Rediscovering the best tapas bar in Brighton
Revisit: Senor Buddha, Brighton Review
It’s almost a year since my first review of Senor Buddha, which you can read all about here. Now, with a new menu and more delicious wines on offer, Lee invited me back down to check it out.
I’m a little ashamed to admit that Mrs Foodie Brighton and I hadn’t managed to make the short journey to Senor Buddha since the last review, although I did you go back to do a shift in the kitchen with Lee one evening earlier this year, which was a great experience!
The fact I hadn’t been back suggests I didn’t enjoy the experience but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Senor Buddha is one on my top choices (alongside the mighty Bincho Yakitori) when people ask me to name my favourite place to eat out in Brighton – I’m well aware the idea of Spanish/Thai fusion sounds mental but trust me, it really does work!
We were booked in on a Thursday night, which was really nice and buzzy. Arriving to a full restaurant we were glad Lee had saved us a couple of seats up at the bar – the best place to sit if you want to see some action in the kitchen and have a chat with the man himself. There are various other tables if you want a quieter, more private evening.
After a look over the menu board on the wall, we ordered a bunch of the new dishes;
- Fried Sardines with papaya salad
- Salt & Pepper Calamari on a squid ink romesco sauce
- Charred Cauliflower with pineapple & yellow curry sauce
- Iberico Pork Fillet with fennel kimchi
- Cured Beef minute steak with crispy noddles & calabacín (courgette) salad
Once again, it’s was hard to find much to complain about…
For me, the Salt & Pepper Calamari could have done with more or hotter chillies but the squid itself was beautifully tender with a lovely crispy coating and the squid ink & romesco sauce worked perfectly with it.
The Cauliflower Steak is sous vide then quickly charred, which marries really nicely with the sweet and tangy pineapple and the mellow but fragrant yellow curry sauce underneath.
The Cured Beef was much lighter than it sounds. The dressing coats the slices of beef and courgette and the dish has a great contrast of textures from the the tender, flash fried beef to the crispy, crunchy noodles on top.
Papaya Salad (Som Tum) is one of my favourite dishes in the world and something I always order when we go for Thai. Lee’s version feels authentic with the right levels of freshness, heat and zing. The Sardines then provide some extra saltiness to the dish as well as plenty of crunch from their crispy skins. Lovely stuff.
Image credit: XBD Photography
Iberico Pork is a special thing and demands to be treated with respect. Senor Buddha obliges and serves this beautifully tender meat with fresh fennel kimchi and a pretty punchy Korean BBQ sauce. This dish was full of flavour and was really moreish. Probably my favourite dish of the night.
Lee is a great character and there’s no denying his knowledge and passion for what he’s doing. He believes in his cooking and the new dishes feel more refined than our previous visits.
The location, at the end of London Road has always been a bit of an issue for footfall but the recent 2 for 1 tapas promotion that runs on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings has helped pack the place out during the week and… NEWSFLASH! Senor Buddha will be relocating to a much more central location early next year. Exciting!
Senor Buddha started as a pop-up and Lee has started to put on special nights, like Fish Thursday on the last Thursday of each month – 5 courses of fish heaven for £30 as well as occasional tapas / cocktail collaborations with the likes of Brighton Gin and Boho Gelato.
It was great to rediscover Senor Buddha and see how the menu has moved on in the last 9 months or so. It’s easily the best tapas bar in Brighton and one of the most reasonably priced meals out you can have, especially for this quality of cooking.
I dined as a guest of Senor Buddha but as always, the words and thoughts are my own.