Wild Flor, Brighton: restaurant review
Try silky soft veal sweetbread and darne of sea bass with a wild garlic hollandaise, alongside a glass of sherry-like vin jaune, at this refined Hove bistro
Read our restaurant review of Wild Flor, or check out our favourite places to eat in Brighton and Hove here...
Wild Flor in a nutshell
An intimate, smart, welcoming neighbourhood bistro in Hove that matches affordable, high-quality wines with classic British and French comfort food.
Wild Flor is the creation of Robert Maynard, Faye Hudson and James Thomson, all former FOH staff from the acclaimed local Gingerman group of restaurants.
Their chef, Ollie Darby, has a background in fine-dining restaurants across Sussex, including The Gingerman in nearby Kemptown.
What's the vibe?
Wild Flor is an intimate, 36-cover space with simple dark-wood tables and chairs, a muted-grey banquette along one wall, exposed brick walls and low lighting.
The welcome is jovial, relaxed and familiar, and you're given a sense that those front of house have a passion for what their restaurant is trying to do – especially when it comes wine-pairing suggestions to match your personal tastes.
What's the food like?
The à la carte menu offers a choice of snacks (including a meltingly tender hogget croquette in a crunchy breadcrumb shell with basil oil for mopping), and a concise selection of starters, mains and desserts (plus cheeses), focussing on comfort classics and seasonal ingredients.
Asparagus starred twice on our visit, first in a starter accompanied by salty, satisfyingly chewy cheddar curds, toasted hazelnuts and a chervil dressing.
Our other starter was the highlight of the meal: a silky-soft veal sweetbread matched with fat, pop-in-the-mouth peas, crunchy toasted almonds and a cloud-light sherry cream sauce.
The mains mostly take their lead from classic French and British cookery – expect terrines, croquettes, slow-cooked meats and simply cooked fish.
We went for a smoke-kissed darne of sea bass, the soft flaky flesh still encased in its skin, alongside a glossy, temptingly pungent wild garlic and asparagus hollandaise, with breadcrumb topping; and a risotto of aged pecorino, which was rich and earthy, thanks to the truffle, sweet button mushrooms and crunchy pangritata topping.
For dessert, a slice of egg custard tart was luxuriously creamy, with a hint of nutmeg and a thin, short pastry.
The other choice, a rich dark chocolate mousse with salted caramel rubble was well balanced by a light yogurt sorbet.
And the drinks?
Wine has equal billing with the food, so Wild Flor excels at pairing its dishes with expertly curated bottles and glasses of wine.
The wine list is Euro-centric and offers an impressive selection of aged, good-value (starting at £5) classic and more adventurous wines by the glass.
We began the night making our menu choices sipping on a well-mixed, punchy negroni.
We then asked to try some more unusual options to pair with our starters and mains, and every suggestion worked well – we particularly enjoyed the French, dry fino-sherry-like vin jaune alongside the veal sweetbread, and a stunningly crisp, floral Austrian grüner veltliner matched nicely with the sea bass.
Wild Flor, 42 Church Road, Hove BN3 2FN
Words by Dominic Martin
Photographs by Roarke Pearce