Kindling “Nature writes our menu as the seasons inspire the food we cook.”

Kindling “Nature writes our menu as the seasons inspire the food we cook.”

Numerous scientific studies have highlighted the impact our diets have on the environment, touting the benefits of sourcing food ethically and locally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and savvy marketeers are attaching the term sustainability to almost everything. It was only a matter of time until the restaurant industry took notice. In a bid to appeal to the growing amount of eco-conscious among us, often do we hear the words “seasonal” and “locally sourced produce” from restaurants in their mission statements.

Thankfully ,for a growing number of them these are more than just buzzwords to be thrown around – none more so than the team behind Kindling.

Having successfully run Brighton’s premier vegetarian restaurant “Food for Friends” Jane and Ramin Mostowfi teamed up with chefs Holly Taylor, Toby Geneen and Jake Ayliffe launched Kindling towards the end of last year and made it their mission 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 atmosphere and a good sense of space. the tables are nicely separated so customers aren’t on top of each other. The kitchen is on full view behind a bar area, giving Toby and Holly a commanding presence over the room and it is lovely to see them already hard at work preparing food and cooking on the open fire the restaurant takes its name from.

The menu changes regularly and is totally dependent on what their local supplier has at the time or what they can forage. It is simple to navigate, consisting of snacks, starters, mains, sides and deserts, with vegetarian and vegan options throughout. Flip it over to reveal a rousing and extensive wine list displaying specially selected wines from around the globe. We are seated at the bar overlooking the kitchen and Toby is happy to recommend wines to complement our food selection. A specials board hangs over the dining area, currently displaying innovative dishes made from various parts of a whole Saddlescombe mutton they had delivered that morning and some exciting wine recommendations.

We begin the proceedings with a delightful fondant of carrot top infused with garlic and almonds amuse bouche. A lovely way to begin our adventure, already showcasing the chef’s talents as well as their commitment to strive for zero waste. This is swiftly followed up by a favourite snack of mine, plump juicy spicy red Padron peppers from Chefs farm with homemade garlic mayonnaise that packed quite a punch!

My light and delicate starter, Beetroot cooked in beef fat with smoked plaice roe, walnut and leaves was just divine with beautifully presented deep purple, pink and yellow beetroots scattered on the plate and they tasted incredible, the beef fat giving the flavour a whole new dimension. My companion plumped for grilled leeks with Petworth fried egg, hazelnuts and lord of the hundreds cheese. An interesting choice of main ingredient which I would never have considered. Holly and Toby were not afraid to show off however, with the salty cheese and walnuts only enhancing the leeks distinct bold earthy flavour. A simple yet very effective plate of food.

My main course consisted of grilled retired dairy beef with swede puree, gem, and chimichurri, and it was very interesting indeed. Apparently, most farmers are still not aware they can sell on retired dairy cows so many are slaughtered and go to waste. The beef however tastes incredible! With a distinct buttery flavour that is further highlighted with minimal seasoning and the complimenting mild and nutty chimichurri. Delicious! My companion plumped for the fish optio; grilled red mullet with courgette and sea aster in a bisque. This incredibly tasty dish was on another level in terms of fishy flavour. The red mullet’s inherent oiliness, perky flakes and its particular depth in flavour really stood out despite the bisque having a wonderful intensity that I expected to overpower the flavour of the fish, but it was so smooth it complimented and even exaggerated the essence of the main attraction. Sublime!

When you visit Kindling, please do make sure you save some room for dessert. The incredibly well thought out dessert menu was just too tantalising to ignore. I could not resist Holly’s homemade carrot cake Tiramisu which was just incredible. Moist, spiced carrot cake, AND sweet, irresistible creamy coffee topping, with the added excitement of crunchy caramelised walnuts to boot! My companion opted for the refreshing blackberry sorbet with fresh foraged blackberries, meringue, and a large shot of premium vodka which she poured all over it. A wonderful light, refreshing and zesty dessert and a great fun way to end an evening.

Kindling is quite simply perfection. Holly and Toby worked energetically and harmoniously throughout the evening ensuring every plate of food was consistently excellent, with a huge variety of flavours and textures with a great deal of thought going into the presentation and composition of the dishes. Their unwavering commitment sustainability through sourcing the very best local ingredients and minimising waste through innovative uses of every part of the ingredient whether it be fish, animal or plant is commendable.  With the menu constantly changing, I cannot wait to see what they come up with next!

Tony Shattell

Kindling Restaurant. 69 East Street. Brighton


01273 732534