Edendum, Italian food served with passion
For a long time, Brighton had a pretty dire reputation for Italian restaurants, with many to choose from but few worth returning to. You’d also be hard pushed to find one that delivered anything close to what you’d experience in Italy. Luckily for us, a few goodies have popped up recently – Cin Cin and Fatto A Mano being examples I recommend.
Edendum (latin for eating) is an Italian restaurant, café and food shop on East Street in the lanes, just a few doors down from Terre á Terre and Indian Summer. It opened a year ago and ever since I’ve been meaning to dine in. Prior to opening the restaurant, partners Diego and Lorenza Cacciolatti, from Piedmont in Northern Italy, already ran a successful Italian produce business (and still do to this day).
Walk inside the restaurant and you’ll see the walls are lined with all Edendum’s products (pasta, sauces and spreads etc), which come from the family’s treasured Italian recipes and contain only natural preservatives. I recommend the artichoke and garlic spread for one – just smear a dollop on top of a good quality steak and fry, easy as that.
Diego, one of the owners, and the host on my visit explained that the restaurant’s menu has been slimmed down since opening, allowing its chefs to deliver less, but better. Divided up into sections of antipasti, pizza, mains, sides and desserts there’s still plenty to choose from.
My dining experience was at lunchtime and it began with the gnocco fritto misto – £18. It’s usually designed for two people to share but we had a smaller, tasting version since we had a lot more of the menu to get through. The deep-fried strips of pizza dough were surprisingly light and fluffy and came served with a selection of very good quality Italian meats and chutneys. Ordinarily, the dish would include four different types of cheese too but as I mentioned, we were just having a tasting.
Then it was onto starters – burrata – £7.90 and gamberoni – £8.90. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, whilst the inside contains stracciatella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. Edendum’s burrata was all this and more; with the green pea puree, red oranges and balsamic vinegar reduction accompaniment bringing it alive with flavour.
The gamberoni tasted just as gorgeous as it looked too, with big juicy king prawns (shells left on) positioned on the serving dish like they were children doing ‘a ring a ring of roses’. Alongside this, teeny tiny florets of crunchy Roma broccoli, pickled beetroots and saffron mayonnaise. The only downfall with both dishes… slate. When it comes to food I’m big on pretty presentation and whilst the white of the burrata worked well on the dark backdrop, the noise that’s made when you cut through slate makes my face contort in such a way that I begin to look like a gnarled tree. Next time, plates, please.
For mains, we went with pizza and gnocchi, both priced at £12.90 and both very well-known Italian dishes but ones that’ll quickly reveal whether a restaurant serves authentic Italian or anglo-Italian food. Edendum’s pizza dough is homemade each day with Italian flour and left to prove for a day to aid better digestion. It was very light and stretchy and despite not being cooked in a traditional manner – via a wood-fired oven – it still tasted pretty good.
The trademark leopard-spotting on the cornicione (crust of the pizza) from charring in the oven was missing and it was a little on the salty side but the fine selection of toppings more than made up for this. The toppings included Italian mozzarella and Fontina cheese, figs and finally, Parma ham. But no tomatoes because it was the ‘white’ variety.
Our final main course was the chicche di patate con verdure di stagione, consisting of deep fried potato gnocchi served with seasonal green vegetables, butternut squash and pine nuts. Gnocci (aka potato pasta), is a dumpling made from potatoes, flour and egg yolk and it dates way back to the 1300s. Although it only has a few ingredients, that does not make it easy to nail – it can take a chef years and years to perfect and there’s no chance of this without a good recipe or tutor. (Great article here with tips on how to make it). Bad Gnocchi will taste dense, chewy or bland but well-made Gnocchi should be well seasoned and taste pillowy soft, to the point where it melts in the mouth. Edendum’s homemade Gnocchi was thankfully the latter.
Despite this being intended as a lunch date, somehow we managed to squeeze in a dessert each too and I’m very glad I reserved a small pudding size compartment in my stomach for it because dessert ended the experience on a high. My guest ordered the Tiramisù – £5.50 a typical Italian pudding made with coffee and custard and which means “pick me up” in Italian. It was very light and very creamy, the perfect dessert to follow a carb-loaded lunch. I went for the gelato caldo – £6.90, which is hot vanilla ice-cream encased in a crisp almond crust on a bed of crimson berry foam. If you’ve ever had a baked Alaska and loved it then this is the dessert for you.
PRICE: £67.30 for 3 courses and drinks
RATING: Must Go | Worth a Try | Give it a Miss
When I eat out I generally want two things. Good food and good service – both of which Edendum delivered with ease. Price-wise it’s in line with similar quality Italians and is fair when you consider Edendum imports the best ingredients from Italy and it’s slap bang in the middle of the lanes. Cin Cin will remain my favourite Italian in the city but Edendum offers more choice and is better suited to families and children. The restaurant is also independently owned but lovely passionate people, which those who are regular readers of my blog will know I’m big on supporting.
69 East Street, Brighton, East Susse BN1 1HQ
Do you know any other great Italian restaurants in Brighton or Hove I should visit? Leave me a comment below or tweet me @foodieeshe. And, if you liked this review please let me know by clicking the heart button below.
*Disclosure my meal and my guest’s were complimentary in exchange for a honest and fair review.