Review of Grow 40, in the North Laine
At just £45, the Grow 40 seven-course tasting menu is exceedingly good value.
If there’s a choice between pub grub and fine dining – fine dining wins it for me. But my bank balance couldn’t handle it if I ate like that all the time.
If you’re in the same camp as me, you should have Grow 40 on your radar. It’s positioned on the corner of Kensington Gardens, directly opposite Infinity Foods and beneath L’Atelier Du Vin (which I’ve talked about previously), and its owner is the same person too.
New chef, new menu
A lot of people may know it as “that place that does lobster and chips” but it actually relaunched back in June with a brand-new chef on board who reinvigorated the menu.
A relaxed and unpretentious atmosphere
Grow 40 is now more of a nod to a fine-dining restaurant but not in a stuffy, pretentious way – here you can rock up in jeans and a jumper, sit back and relax with a great glass of wine (or three) and enjoy flavoursome, inventive dishes with really great service.
Bistro menu by day, fine dining by night
What you get now is a bistro menu championing local produce by day – with breakfast favourites such as Eggs Benedict, omelettes, Full English and corned beef hash in the mornings, followed by burgers, ciabatta sandwiches, soups and cheese and charcuterie for lunch. But by night it’s a whole different ball game with locally-sourced tasting and a la carte menus.
Seven delicious tasting plates
The tasting menu is £45pp for seven courses, plus they throw in bread, snacks and a palate cleanser. If you’re a wine drinker, I’d suggest treating yourself to the flight as it’s only an extra £20 – again really good value. Feeling really flush? You want the Champagne flight instead (£95).
Here’s a rundown of the tasting menu I was invited to review:
Snack (first) – Truffle Popcorn
I find popcorn moreish enough without truffle added to the mix – this stuff was dangerously so.
Snack (second) – Brioche Bread Rolls
Sticky brioche buns with homemade bone marrow and seaweed butter.
First course – Ox Cheek Doughnut
Two balls of light dough stuffed with tender ox cheek meat and creamy horseradish topped off with a dusting of icing sugar. This one was a little odd, I felt, because of the meat and sweet combo but I couldn’t fault the tender ox cheek as an element on its own.
Second course – Tomato Burrata
A summery treat of fresh tomato, smoked burrata cheese, tomato emulsion, basil, vinegar gel, olive oil pearls and crispy tomato skin.
Third Course – Chicken Consommé
Quail egg with a rich and aromatic chicken consommé seasoned with miso.
Fourth Course – Mackerel, Avocado & Apple
This crispy skin-on mackerel came with a fresh cucumber purée, avocado, apple and radish. It was absolutely gorgeous too – tangy with silky pearls filled with a creamy textured sauce.
Palate Cleanser – Apple & Wasabi Sorbet
Wasabi can be overwhelming but this was just right – not too overpowering but with enough of a kick to make you sit up and take note. Oddly perhaps, I can even see this working as a breakfast smoothie.
Fourth Course – Wagyu Beef
A divine cut of Wagyu short rib beef, slow-cooked for 12 hours and served with smoked leek, carrot three-ways (puréed, roasted and sliced in ribbons). This course was devilishly rich and velvety with gorgeous, gentle smoky undertones.
Sixth Course – Summer Berry Salad
A fruits of the forest salad with a biscuit crumb and yoghurt – simple, light and refreshing – my perfect dessert.
Seventh Course – Milk, Dark & White Chocolate
I mean, two desserts – how spoilt can you get!
RATING: Must Go | Give It A Miss | Worth A Try
PRICE: £45pp + £20pp wine flight
There’s going to be a whole new set of seasonal dishes on the tasting menu now but if you like what you’ve seen, give it a go. After all, £45 for this quality and quantity of food is not easy to come by, unless you’re dining at a pop-up. Not only that, but the vegetarian tasting menu really competed well with the meat one, so there are options for both diners. And dare I say it – some of the vegetarian dishes trumped the meat ones without contest.
40 Kensington Gardens, Brighton, BN1 4AL
*Disclaimer: I was invited to dine but rest assured, when things aren’t up to scratch I still say so.
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