For those who are a little food obsessed, like moi – it’s never been more acceptable to shout about where and what you’re eating – I even started writing a blog about it. Eating out is getting more exciting and innovative, hence the obsession we have with blasting it over social media, without feeling embarrassed or over indulgent – It is totally ok to pine after a table at that new opening around the corner like it is to lust over that beautiful £200 coat from Cos.
More and more of us are looking for a type of dining experience that betters from the last, and gives us something new to talk about. Personally, I’m a big fan of eating out – as you’ve gathered – and even more so when it comes to trying something new for the first time. When I discovered what the guys over at Tabl were up to, my ears suddenly pricked up…
What is Tabl?
Home to pop-up kitchens and secret supper clubs, Tabl is an online portal for Brighton/Sussex folk and now Londoners, to get the full DL of one-off food adventures and experiences. The events are ticketed and aren’t for passers by already I feel special and can be hosted almost anywhere, often in a private residence, or somewhere that offers a perfect location for a shared and social dining experience.
Recently I had the pleasure of dining Tabl style, but also finally experiencing that new place around the corner Isaac At.
One of Brighton’s more unique dining hot spots, Isaac At has upheld its sense exclusivity and air of mystery since it opened earlier this year – it’s only open Fridays and Saturdays, oh and the occasional Thursday for one off events…
The team behind Isaac At is young but seriously talented and passionate about food. I drive past the venue on the corner of Gloucester Road/Street everyday and if I’m totally honest, it doesn’t excite me from the outside. This is partly because it’s rarely open when I drive past and partly because when it’s closed, the décor and exterior are reminiscent of a rather dull office – terrible blinds and a little bland. Despite my initial hesitation and opinion of the outside, I had not heard a single bad review, in fact, quite the opposite – it’s a perfect example of how not to judge a book by its cover.
Chatter coming from the guests and kitchen make it feel instantly inviting once you’re inside, and if you can, choose a seat in view of the pass to watch the action in the teeny tiny kitchen – just watching the chefs work around one another in such a small space is clearly a polished technique and brilliant to watch. The décor is simplistic but elegant, clean and crisp and you feel more like you’re in someone’s home once you’re seated which I liked.
The Night: Isaac’s Last Meal
So in true Tabl fashion, this was a one of a kind event and a pop up supper club hosted by a unique restaurant, a refreshing concept for Brighton.
The challenge was to create a menu as though it would be his last and excite a room full of intrigued and conscientious food lovers.
Welcomed with a glass of Ridgeview Sparkling Wine, locally produced, we took our seats at a table with 4 other guests. Because of the size of the venue, sharing a table with others is essential. Usually, I’m an anti social diner – I like sitting at a table for 2 with just the 2 of us – however, in this set up it works and it doesn’t feel over imposing – we had a lovely table with genuinely fun people. When the experience is a performance, its nice to talk about the food and compare notes, but also it’s nice to meet others over good food and a glass * 2 bottles* of wine.
This was followed by a basket of homemade baby breads – a brioche with shallots and a slice of malt loaf served with creamiest of homemade butter.
Starter – Golden cauliflower, fizzy grapes, cinnamon raisins and coriander
Gee whizz, never did I think a cauliflower-based dish would be so tasty. Smooth cauliflower puree, crunch cauliflower florets, juicy/fizzy grapes and a slightly spiced raisin – the textures and flavours of this dish were so thoughtfully put together – like the entire evening – I couldn’t fault it.
Fish – Scallops, butternut squash, butternut squash seeds and rosemary oil
This was my favourite dish. The scallops arrived fresh earlier that day and were beautifully cooked and presented. Although they looked pretty for decorative purposes, the crunch from the butternut squash seeds really added to the overall dish and was a nice contrast to the sweet and smooth butternut squash puree.
Main – Pork loin, salt baked celeriac, smoked apple
My least favourite dish. Before you judge the chefs it’s my fault as I wouldn’t usually choose pork – I simply don’t like it unless it’s a sausage. I didn’t ask for an alternative option because I wanted to try it and see if maybe my tastes had changed and I might enjoy it… it’s safe to say, I’m still not a pork fan. The sauce was really nice and I could at least appreciate the flavours, it’s just the texture that doesn’t do it for me.
Dessert – Chocolate fondant and beetroot ice cream
This was one of the best chocolate desserts I’ve had in a very long time – the pud that kept on giving. Beetroot ice cream worked an absolute treat and softened the sweetness and richness from the fondant. SO much chocolate but in a polite sized portion.
Afters – Chocolate ganache and lemon and lavender sponge
A perfectly indulgent mouthful to end a beautiful evening.
So pork aside, I loved everything that was served to us. The service was on point thanks to the lovely Sophia keeping everyone happy in an effortless fashion, and it was a great to have the chefs talk you through each dish.
The one criticism I would have about the evening was the temperature of the food. Unfortunately this comes with the set up– it’s important to point out that the reality of watching our food being plated up beautifully means it’s a little lukewarm when it finally reaches the table. It was not cold by any means, but it could have been warmer – if I stopped taking photos it might have helped too.
Would I do it again? Absolutely, and I’d like to do something like this with a group of friends and take up an entire table. It would be the ideal birthday or celebratory evening. Did I leave happy and satisfied? Yes but I could easily have eaten another dish or 2. Was it good value for money? In terms of quality, yes it was.
I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for another exciting menu and can’t wait to experience what these guys bring to the table next time.
À toute à l’heure
P.S. This was a complimentary meal, minus the drinks, however all opinions are honest and my own. Thank you to team Tabl and Isaac At for a truly enjoyable and special evening.