It’s Brighton Fringe time (yay!) and as part of the festival this year, Brighton has it’s first ever pop-up restaurant. If you’re not sure what a “pop-up restaurant” is then it’s basically a temporary restaurant that “pops-up” for a limited time, causes a bit of a stir, then disappears back into the ether before our short-attention-spans get tired of them. Perfect for our trend-based society, they are throw-away restaurants that can be put up and pulled down, leaving the owners free to start again. They’ve been all the rage in London for a few years now, but Residence is Brighton’s first (as far as I know!).
The twist of Residence is that it is (supposed) to have a resident artist beavering away in the corner whilst you eat your meal, giving you the opportunity to witness the birth of orginal art and then (if you are so inclined) to bid on said work in a silent auction. It’s also a good conversation piece – a bit of entertainment that feeds into the fringe festival. I think it’s a great idea. However, I’m afraid to say that our artist failed to materialise. The organisers Euan and Chris apologised on his behalf (citing artistic tendencies towards free-spiritedness and need for sleep as the reasons). That was a bit of a shame, but in the end not a major loss actually. Chris and Euan in their flamboyant suits were fantastic hosts and the food (all cooked by students of Brighton City College where the pop-up is housed) was fantastic.
I’m not going to do a big long review, for the simple reason that the lovely graphic foodie has already done a marvellous review on her blog. Not one to reinvent the wheel, I will refer you to her expert opinion and just add the photos and thoughts we had during our lunch on Saturday.
Before we got down to our starters, we kicked off proceedings with some apperitifs. I had a peach bellini (they were out of pear, sad face) and Sven had a Negroni. For the second time since I started my blog, I stupidly left my camera memory card at home. Bless Sven, he ran up the hill to seven dials and fetched it for me. What a lickel legend. By the time he returned, I had polished off the bellini and was chomping at the bit to get to the food.
I had the ham hock terrine and rabbit rillettes, piccalilli and cornichons, which was perfect for lunch. The home-made piccalilli was really stand-out. The terrine and rillettes were delicious, though perhaps a little underseasoned. My only criticism would be that it initially wasn’t served with any bread, though when I asked for some it was very happily provided.
Sven had french onion soup, calvados & melted cheese crouton and it was really really good. It actually might be one of the best onion soups I have tasted. It was dark, sticky and rich.
For my main course I had pan fried smoked pork loin, sage butter, sauté potatoes & leeks, which was fantastic. The smokey flavour of the pork was intense and it was perfectly cooked. The crispy leeks were divine. I yummed it all up.
Sven had the marinated lamb rack. It was accompanied by the sweetest little mini shepherd’s pie and buttery greens. The lamb was so perfectly pink that even though Sven is not a lover of lamb, he absolutely sucked the bones dry.
We finished the meal with rhubarb creme brulee and rum baba. The brulee was good and even though Sven was stuffed he absolutely annhilated it. I had the rum baba and I’m sure it was a good example, but I didn’t love it. I just don’t think it’s my kind of pud. I don’t really like rum that much, I just ordered it out of curiosity (good name, innit, rum baba!). I still finished it though!
Residence pop-up restaurant is open until 23rd May and is unbelievable value at £12.50 for lunch or £16.50 for dinner. I’m going back with friends for dinner on the 19th where (I hope) the residence artist will be Lou Trigg. It’s also rumoured that the Graphic Foodie will be doing front of house. I can’t wait.
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Disclaimer: I didn’t pay, but I’m going back and will be paying then!