Modern, inventive food at MARKET Restaurant & Bar
Boldly dressed in Victorian green tiling, MARKET Restaurant & Bar sits in the centre of Brighton’s Brunswick Village – that trendy little pocket of town right on the Brighton and Hove border. It’s a vision of classy and calm that lures you in visually before anything else.
The name, inspired by the old Camden Market signage that adorns the restaurant’s façade, sets the scene for the entire dining experience at MARKET. The interior all at once says ‘traditional butchers’ – blackboard banner listing specials and a cured ham leg poised on a wooden stand; ‘modern utilitarian’ – exposed copper piping, powder-coated steel, and lots of leather-topped stools to encourage ‘at the bar’ dining. It is a marketplace: a hub for great eating, great drinking and great company.
Owner, Kate’s passion for world cuisine, and her vision in creating the masterpiece that is MARKET is evident. She has gathered together knowledge from a lifetime of world travel and managed to skillfully condense it down into a compact, but more than enticing menu that allows for lots of choice while still remaining small enough for the chef to be able to produce perfection when he cooks.
So, let’s talk about the food. Progressing the restaurant’s theme seamlessly, starters followed by mains are a bygone notion at MARKET. Instead the supplier-driven, inventive menu promotes sharing, listing a selection of dishes to pick from, aptly divided by subheads including ‘From the Mini Market’, ‘From the Greengrocer’ and ‘From the Fishmonger’. You can mix and match smaller plates with bigger plates, choosing to share, or choosing to feast alone. MARKET rewrites the etiquette on what to eat and when to eat it, which is a very welcome touch.
The crispy olives with kale pesto were a real treat and very unusual. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten a hot olive aside from on a pizza, let alone one wrapped in tempura-light batter, and each one was divine. Alongside these came goat cheese churros; little delights served with white truffled honey, which offset their saltiness beautifully.
Next, we welcomed cheese croquetas; being a cheese lover, there’s no way I could resist these. They’re normally served with either ham or jalapeno, but since we couldn’t choose we had both, which worked really well, and the piquant chimichurri yoghurt that we dipped them into brought everything together with a clever hit of both bite and balance.
Squid can so easily be served tough and chewy, but it absolutely isn’t at MARKET. Served with black lentils and a mojo verde garlic and coriander sauce, our squid was cooked exactly how it should be – quick and without fuss allowing its evident freshness to sing for itself. Greedily, we added some truffle and duck fat chips at this point – crispy on the outside and soft and light in the middle – they’re a decision that I’d recommend and will never regret.
Somehow, we still had room for dessert because how can you not when there’s dulce de leche on the menu? Sweet with caramel and creamy too, it was just what our palettes craved after hitting all the right savoury notes. You cannot possibly try all of the truly delicious dishes on the menu at MARKET in one meal, no matter how many of you are sharing, which is one of the best things about it – you’ll just have to keep going back until you have.
MARKET Restaurant & Bar
42 Western Road