It was as if summer had arrived at last. The night we went to dine at Isaac’s, summer light came streaming through large glass windows and glimpses of full-leafed trees in the distance made it feel as if summer had come to stay.
We were in Brighton but not as I knew it. Isaac At is not on a main street and so you could miss it if you weren’t especially looking for it. This, I think works in Isaac’s favour as a relaxed sunny vibe descended on us the moment we arrived.
Our reservation was on a long table that was shared with other diners and yet this set up did not feel intrusive. From my seat I looked straight out at the street, behind me busied Isaac’s team of four (including him) while outside the noses of passers by pressed up against the glass to see what on earth was going on.
I had been checking out Isaac for a while via Twitter so I had high expectations of his attractive, English fine dining plates of food. Inspired by seasonal ingredients by local producers Isaac uses this as the starting point for his inventive menus. This is food to get excited about.
My Welsh One had come along because he had promised. Despite adequate notice, by mistake the meal coincided with the Welsh quarter final against Belgium. It was bad timing. On our walk from Kemptown to the north laine area our silence was golden.
However, we arrived and I loved the look of the place and I was absolutely buzzing. The chefs were busy plating up and their care and attention to detail was impressive. It reminded me of my favourite fine dining team in London, Fix Restaurant in Hackney.
Every aspect of the dining experience from the menu, to interior decor and the logo on the window looked appealing.
Our menus were presented in a roll with a separate sheet for the drinks and another that showed food miles for each ingredient, where they had come from and if they had been locally foraged.
Our pre-starter arrived and we were presented with salt cured fillet of beef, pickled kohlrabi, rock samphire and charcoal mayo served on a rye bread croute. It was just a morsel and it popped with flavour.
The dishes that followed began with strawberries that fizzed, mackerel with compressed and pickled cucumber, 24 hr cooked beef, a gooseberry and elderflower sorbet with a rhubarb crumble and petit fours to finish. It was a symphony of flavour.
Before each dish one of the kitchen team introduced the course, explaining what they had done and why we might like it in simple terms. Isaac told us afterwards that he likes to share this role out as the whole team is part of the creation process. I got the feeling that Isaac was being slightly modest and that also this approach was a great way of creating a strong team around him. Isaac is still in his early twenties so the success of Isaac_at seems incredible and I get the sense that this is only the beginning.
At the start of the meal my Welsh One and I had decided to try a glass of the recommended white wine each. At £7 a glass my intention had been to have the one glass only but the Horsmonden Dry, Davenport 2013 so suited this moment of summer and tasted so good with its delicate notes of elderflower that we ended up ordering a bottle to share once the glasses had been drained.
My Welsh One was now elated, the Welsh had beaten the Belgians and gone through to the semis of the Euros. He is also (in the domestic sense) a great cook, who cares enough about the ingredients he uses to buy organic onions just for the flavour. He tells me he is not a foodie and does not like going out. As we walked home he also told me it was the best meal out he had ever had. I too felt elated.
Isaac-at, 2 Gloucester Street, Brighton BN1 4EW
With thanks to Wriggle for my complimentary deal and Isaac_at for their hospitality. My effusiveness for this experience completely my own.
Please follow my blog by clicking here to Follow via Bloglovin