Review – The Brunswick
A truly blessed thing is meeting someone with a passion to get involved in the local community and share a wealth of knowledge, especially when it comes to food. The Brunswick pub on Holland Road perhaps doesn’t look like it houses a new breed of chef, however, Ed Heller is changing that outlook with his fresh approach to pub kitchen cooking.
Having relocated to Brighton from a farm in rural Hampshire, Ed leaves behind a 5 acre small holding containing an unprecedented amount of homegrown produce. Luckily for us, his plot of land is tended to by his fiancé, enabling Ed to concentrate firmly on bringing local produce to The Brunswick pub and using it in his carefully crafted menu.
“Does a chef truly know where his food comes from? I’m going to bring you down a salad shortly and I can point at that plate and say that I grew 80% of that food. The 20% I didn’t grow would be the orange, which we haven’t got the climate for here and the goats cheese which actually came from the farm next door to me in Hampshire” Ed informs me when we met to discuss his arrival to the large community pub on Holland Road.
The salad in question was a marvel, a cleverly orchestrated blend of warm goats cheese, roasted beetroot, orange and pine nuts, delicately scattered with micro herbs including red vein sorrel, ruby chard and amaranth. The end result was a vibrant and delectable salad so fresh you could almost taste the soil it grew from.
Ed’s small holding may be over an hour away but this doesn’t mean he can’t utilise the space at The Brunswick to ensure a higher level of freshness. “We looked at the space we have here and we’ve got a wonderful roof terrace and it’s doing nothing and it’s right outside my kitchen door. So I’ve created a germination room upstairs, seeds are already growing and germinating and we will eventually be moving those out to the roof terrace.”
Taking the roof terrace one step further, Ed plans to promote the area as ‘chefs table’; an ideal location to relax with a glass of wine as the rays shine on the Brunswick’s sun trap back garden. It goes without saying that this area will be a private dining space for up to 10 guests with Ed picking and choosing herbs from the collection growing around you.
For the moment though, Ed’s focus is on developing a menu that is consistent and reflects the produce from his small holding. Changing daily, the food on offer will be a mix of traditional pub grub and more classic bistro dishes, at very competitive prices due to Ed’s low overheads from growing much of the ingredients himself.
“There’s a satisfaction you get out of saying ‘I grew that, I cooked that, you ate that’ Ed says with a smile, keen for word to spread about his refreshing take on dining in Brighton and Hove.
Originally printed in the Brighton and Hove Independent Newspaper 28/02/14
Words + photos by Claire Beveridge