Seasonal food with a sexy twist – Justine O’Connell indulges with an evening at Isaac At in Brighton
When The Wordrobe invited me to review Brighton chef led restaurant Issac At, I knew I had to take my other half. He is a frequent patron of the local pubs around its North Lane location but has yet to experience a full tasting menu before; something I think everyone should experience at least once.
We are lucky to have bagged the seats at the pass, within touching distance of the chefs, with Issac himself at the helm. The dining room has an air of a Scandinavian style eatery, pictures of the local produce artfully shot adorn the walls, which I am later told were taken by Issac’s girlfriend in his mums back garden – this really is a family affair. For the diners who are not lucky enough to be sat at the pass, there is a live video stream of all the action on screens on the walls.
Issac’s philosophy is a menu that is guided by the seasons, every ingredient is a bounty from the Sussex coastline and beyond enhanced by a natural style of cooking. The seven-course menu comes with an ingredient list stating the distance each ingredient has travelled to make it to our plates. An extensive English wine list stands to show how well this area is doing on wine production.
Each dish is carefully paired with a generous glass of wine, poured by Alex the charming front of house manager, he is a natural at guiding us through Sussex.
The chef’s in front of us place each dish on our counter top, making sure every element is perfect. The first course is scallops, apple & charcoal mayo. The smokiness of the charcoal mayo really makes this dish stand out and lifts the creamy scallops which balances nicely with the sweetness of the apple. It’s a lovely dish and serves to leave us excited for the rest of the meal ahead.
From our vantage point I see what looks to be a charred sausage being carefully placed on the plate until I bite into it and realise it is a carrot- and wow what a carrot. This dish of caramelised carrot with star anise and coriander, proves balance is key, the wilted, crunchy coriander serves to add texture to the caramelised carrot. The orange and green colours on the plate are beautiful and like every dish here, it’s delightful to look at and a surprise to eat.
At this point I must give mention to the freshly baked treacle and stout bread; part fresh loaf, part treacly pudding the which the butter just melts into, this really is a bread that dreams are made of, my senses are on overload as I forget the rule of not filling up on the bread!
Up third is pork belly, kohlrabi, cabbage & broccoli, the very unusual smoked broccoli puree that makes me want to lick my plate- but I won’t- luckily we have a smidgen of bread left over for that!
Dish four is lamb rump, wild garlic, potato, foraged by the local forager who keeps his foraging. Locations a secret (shame, I want some of this garlic myself!) The lamb is served rare melting in the mouth and is utterly divine.
The Bolney estate wine that accompanies the lamb is succulent and juicy and a welcome change of pace after the cold whites and roses that started the meal- just like a hug, soothing our taste buds. Perfectly timed as we are relaxed into our seats, content, analysing what has been and what is to come.
Ready for the sweet part of the meal a palate cleanser a fresh apple sorbet is presented. It’s nothing too fancy or special, but the apple flavours that come out of it are intense enough that you know this is a proper sorbet. It gets us ready for dessert, which is surely the point.
First up in the dessert courses is caramel ice cream, sorrel and carrot. It’s nicely balanced and refreshing with a good mix of textures between buttery and crumbly biscuit and velvet ice cream. The sorrel was like a fruit in itself and a delightful touch. Paired decadently with the dessert wine which itself is bouncy and vibrant; almost as sexy as the bottle it is served from.
Lastly, we are presented with almond cake dipped In rhubarb. This is an assault on my senses as the light cake soaks up the rhubarb jus, and leaves a delicious moorish ending to the proceedings.
The Wordrobe verdict
We depart happy, full and just a little bit tipsy. The excellent service bestowed upon us is memorable and consistent. With a menu changing with the seasons, Isaac At should become your new seasonal must-have. Visit to indulge and be led on a journey of tastes through Sussex. You’ll leave feeling as if you have been let into a private house for the evening as their guest.
“Visit to indulge and be led on a journey of tastes through Sussex.”
At £90 a head it is worth considering that we would pay more than that each season on shoes and yet I felt somewhat more satisfied.
Make it happen
Where: 2 Gloucester St, Brighton BN1 4EW
Bookings: Click here to make a reservation