New name. New dishes. Same deliciousness.
Circo, Brighton Review
Senor Buddha is now called Circo and the team invited me down with a bunch of other local food bloggers and press to explain the reason for the name change as well as treat us to some new and exciting dishes.
The new name, Circo was inspired by the restaurant’s proximity to Preston Circus but the big reason for the change is the fact that a second site, called El Pabellón will be opening up this summer in a much more central location.
A warm welcome
We arrived to find a bustling crowd gathered inside Circo and were warmly greeted by Enotria’s Toby Mason who has been working with Circo to offer some awesome wine, sherry and sake including a stunning Spanish cava, which he immediately poured the first of many glasses of!
Next, we had a quick catch up with owner, Lee and then had our first taste of the new menu in bitesize, Pintxo form. First up was a sesame tuile filled with rich salt cod and miso, which was full of umami goodness. Then a shot of ajo blanco with a drizzle of punchy black garlic oil on top. Both more than whet our appetites.
Planta / Plants
Chef John Reed cooked up a couple of dishes from each section of Circo’s menu for us to get stuck in to. First up were a couple of veggie dishes, with the tenderstem broccoli, tofu, pickled mushroom, hazelnut and coconut dish being the star.
I love sherry and was excited to see how well these dishes matched with John’s choice of a dry, fino sherry from Jerez. Very well is the answer.
Pascados / Fish
Calamari with squid ink romesco and pickled chilli is a bit of a Senor Buddha signature and it tasted as good as ever, with plenty of crunch from the light batter and plenty of depth from the rich sauce.
Pickled chillies are a new one for me but I loved them and have since made a big batch at home! They add a subtle heat and really nice hint of zing from the pickling liquor.
We also had an octopus dish, served in a squid ink shard with fennel, sobrassada (a cured sausage from the Balearic Islands) and coriander aioli. Another cracking dish.
Carne / Meat
On to the meat course and beautifully cooked, tender pieces of Iberico presa and lamb rump. The presa was served pink and came with nori, shrimp crumb and romesco and the lamb with homemade lamb bacon, plum sake chutney, chard, fennel and a smooth, rich sauce.
Postre / Dessert
Last up was an almond and lemon tart with mascarpone and basil sherbet. A very pretty dessert that refreshed the palate and was perfectly matched with a delicious plum sake.
Circo carries on the same quality and creativity that made me fall in love with Senor Buddha. There are some great new additions to the team including manager, Dean who was on top form all night and I wish them all the best with the launch of El Pabellón later this year.
The menu is reasonably priced but if you’re on a tight budget, then you’ll be pleased to know there are a couple of weekly nights you can take advantage of.
Head down to Circo on Tuesday evenings for 2 for 1 tapas or Wednesdays for a veggie & vegan feast aka ‘Planta Wednesday’, where you’ll get one tapas, two raciones and a dessert for just £20.
I dined as a guest of Circo but as always, the words and thoughts are my own.