Review – The Chimney House
Tucked away at the top of Hamilton Road, The Chimney House is half table service restaurant (or gastro-pub if you will) and half local boozer. Harvey’s on tap, a decent spirits selection and friendly, welcoming bar-staff.
The Chimney House ethos is simple: “quality food and drink in a relaxed and family friendly atmosphere”. Produce is sourced as locally as it can be and includes vegetables from Fin & Farm, meat from Garlic Wood Farm and fish from both Shoreham and Newhaven boats.
As you enter the large pub, one side is full of roaring laughter and rustic bar-snacks/lighter bites including homemade sausage rolls, potted shrimp and rarebit; and the other candle-lit, romantic without being too slushy and date-night heaven. The Chimney House isn’t just for wining and dining, families are most welcome and the food menu ensures that children are well catered for.
Sitting facing the open plan kitchen – a great touch and always fantastic to see your food being prepared – we started with a refreshing house gin and Fentimans, whilst mulling over the menu. I couldn’t help but order a portion of pork crackling (£2), which turned out to be light curls of pig that really melted-in-the-mouth. A great pre-dinner nibble.
The menu has a rural, countryside charm to it; a rarity found inside a city such as Brighton. Dishes change regularly, especially with the seasons and we agonised over parsnip soup, bread-crumbed pigs head, leek and stilton tart, smoked haddock with squid and celeriac and pigeon with turnip and salted plum.
We ordered a bottle of Italian Primitivo del Salento – a gorgeous fruity red with hints of plum and black cherry – and started with pickled sardine with salsify, buttermilk, elder and rye (£6) and spelt and crisp bread, smoked egg yolk, sour cream and foraged leaves (£5.50).
Delicately and beautifully presented, the sardine oozed a delicate but rich oil that paired beautifully with the subtle elder and rye, the latter of which gave a satisfying crunch to the plate. The buttermilk was an innovative and interesting addition to the dish and was exceptionally light. I couldn’t help but marvel at the charming nature of the dish and excellent balance of texture and flavour. The vegetarian starter was also very much enjoyed, with praise given to both presentation and flavour.
For mains we grazed on mutton leg and shoulder with rape greens, Jerusalem artichoke and beer vinegar (£15) and a vegetarian tasting plate (£13) that contained a plethora of carefully constructed dishes such as turnip and malt, cauliflower fritter, carrot and whey and woodruff gel.
The mutton was perfectly cooked and packed a lot of flavour into the four rounds of pink and brown flesh that curved around my plate. The meat paired well with the earthy, nutty Jerusalem artichoke but drizzle more of beer vinegar wouldn’t have gone a miss. The impact of the rape greens should also be noted; peppery, crisp and great to see the kitchen team use this lesser-known vegetable.
The Chimney House is how every local pub should aspire to be. Talented chefs using local, seasonal produce to create well balanced dishes that combine excellent flavour, presentation and textures. A credit to the Brighton & Hove food scene.
The Chimney House, 28 Upper Hamilton Road, Brighton, BN1 5DF
Originally printed in the Brighton & Hove Independent Friday 13th March 2015