- September 21, 2021
If you think that I am late turning up to the party on this one then think again. Over thirty years of dining out and reporting on it I have made it a policy to hold back and let new ventures settle in. This time from the first week I was getting messages from friends and colleagues that this place was hot. I resisted, I wanted to experience it when the place had time to bed in, so eventually I went along for an ealy dinner with my dear friend Ms CB. Well let me say that at 5pm on a Thursday the place was packed, crazily busy with people dining and amongst them some serious food loving friends with big smiles on their faces, surely a very good sign.
We started with a cocktail, for Ms CB, AKA Ms K to her friends, a signature martini and for me something longer with pomegranate. Excellently made drinks, impressively mixed and inventive.
The menu is not long, in fact refreshingly short, a good indication that everything is freshly prepared and to my absolute delight Ms K and I were pretty much as one when it came to choosing. On the recomendation of Mrs Ginger we ordered the steak tartare on polenta with sheep’s cheese, the daintiest of our dishes but one so well seasoned and prepared that it put a real smile on my face and a tingle on my palate. We then both headed straight for the octopus and my god it is good. I would go as far as saying that it was the best octopus dish I have ever eaten, a rich sauce and tender chunks of the star with potatoes to help mop up that sauce. We resisted ordering a second portion but only just.
Grilled sardines were perfectly filleted and grilled and served atop a panzanella style mix of fried bread and ripe tomatoes on a creamy anchovy confection, refreshing and simultaneously rich, clever stuff.
I wanted to try the mangalitza pork belly with a pickled fennel salad, and I loved it, this hairy pig, yes hairy, has the tastiest flesh for sure and that salad gave real balance to the plate. Ms K was equally delighted by the smoked lamb shoulder cigars. She was right too, the soft lamb was gently smoky and tender and shoulder, my favourite cut, packs real sweetness that worked so well with the soft spice of a padron pepper infused yoghurt.
In a nod to balance we chose the cumin and orange glazed cauliflower with cashew cream, a plant based delight that pleased we omnivores and perhaps this is because, like all the dishes we tried, the ingredients were treated with inspired care and respect.
We shouldn’t have gone for dessert, but in fairness to you the reader, I wanted to give you the full picture hahahaha.
Ms K chose the chocolate mousse with cherries, and wow, what depth of flavour, what perfect texture, I had to dive in. I had the burnt lemon tart and once again a beautifully executed classic.
To drink we had a very good Portugese red and sensibly priced too.
So am I please that I waited, well maybe, it’s my policy yes, but I can’t help thinking that I have missed out on making rather more visits.
Burnt Orange comes from the same stable as The Coal Shed and The Salt Room and owner Raz certainly knows what he is doing, professionals both front of house and back, quality ingredients cooked with skill and with care, a stylish environment created to appeal to a mature clientele, not in years, no, but in style and attitude to dining out, this place ticks every box.
From start to finish this was a great experience, charming service, great food… what’s not to love!
59 Middle Street
Brighton BN1 1AL