Spanish & South East Asian fusion comes to Brighton and no, we didn't know what to expect either
Senor Buddha, Brighton
As the name suggests, Senor Buddha serves up fusion dishes with Spanish and South East Asian influences. Both these cuisines focus on freshness, big flavours and perfect balance but do they work together?
Senor Buddha was born out several successful popups and now finds itself in restaurant form just off Preston Circus, which is hardly a foodie hotspot but great places are popping up over this side of town more and more, including the likes of Fatto a Mano.
We went down for dinner at Senor Buddha a few weeks back and had a slightly Fawlty Towers-esque experience (but couldn’t fault the food). This time, we were here on Lee’s invitation to check out some dishes from his new menu.
The space is cosy, with just a few tables available along with 6 or so bar seats with a view of the open kitchen and Lee at work. We sat at the bar and recommend doing the same if there’s space so you can see your order being cooked in front of your eyes.
On both visits I’ve been really impressed with Lee’s knowledge of his ingredients. He clearly has a lot of love for each cuisine he’s playing with and understands how to balance the flavours from each. He’s also passionate about his wine and spirits with some great small batches on offer, so don’t pretend you know what to pair with your order – let the man choose.
We started with large glasses of the lovely, smooth but zesty 2014 Saint Desir Sauvignon Blanc from South West France then moved on to the 2014 Matsu El Picaro, Toro from Spain, which has one of the coolest labels I’ve seen for a while! Both were fantastic.
The stand out dish for me was probably the Thai 7 Spice Pork Belly (£7) which absolutely superb with textbook crackling, tender, juicy belly meat and a stunning broth – make sure you get some bread to soak it up.
One of the dishes I was most keen to try after seeing a photo on Twitter was the Black Beer Clams (£5) – Spanish white clams cooked in Estrella Galicia and Asian spices. Bit of a faff to get the clams out of the glass but good fun nonetheless. This broth was much stronger than the one that comes with the pork belly and was a bit too intense for me but had an incredible depth of flavour to it.
The beautiful Sherry Pig Cheek Croquettes (£4.50) served with Asian piccalilli are a must-have. The cheeks are slow cooked in sherry and Thai spices so the meat is tender and full of rich flavours and the piccalilli provides a perfect, sharp contrast.
I’m getting better at ordering veggie options these days and the Goats Cheese, Lemongrass and Black Sesame Mousse (£6) is a cracking dish for any plant fans out there. Goats cheese and lemongrass is a new combination for me but it totally works and the pairing with honey roasted, chilli and teriyaki baby beetroot is equally inspired.
Other dishes to mention are the Octopus Tentacle and Mountain Mutton Stew at £6.50 a pop, which we had on our first visit and loved. The stew oozes South East Asian authenticity and the octopus is a perfect example of Lee’s fusion style.
Senor Buddha is a great addition to Brighton’s restaurant and is serving up quality dishes in a fusion style that will put a smile on your face.
I dined as a guest of Senor Buddha but as always, the words and thoughts are my own.
|Thai 7 Spice Pork Belly||£7.00|
|King Scallops & Red Curry Aubergine||£7.00|
|Goats Cheese, Lemongrass & Black Sesame Mousse||£6.00|
|Sherry Pig Cheek Croquettes||£4.50|
|Black Beer Clams||£5.00|
|Tequila & Avocado Ice Cream||£3.00|