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Review – Burnt Orange bar and restaurant, Brighton

Burnt Orange, 59 Middle Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1AL (01273 929923). Starters £7-£10, mains £9-£15, desserts £4-£9, wines from £22.

Accessibility – No step free access or disabled bathroom.

With a promise of wood-fired flavours and well-made cocktails, Burnt Orange is an eclectic hybrid of both cocktail bar and award-winning restaurant. The brainchild of Brighton restaurateur Razak Helalat, of both the Salt Room and Coal Shed. The venue takes the place of the Old Coach House pub and offers service from early afternoon until late.  Since opening last year it has been accredited with the prestigious Bib Gourmand, signifying great food and great value by the revered Michelin guide, as such, it is hardly a surprise that it has already made a significant mark upon the face of the Brighton food scene.

Arrival initially brought me disappointment as I was turned away as a ‘walk-in’ and it soon became apparent why. Both the inside and the courtyard area were quickly filled. However, by a stroke of good fortune, a space became available later in the evening within the arboreal surroundings of the cobbled outdoor space. The courtyard itself offers a comfortable, naturally lit ambience with an informal yet elegant arrangement. The walls are covered in rich greenery and everything appears to have been meticulously thought of to the point that blankets are made available to customers should they wish to stay late into a chilly night.

@TheWhittyphoto

Cocktails are one of Burnt Orange’s greatest selling points, offering a menu of bespoke drinks at around a reasonable (£10) per. My companion and I opted for both the Kentucky Pear – a pear infused bourbon mix and the house’s take on a Margarita, both of which went down exceedingly smoothly. If this, perhaps is not your thing, the staff are trained in all of the classic cocktails in addition to the bar stocking an extensive wine list and canned local ales.

Possibly the greatest triumph of Burnt Orange has to be the food itself, though this will perhaps not come as a surprise given its aforementioned accreditation. Service itself arrived rapidly with our server, John, contributing exemplary diligence towards our every need throughout the entirety of the meal with a welcome level of affability. For my starter I selected the spiced raw beef, seasoned to perfection and served on a bed of crispy polenta and topped with hard sheep cheese in what I am sure should considered an aspirational dish for all beef cattle. Following this, I opted for the fire-roasted chermoula monkfish, which was of course excellently cooked with sweet spiced raisins greatly complimenting the umami feast that was the fire cooked tail and paired this with a skillet of roasted potatoes cooked in cream; a dish that really allowed the benefits of the wood oven to shine. The final statement of the evening was that of the nigh impossibly good Arabic coffee torte which boasted the richest sorbet I have ever tasted. An absolute must try for anyone who has in their life ever complimented a tiramisu.

With a complete absence of surprise, then, it is safe to say this is a venue that should almost certainly be booked ahead of schedule as it is very popular (read “fully booked”) even on traditionally less busy nights of the week. Boasting a central location, sublime quality and a pricing scheme that is almost irreverent to its neighbours, I am left only to concur with the esteemed tyre manufacturers / food critics in saying that this is a restaurant that clearly stands out from the crowd.

This review was compiled by Sussex News new chief reviewer @TheMintonEats.

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