Review – Cin Cin, An Italian Winter Feast
We stare at the large upturned tins wrapped in red paper that sit upon our table. Will be be playing them like bongos and wearing them as hats later when the mulled wine kicks in? This was the beginning of a night where I was welcomed with vigour by organiser David Toscano and the Cin Cin team to their pop-up Italian Winter Feast at Velo cafe. Jamie Halsall returns as chef for the night and David tells us what he is trying to create here is “simply the best Italian food you can have in Brighton, with natural produce”.
So what about our mysterious table decorations? It soon became clear when board after board of antipasto are ceremoniously bought out and set upon the tins for us to share with out table mates. “I’m just warning you,” the lady next to me leans in to say, “you’re going to have to be quick, we love this sort of food”. These were my kind of people.
Thus begins a beautiful evening with new friends and old, plus fabulous food. We get cracking with the crackers and don our paper crowns, ready to enjoy the feast before us. The communal aspect of this course brings us together. We chat over the slab that is presented with such lovely things as melt in the mouth salami slices, olives stuffed with almonds and orange, warm breads and a delicious dip. I’m surprised at how much I love the strong anchovy flavour of this. It’s not long before we have cleared the board.
The first course is a baked pasta of truffle macaroni. This is a deliciously delicate posh mac ‘n’ cheese with a lovely, earthy flavour to it and was presented well.
For main, a generous hunk of roasted pork loin lay before me. This is served with caponata sprouts, fontina potato millefoglie, red cabbage braised in Marsala and sauteed cavalo nero; elements that complement the taste and texture of the meat so well. We knaw away at our strips of crackling with gusto and the potato millefoglie is particularly adored.
For dessert we enjoy a spiced Panetone bread and butter pudding served with a limoncello cream that cuts though the solid but not soggy pudding.
After this I have definitely grown a dress size or two and the final delight comes in the form of presents handed out to all guests. I’m lucky to get a gorgeous Christmas pudding. A delightful end to the night.
Our new friends (hello Ollie and Amy!) wax lyrical about the Summer event and we all agree that the night has been fantastic and we will all come again to enjoy this friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
The waiting staff were attentive and it never seemed like long between courses during this well organised event. David plans on holding more events in the new year and, in the longer term, on opening a restaurant in Brighton; something for us to watch out for. In the meantime, you can find the Cin Cin van at events across the South throughout the year or hire them for catering.
This event was sold on Tabl for £37 per person.
Words by Laura Evans
Laura’s food was complimentary, courtesy of Cin Cin