone who have not heard of Kindling, their ethos is to go above and beyond to minimise their carbon footprint, and most importantly, do this without compromising on creativity or flavour. Passionate about preventing waste, Not only does every dish showcase the very best fresh locally sourced, and often foraged seasonal fruit and vegetables, but they also make use of every last scrap of them. Their meat is sourced ethically and raised by farmers who believe in cruelty free care, whole animals are purchased by the restaurant to make incredible tasty and innovative dishes from every part, and they take care to source fish from ethical local fisherman who respect their habitats.
The restaurant itself is a thing of beauty. Marble-topped tables whitewashed tiled walls and high ceilings adorned with spotlights and hanging plants create a lovely serene. The kitchen is on full view behind a bar area where food is cooked on the open fire the restaurant takes its name from. A pristinely clean makeshift serving area has been constructed at the entrance with a waiting area big enough to be able adhere to all the recommended precautions until Holly and Toby are able to welcome their customers back inside. Collection is made easy with plenty of parking bays available right outside the restaurant on East Street.
As I left with my bounty, I started to feel a little nervous about the prospect of finishing off the cooking at home. My culinary skills are almost non-existent, and my wife’s even worse. My fears soon dispersed when I saw a card with super easy to follow cooking instructions that even I could not mess up! Every week Kindling list a choice of Friday and Saturday meat and non-meat menus, as well as Sunday Roasts. We have plumped for the three-course meat option, with a starter of Sussex Slipcote, blood orange and watercress salad, a main of game and walnut ragu with gnocchi and cavolo nero, and a desert of prune, almond and brandy tart.
I was initially dubious about a salad starter. For me, salads are usually served up in big glass bowls at summer barbeques and usually left well alone. Consider myself re-educated. Holly and Toby have invented a delicious salad with lovely flavours that feel right at home in the Winter. The Slipcote cheese is crumbled over the crispest freshest leaves and vibrant juicy blood orange slices, then tossed in orange dressing and toasted almonds. Slipcote has a wonderful luxurious mellow flavour and absorbs all the wonderful juices from the zesty orange slices to produce something entirely new and altogether wonderful, and the earthiness of the toasted almonds added an extra dimension to this genius vibrant seasonal dish.
Onto the main, which takes no more than twenty minutes to finish off and serve. The beautiful, thick, rich and wholesome Italian-style ragu had obviously been cooking for hours on end previously and given the care and attention such a meaty marvel was due, as the intensely opulent flavour produced was like nothing I have ever tasted. The accompanying Gnocchi had a lovely delicate crisp golden carapace and gorgeous fluffy centre perfect for absorbing the luxurious sauce. The buttery cavolo nero acted as a nice pacifier to the intense game flavour. A truly magnificent creation that I cannot praise enough.
Our prune, almond and brandy tart, topped with crème fraiche really showcased Holly and Toby’s talents for combining flavours from the seasonally available ingredients that most people would not put together, but somehow surprises every time. Not too sweet or tangy, just a lovely well-rounded hearty flavoursome dessert and a wonderful way to finish off our meal. Bravo!
It was so lovely to be able to be able to experience the luxurious food we have come to know and love from Kindling during these crazy times. Everything about our meal was perfect and it was rather fun finishing off the cooking and serving it all up at home. I thoroughly recommend you order a meal from them at your earliest opportunity. Please note: To ensure you don’t miss out, get your order in before 4pm the day before. The boxes are available for a contact free collection or local delivery (postcodes BN1, BN2 and BN3).
Kindling Restaurant. 69 East Street. Brighton. BN1 1HQ. 01273 732534