‘Fish Thursdays’ – new waters for fusion tapas bar, Señor Buddha
Tapas bar Señor Buddha, on Preston Road, has dipped its toes into new waters with ‘Fish Thursdays’, widening its appeal to the foodies of Brighton. A six-course menu, entirely of fish (with the exception of dessert), for a very reasonably priced, £30, is offered on an ad-hoc basis. Each dish, which is a fusion of East Asian and Spanish flavours, is freshly cooked by three chefs, in what feels like the smallest open kitchen in Brighton. The effect is quite a hectic and buzzy atmosphere but one that feels fun and lively towards the end of a long week.
Sitting up at the bar enables you to see all the action, at times perhaps a little too much for front-of-house. It’s loud too. The clang of pots and pans, steam and the flashes of flames, as dishes are flambéed, echoes in the small space. I love being in the thick of it though, watching the chefs at work. It won’t be right for you if you want to have intimate dinner and quiet conversation but if you’re ever dining solo, you won’t feel uncomfortable on your own.
Kicking off the set menu we have a bloody oyster shot, which is seriously fiery and tastes of wasabi and mustard. A Trio of Cured Fish follows this, including Lime Plaice, which is very vinegary and not to my taste. Then, Chilli, Ginger and Gin Salmon – the salmon feels like silk and is served with a divine sweet and sticky jam. The final of the trio is a Sesame Seared Tuna, which is served rare. Raw fish isn’t really my thing so I won’t dwell much more on this course.
The third course is Prawn Lobster & Crab Ravioli with Asian Bisque. Creamy and perfumed, but unfortunately underdone, otherwise this would have been a very pleasant dish.
The fourth course of Scallops, Clams & Octopus with Asian Butter comes out and now I’m really excited. Scallops are always my go-to if on the menu. A little on the salty side, but not a hint of chewiness, they get my approval. The octopus, however, has absolutely no flavour. The clams were some of best I’ve had in Brighton and the dish was made by the beautiful buttery sauce accompanying.
The fifth and final main of the evening was a Miso Monkfish & Samphire with Miso & Sake (Japanese wine) Broth. As the saying goes, “save the best until last” and that’s what Señor Buddha did. A simple delicately flavoured dish, that completely stole the show. Every element to it stood out as excellent, from the gorgeous nutty baby potatoes, alongside meaty monkfish, ideal for those that think they don’t like fish and delicately infused with the miso and sake broth, to the distinctly crisp and vibrant green samphire. This is a dish that needs to be a permanent feature on the regular menu.
For dessert, there were three options. Pina Colada Panna Cotta, Bangkok Mess or Chilli Chocolate Fruit. Within moments of scanning the choices, I was drawn to The Bangkok Mess, its name appealing to me personally, as backpacking Thailand inspired me to start this blog and made me fall in love with Asian cuisine.
This dessert is the chef’s secret recipe, so the ingredients couldn’t be shared with me. Served in a thin tulip-shaped glass, it was a mash-up of honeycomb meringue, with a forceful injection of ginger, sweet mango drizzled with thick cream. I nearly always prefer savoury dishes and rarely have room for dessert but this was too good to leave.
RATING: Must Go | Worth A Try | Give it a Miss
SCORES ON THE DOORS: 5/5 from the FSA for food hygiene
I’ve kept an eye on this little restaurant for some time, rooting for its success and excited to see pop up collaborations with Boho Gelato as well as other themed nights. At its heart is someone who loves food as much as I do, which can be tasted in what is served. It’s also the sort of place you can walk into and there’s no need to put on your best attire, which we need more of. Just on food alone it blows the other well-known and traditional tapas restaurants out the water. Forget Casa Don Carlos and Solera, this is where you must go next.
Need to Know
The next ‘Fish Thursday’ is on the last Thursday of the month, 29th September 2016. It’s a small tapas bar and places fill up fast, so be sure to book your table in advance.
Have you tried Señor Buddha yet? What did you think? Where else does great tapas in Brighton? Leave me a comment below and let me know.
*Disclaimer: I was invited to Señor Buddha to review so my meal with complimentary, but as always, my opinion isn’t swayed by freebies and you are getting my honest opinion on the whole experience.