What: A relaxed contemporary restaurant with a focus on food cooked on an open wood and charcoal fire on the edge of Brighton’s The Lanes.
Who: Kindling is owned by Ramin and Jane Mostowfi. The pair know this area of Brighton well having run Prince Albert Street vegetarian restaurant Food for Friends for 15 years (they sold it on in 2018). The menu is a collaborative project between themselves, nutritional therapist and freelance chef Holly Taylor and former St John chef Toby Geneen. Phillip Scott, another alumnus of St John, oversees the floor.
The vibe: On East Street, the narrow 46-cover space is attractive with a clean look. Foliage dangles down over the white tiled walls and a pretty pink marble bar runs round the open kitchen and bar. Kindling feels premium and Instagram-ready but is far from being ostentatious.
The food: The overall theme is probably best described as modern British. The composition of the dishes and the plating style is refined but not fussy, which chimes well with the look of the place and its low-key but professional service. À la carte is a mix of small plates and sharing dishes but Kindling also offers a set lunch menu (£14.95/17.95 for two/three courses) and a Sunday set menu with a vegan option. It also has a £55 taste of Kindling menu that comes with matching wines for an additional £45. Dishes include Saddlescombe lamb, salted apple, celeriac; pickled carrot, kraut, lovage, jus; Sussex cod, spiced hazelnut, lemon, white wine; roast cauliflower, caramelised hazelnut, wild fennel caper dressing; Old Spot chop, lemon beurre noisette; cauliflower purée (for two); and muscovado and crab apple ice cream sandwich. Small plates average out at around £8 and the two sharing dishes are both north a little north of £30.
And another thing: The Mostowfis say the idea behind Kindling is to create a restaurant that ‘re-writes the rules by doing dining better’. In practice this means a highly seasonal approach, lots of fermentation and preservation, close relationships with carefully vetted suppliers and a focus on plant-based dishes.
Grilled salsify, smoked plaice roe emulsion, buckwheat, dill