The brainchild of owner Phillip Ilic, h.en will serve a menu of high welfare grilled and fried chicken sourced from Brookland Farm in Surrey.
All chicken will be marinated in a ‘secret’ sauce, and the fried chicken will be coated in a batter and fried in rice bran oil, considered healthier than traditional vegetable oils.
Sides will include sweet potato chips and an extensive salad bar, with vegetarian burgers also available.
Open from 10am to 6pm daily and for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, h.en will also serve a brunch menu of eggs cooked in various ways and Dutch stroopwafels.
Brookland Farm owner Chris Pinard currently produces around 85 per cent of his own feed, and puts a big emphasis on animal welfare. Ilic is working closely with the farm and aims to be ‘completely transparent’ about the welfare of the chicken served at his restaurant.
“For me, it’s all about knowing our chickens have had a healthy, happy life,” said Ilic.
“The current labelling system lulls people into a false sense of security – ultimately, you can’t trust it and you have to make the effort to visit the farms you get your produce from to really know the conditions.
“It has been incredible to collaborate with Chris with his passion for his chickens whilst knowing they have had the highest welfare.”
The h.en interior has been designed by Amy Ilic and David Pentland of Ardour Design, a company which specialises in reusing materials to minimise environmental impact.
The restaurant will also offer a tiffin box system, whereby people can leave a £5 refundable deposit for a stainless steel tiffin box to take their food away in.
Speaking to our sister title M&C report Ilic, who previously worked at Le Mercury Restaurant in Islington, said he hoped the concept could grow as chicken becomes the new burgers.
“I follow food trends very closely and I’m conscious of the power of taking greasy, bad food and making it better. That’s been a huge success for burgers and now I think it’s moving towards chicken.
“Hopefully we can be in at the ground floor with this and push the concept further.”
lic said Brighton was a perfect launching pad for the new concept because of the “sophisticated approach to food” but he would also be very keen to secure a site in London.
h.en will open on 11 December at 87-88 Trafalgar Street, Brighton