Flint House in a nutshell
A buzzy, modern small-plates restaurant and cocktail bar in the heart of Brighton’s revamped Lanes.
Photograph: David McHugh
Flint House is the local Gingerman Group’s fifth opening (there are three others in Brighton and Hove, one on the South Downs) led by chef Ben McKellar and his wife and business partner Pamela McKellar.
What’s the vibe?
Set within its own purpose-built two-storey ‘house’ (the exterior a mixture of bare bricks, cobblestones and a ‘living’ wall; the interior featuring dark industrial-style fittings), Flint House has a buzzy vibe, with funky, upbeat music, attentive, cheery staff and prompt service – this is small-plates dining, so the steady flow of dishes is appreciated.
Portions are ideal for two to share, making this a good date-night option – ask for a stool at the pass, where busy waiting staff and chefs weave and mingle, if you really want to get close to the action.
What’s the food like?
The small-plates menu breaks down your options into raw/cured, fried/toast, meats, fish and vegetables – there’s a lot that’s tempting on the menu (while deciding, get the bread with umami-rich, soft-as-whipped-cream miso seaweed butter), so it’s a case of keep ordering two or three at a time until you’ve only got space left for dessert.
Truffle salami. Photograph: Xavier D Buendia (xdbphotography.com)
Stand-out dishes included a bream ceviche with sharp lime juice offset by sweet pops of fat golden raisins, chilli slivers and micro coriander; crunchy, juicy, peppery radishes that were simply dressed with crème fraîche and seasoned with a sprinkling of intensely savoury, salty furikake (a Japanese seasoning); and braised squid rings (an instant hit of the sea) lifted by rich tomatoes, the vinegar tang of black olives and the deep, lingering heat of ’nduja. Perhaps avoid the rather oily deep-fried pig’s cheek croquettes that came with a slightly cloying burnt apple purée.
Salt-baked beetroot. Photograph: Xavier D Buendia (xdbphotography.com)
For dessert, opt for the chocolate and peanut butter parfait sandwich (like a Reese’s peanut butter cup in joyous pudding form) with crunchy little jewels of peanut brittle and a fluffy white chocolate mousse alongside.
And the drinks?
Go for the refreshing Flint House Fizz, a mixture of sharp rhubarb liqueur and cordial, a tangy dash of red wine vinegar and topped up with sparkling wine, with a sweet, boozy maraschino cherry waiting at the bottom of the glass. The wine menu includes a healthy selection of local Sussex vintages, including a number of Ridgeview sparkling wines and a crisp, pale-white Albourne Estate Bacchus.
Photograph: Xavier D Buendia (xdbphotography.com)
Flint House doesn’t do reservations, so you may have to wait a while on a weekend evening, especially if you’re after a seat at the pass. But no matter when there’s a sleek bar upstairs with an outside terrace, mixing up cocktails the likes of Quartz, a pink, foamy combo of kaffir lime leaf, Aperol, elderflower, lime, sherbet-like egg white and soda; and Copper, a subtle yet potent mix of calvados, sour apple and miso. If you’re feeling peckish while you wait, order in some stuffed-to-bursting, sweet and tangy blue-cheese-stuffed dates wrapped in salty pancetta – you’ll want seconds.
Photograph: David McHugh
Words by Dominic Martin
Flint House, Hannington’s Lane, Brighton BN1 1GS