32 Brighton & Hove Independent Friday, September 27 2013 www.brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk
Food and drink
PLACES I EAT BRIGHTON With Claire Beveridge www.placesieatbrighton.com @PlacesIEatBtn
Sponsored by Sun Harvest
Little Fish Market, 10 Upper Market Street, Hove BN3 1AS
Website: www.thelittlefishmarket.co.uk Telephone: 01273 722213
Riding a huge wave of success It’s not often you come across a hidden gem such as The Little Fish Market. Unless you were out looking for it - tucked away on Brunswick Street West you’d hardly know it was there, So why is this small fish restaurant fully booked weeks in advance? I met with owner and head chef, Duncan Ray, to find out. Sitting opposite me in his chef whites in the bright dining area of his restaurant, Duncan tells me his career began as a pot wash; he was fortunate enough to have “lucky break after lucky break”. Moving from his first stint in a kitchen in his hometown, he soon found himself training with Marco Pierre White, where “straightaway that was my style: high-end, good quality food,” Duncan says wistfully, blue eyes gazing fondly across the restaurant. His other credits include the early days at The Fat Duck in Bray alongside Heston Blumenthal, which he describes as “extremely eye-opening”, before travelling and returning to take the head chef position at Pennyhill Park Hotel, where he
earned three AA rosettes. His hunger to learn and unquenchable thirst to better himself saw Duncan named as one of the top chefs in the UK, at the tender age of 22. Soon finding the protocol of working for large hotels slightly disillusioning, Duncan reassessed and set up a business providing Michelin-star cuisine for A-listers. It was through this project that Duncan discovered when he showcased his work to an array of customers and worked closely in their home, the feedback was honest and sincere. He used this ethos when creating The Little Fish Market and wanted to bring an upfront and homely atmosphere to the restaurant. “It’s like my living room,” Duncan says, with a smile. Choosing Hove wasn’t hard for Duncan, who refurbished the restaurant with his own fair hand. Upon being complimented for the gorgeous terracotta ceramic floor, Duncan lets on that he laid it all himself. It was small trinkets of information like this that conveyed the love and affection Duncan has for his first solo restaurant venture.
Every dish is cooked by Duncan, with a kitchen porter on hand to support during busier periods. The Little Fish Market keeps its menu simple, yet highly effective. “I buy only off day boats, so it’s as local as it can be...I don’t use any kind of farmed fish, I don’t believe in that,” Duncan says, with honesty. “If a product doesn’t come in, I can’t just get another fish for that dish and expect it to work...they’re engineered dishes.” For a menu that is everevolving and changes with the tide, you can rest assured that each dish is a sublime testament to Duncan’s skill and technique. Mackerel with quail, turbot and baby artichoke, monk fish and pork belly are a few of the dishes that Duncan prepares. “On average, we turn away 60-80 covers on a Friday or Saturday night,” says Duncan. I ask if there are any plans to expand, to which a firm no is the reply. Duncan feels that Hove is the right home for The Little Fish Market and with the hard graft he’s put in to making the establishment his own, I understand why an expansion
wouldn’t be on the cards. Currently sitting as the No1 restaurant in Brighton and Hove on TripAdvisor and with an entry in The Good Food Guide 2014, Duncan is riding a huge wave of success and long may he deservedly do so. It wouldn’t surprise me if we soon see Brighton and Hove’s first Michelin-starred restaurant in The Little Fish Market. Duncan is modest, sincere and above all driven by his undying passion for customer satisfaction and top end cuisine. Book ahead and savour one of the best meals – if not the best -
you can have in the city. Duncan Ray’s top three fish 1 Monkfish 2 Sea bass 3 Red mullet Fantastic wine pairings: • Try a dry and aromatic Sancerre Blanc with grilled red mullet. • Pair a crisp and fresh Macon Village Chardonnay with a creamy sea bass dish. • An Italian wine would work wonders with a roasted, meaty monkfish. Choose a light red such as the Bardolino Classico.
Food Review: Pan Asian food at Yum Yum Ninja Not since the arrival of Wagamama have I looked at a menu and felt just a little bit lost, but that didn’t last long once entering Yum Yum Ninja - the new Pan Asian Kitchen in The Lanes. A warm welcome and an easy bench style seat preceded an informative two minute tour through the menu by the friendly host who also managed to do this without making either of us feeling like idiots. It’s quite simple he said “you just work the menu from left to right choosing 3 options maybe 4 if you are really hungry, a bit like tapas. You can have meat, meat and meat if you want to but we recommend that you choose from our range of meat, fish and
salads” - and it’s true to say the variety was incredible. We took the plunge and chose Dim Sum, steamed bbq pork and fried crispy prawn pancake. This was followed by a delicious leg of duck which was as good as any Chinese restaurant will serve, but then arrived quite simply three of the most beautiful freshly made, stunningly presented dishes I have received in a long time and that was not here in the UK. Beef Tataki - a seared beef sirloin dish which melted on descent, a tray of deliciously prepared Chef’s Mixed Sashimi with everything you would expect; including tuna, salmon, sea bass ginger, and edamame beans all beautifully displayed - and then
a creative and very tasty lobster salad. With different sauces and dips for each dish and attentive (not annoying), knowledgeable and friendly staff it was a fun evening in a warm and cosy atmosphere. Surprisingly we nearly turned down the dessert menu but were encouraged to sample the platter of puddings which delighted in equal measures. No room for coffee, tea, rice or noodles this was not only the tastiest meal I have had in a long time but probably the healthiest too. Yum Yum Ninja can be found in the heart of The Lanes; 15-18 Meeting House Lane, Brighton BN1 1HB
01273 326330 www.yumyumninja.com Yum Yum Ninja have also just launched their “Business Ninja Club” - a £5 lunch menu every weekday between 12-2 along
with free WIFI and networking with fellow ninjas. The menu will change on a weekly basis so check the Yum Yum Ninja Facebook Page for updates on www.facebook.com/YumNinja.