Event - H.en Launch Night

Event – H.en Launch Night

If your run up to Christmas has been anything like mine, you will have found yourself running from place to place to catch up with friends and colleagues, attending copious parties alongside making sure the Chrimbo shopping gets done. You could have quite easily missed the launch of new ethical chicken eatery h.en on Trafalgar Street. So, what’s it about?

Coming from a family of restaurant owners and with a passion for ethically sourced, high quality ingredients, owner Philip Ilic decided to open “Britain’s first ethical chicken restaurant” in fair Brighton town.

He tells us, “Brighton happens to be my hometown, but it’s also the perfect location to launch a restaurant which has bird welfare at the heart of its purpose: Brightonians care about the environment and care about the world. Following many encouraging responses to the concept at the launch, I hope h.en can make a positive contribution to Brighton life.”

And Philip keenly checks that his Surrey sourced chicken are the happiest of hens, saying, “For me, it’s all about knowing our chickens have had a healthy, happy life… The current labelling system lulls people into a false sense of security. Ultimately, you can’t trust it and you have to make the effort to visit the farms to really know the conditions.”

The funky, fun decor continues to keep it in the family with interior design by sister Amy Ilic and cohort David Pentland, of Ardour Design. The space is clear, open and oozes a cool-canteen feeling with little touches, such as the colourful chalk you can use to draw over the walls or fresh lemonade in an old style milk bottle.

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A busy launch night at H.en.

The ordering system is simple: choose how you want your chicken cooked; choose from a range of sauces; choose a couple of sides such as corn on the cob or sweet potato fries. For vegetarians there is a haloumi option and not forgetting the stack of sexy salads that were on offer. The cauliflower taboule was particularly moreish (#thingsIdidn’tthinkI’dbesayingaboutcauliflower).

Sexy salads and superfoods to be found alongside ethical chicken.

Sexy salads and superfoods to be found alongside ethical chicken.

Alas, all too soon I was saying goodbye to my dinner buddies and dashing off to my next event. I’m not going to give you the full food review here, that is yet to come (Jan 9th copy of the Brighton Indy, to be exact – CB). I didn’t sample the waffles that will be served with coffee during the day, however, I will say that the chicken burger comes highly recommended.

Lose yourself in the succulent, mouth watering chicken and tasty bap, afterwards light up a cigarette (even though you told the wife you’d quit) and call me in the morning. It was that good.

h.en, 87-88 Trafaglar Street, Brighton. Open daily from 10am to 6pm, and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings until 11pm.

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Words and images by Laura Evans.

Laura was invited as a guest of h.en to the launch party.