Authentic Portuguese cooking from a mother and daughter team
Dina’s Kitchen, Brighton Review
Dina’s Kitchen is easily the best Portuguese restaurant in Brighton & Hove. Mind you, as far as I’m aware – it’s the only one.
Born in Mozambique to a Mozambican mum and Portuguese dad, Dina grew up in Portugal before moving to the UK about 12 years ago. She quit a 9 to 5 office job a couple of years back and started a mobile catering business, which led to regular appearances at Street Diner and various other street food events in and around Sussex.
The restaurant, Dina’s Kitchen has only been open since August this year and as far as I’m aware, is the only Portuguese restaurant in town. I loved the food in Lisbon when I was there and was excited to see if any of those dishes had made it on to Dina’s menu.
Ingredients like the Frango da Guia (typical Portuguese chicken) and Bacalhau (salted cod fish cakes) are sourced from Portugal to give customers an authentic Portuguese experience but pretty much everything else is sourced nice and locally including all fruit and veg, meats from Westdene Butchers in Brighton and seafood from Fish in Hove.
Starters include Bolinhos de Bacalhau (salted cod fish cakes), Coxinha de Frango (chicken drumsticks) and Rissol de Leitao (suckling pig turnovers). We took the option to try one of each of these for a very reasonable £5.50. The Rissol de Leitao was particularly good with plenty of rich, filling like a super pimped up Findus crispy pancake.
We also couldn’t resist the delicious Salada do Polvo (octopus salad), which I ate so much of in Lisbon last year. Dina’s version is lovely and fresh and comes with a generous amount of octopus.
Larger dishes on the menu are a few seafood options including Camarao (prawns and chilli) with rice or fries for and our choice, the Feijoada a Transmontana, a typical dish from Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro province in North East Portugal made with pork, sausage as well as cabbage and beans – this kind of stew was the perfect dish for this wet, cold winter evening. Simple, rustic, honest cooking.
Dina also serves up some delicious sounding meat options, which I’m dying to go back and try! The Bitoque – steak, fries, fried egg and salad (£10) and Frango da Guia – grilled chicken in a lemon, butter or piri piri sauce with fries and tomato salad at £8 for half a chicken or £15 for a whole.
As well as authentic food, Dina has a great, small range of Portuguese soft drinks, wines and liquors behind the bar as well as Sagres and Super Bock beers on draught. I was persuaded to try one of the ominously named ‘Firewaters’ (Portuguese brandy). I went for the best of the bunch, the Aguardente CRF Reserva which was lovely and smooth whilst still punching you in the face.
The kitchen is run by Dina and her mum (awesome) and everything is cooked to order, which can make service slow but at least you know no shortcuts are being taken. Mrs Scoff and I had a lovely evening at Dina’s, hanging out at the bar with some great food and chatting to the friendly team.
This is honest, authentic food for the soul.