Six months into its first year, Pike & Pine relaunches its menu
At the bottom of St James’s St, there’s a treat for those that enjoy the finer things in life – a lavish restaurant that goes by the name of Pike & Pine… but only by night. By day it takes on another guise, Redroaster – a speciality coffee house and café.
Originally, Redroaster was a rundown but well-loved coffee shop with its own roastery just up the road but in April this year, Michelin-starred chef, Matt Gillian, took over with business partner Mike Palmer (owner of Lucky Beach).
The roastery remains, as does the coffee shop but you wouldn’t recognise it now. With the help of Hana Hakim (world restaurant designer of the year 2015/16), it undertook a major renovation, replacing every fixture and fitting from floor to ceiling and transforming it into a dual venue.
Opulent interior design
The style now is now “botanical punk” with geometric tiling, hand-painted illustrations and gleaming brass fixtures, not to mention a huge slab of veined marble encasing the bar. The opulent interior design is complemented by an abundance of green foliage hanging from the ceiling via suspended planters and a lighting rig. I could go on and on about the look of this place because every inch has had so much attention but that’s what the photos are for, so I’ll get straight to the food!
Design your own tasting menu
It’s rare that I’ll go for a tasting menu midweek and I imagine it’s the same for you too – it’s just not very Brighton. Realising this, the Pike & Pine team did away with the restrictive tasting menu and introduced an à la carte offering allowing you to design your own tasting experience or, pick from a handful of dishes (ideal for modest budgets).
Previously, a tasting menu in the restaurant would set you back at least £55 per head and if you opted for the matching wine flight that would be an additional £35 – £55. The relaunched menu is made up of bites, sharers, mains and finally, desserts. The bites average at £3.50, the sharers £8, mains £19 and desserts £8. For those that still wish to experience the formal tasting menu, this can still be requested with the option of 6 (£55), 8 (£65) or 10 courses (£75).
LEFT: Kemptown 69 – Absolute Vodka, Cherry Puree, Chambord, Prosecco RIGHT: Passionfruit mocktail
Rather than regale each of the 12 items we ate, I’ll limit myself to the showstoppers with the hope that this will guide you, should you feel tempted to visit.
The first treat was the cherry tomato with goat’s cheese mousse topped with a sprinkling of black olive and served on a single spoon. It may have been just a morsel but it bursting with flavour.
If truffles are your weakness then you’ll love the Pike & Pine sharer, made with a coffee espuma (foam) with mushroom purée, truffle, confit egg and a parmesan crisp. There’s a lot going on in the one bowl including the bizarre addition of pickled blueberries – but it worked.
Stonebass (sharer) – Cerviche, Mango Salsa, Grapefruit, Tapioca Crisp
Pike & Pine (sharer) – Coffee Espuma, Mushroom Puree, Truffle
Eeryngi (sharer)– King Oyster Mushroom, Raspberry Vinegar, Pickles
As we moved onto mains, things just got better and better… the poached and roast breast of chicken was served on a bed of creamy polenta, so succulent that little effort was required to slice through it. The dish didn’t end there either, besides the breast, there was also a battered, fried chicken leg (think of it as a more refined version of KFC). My Caribbean roots were thrilled with this number.
Next, of note, the Halibut from the mains section – vibrant both in colour and flavours and with a generous hunk of fillet, encrusted with fennel, alongside roasted sand carrot (a superior, sweet and crunchy, flavoured carrot, grown in Normandy), spiced quinoa and a carrot and basil puree.
Pork Belly (main) – Pickled Apple, Roasted Puree, Prune | Chicken (main)- Poached/Roast Breast, Wet Polenta, Battered Leg, Truffle
Halibut (main) – Sand Carrot, Carrot Puree, Fennel Crust
Desserts that are leagues above
Finally, it was onto the desserts and these for me were the most exciting and noteworthy items of the night. Firstly they were a great value at £7-£8 each – particularly when technically these were leagues above so many desserts pitched at that price point in this city. Secondly, they were so delicious that had I been stuffed (I wasn’t) I would have still eaten a whole dish to myself.
I’m a self-confessed chocoholic and although the chocolate cremeaux with cherry sorbet, toasted marzipan and chocolate gel was incredible it was the lemon cheesecake parfait with matcha meringue and green tea sorbet that became the jewel in the crown this evening.
The various green and yellow hues in this dessert were of such gradients, they looked like a Farrow & Ball colour chart and taste matched the dish’s prettiness. The cheesecake was fresh, surprisingly cool and tart. The green marshmallow cubes were light and squishy and together with a stickiness of the meringue sticks – it was a lot of fun to eat.
Lemon (dessert) – Parfait, Macha Meringue, Green Tea, Lemon Curd
Chocolate (dessert) – 63% Cremeaux, Cherry Sorbet, Pistachio Paste
Rating: Must Go | Worth A Try | Give It A Miss
Price: £84 for 12 dishes (shared between two)
Overall, I was very impressed with the food and the service was well paced. The light bites, mains and desserts were all excellent but I could have happily skipped the sharers, which didn’t grab me in terms of flavour and were too small to share for their price. It’s the sort of place to have up your sleeve when you’re looking to impress. Be it a business lunch, dinner, romantic meal for two or a “just because” treat for yourself – both the interior style and food will spoil you.
Pike & Pine
1D St James’s St, Kemptown, Brighton, BN2 1RE
*I was invited to a press dinner for the new menu and as a result, I dined as a guest with friends.
+Interior photographs supplied by Pike & Pine.
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