Dare I say it, the end of summer is well and truly staring at me in my not-so-burnt freckled face. I’m sadly left with limited days to soak up the scorching 20-degree British sunshine along Brighton’s seafront, so I jumped at the opportunity to spend what was a warm Wednesday evening along the South Coast. We had the pleasure of visiting Burnt Orange, the baby sister restaurant to the ever-popular The Coal Shed and The Salt Room and were treated to a smoking hot dining experience that certainly knocked any pre-existing high expectations out of the park.
Arriving at the venue, we wandered through the cute courtyard which was surrounded by weaving plants and greenery and captured the remaining evening sunlight - an ideal setting for alfresco dining. Inside, cobblestone walls are found alongside a textured terracotta décor, dim lighting and chic leather seating.
My sister and I are the first to admit that decisiveness is not our forte when it comes to choosing new dishes, so we opted for The Burnt Orange Experience (£35), which provided us with a collection of small plates across the evening and meant that the hard work of choosing was done for us.
The waitress brought out 4 dishes to start, and I wasted no time in piling up my side plate with the Spiced Calamari Fritti. It contained the perfect amount of crispy coating that didn’t overwhelm the squid, but the best part? These bad boys made for a perfect scoop of the Preserved Lemon Aioli - I would have bathed in the stuff if I could have. To accompany the calamari, a Roasted Garlic and Cumin Hummus that we spooned up with a Wood Fired Flat Bread, containing a subtle hit of cinnamon to scratch the sweet itch. The standout starter plate however was the Lamb Shoulder Cigars. The crunchy coating of the outer cigar flaked into its smoked lamb contents and lit up our tastebuds in ways that I didn’t think were possible.
For drinks, we opted for the recommendation of the Txakoli Hiruzta (£42), a crisp Spanish white wine that contained a prosecco-like fizz, as well as the Sparkling Sorbet (£10), a Grey Goose L’Orange based cocktail which even had a scoop of lemon sorbet in the centre of the glass to boost its zesty twang.
Plates cleared and top buttons of trousers undone, we were ready to go again. Enter our next spread of deliciousness - the Mangalitza Pork Belly, Smoked Miso Aubergine and the Flamed Sea Bream. Each bite of the silky Mangalitza Pork Belly was accompanied by the shawarma spices which were sprinkled across the meat, providing a tantalizing texture and taste combo. The Smoked Miso Aubergine was scattered with crispy onions and lay on a bed of sour cream which I needed no excuse to tuck myself into. The melt in the mouth Sea Bream was cooked to perfection - the flamed skin of the fish coated the flaking flesh and soaked up a fresh basil yoghurt and mango dressing which was plate-scrapingly good.
For the sides? Our Skillet-Baked Potatoes were submerged with Herb Cream and Sheep’s Cheese and sent us to cheesy carb heaven. The tats were accompanied by Heritage Courgettes, which did more than tick a box of a five-a-day by adding a welcome hit of mint and a crunch from the sunflower seeds that were layered across the top.
The DesignMyNight Digest
The brains behind The Salt Room and The Coal Shed have rustled up yet another success story on the South Coast with Burnt Orange. A real must-try spot where the food will leave your bellies blazing with satisfaction from the flavours and textures with each dish, you are sure to feel at home in Brighton’s hottest new hangout. And for that aioli? I'll be asking for the recipe for a friend (me, I'm the friend.)
💰 The damage: £35 for The Burnt Orange Experience, plus around £10 for a cocktail.
📍 The location: 59 Middle St, Brighton BN1 1AL.
👌 Perfect for: A sociable dining experience with friends or family.
⭐ Need to know: The experience covers up to 8 guests, meaning you can group together and chat or graze away without to-ing and fro-ing with a menu.
For more gorgeous restaurants in Brighton, check out our guide here.