Shhh….do you want to know a secret x
This restaurant is one of London Road’s hidden gems.
Known to the wise foodies of Brighton as Señor Buddha, now the re-named and re-branded CIRCO. But fear not, it’s still serving amazing tapas style Spanish-Asian blended food.
With a warm, friendly smile we were welcomed by Dean and seated at the bar- with a full view of the bustling kitchen.
Dean immediately served us a glass of vegan white wine (Mariona muscatel sauvignon blanc) and told us that it really is amazing. He was right, it was.
The wine was smooth and slightly sweet, with a hint of a subtle peachy flavour, it went down well with our first tapas - and my personal Spanish favourite, Pimentos de padron. They were perfect, not too oily and not overcooked, with a slight kick, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Whilst we waited for the first course I chatted to Head chef John, who was hard at work, he explained the first dish was a carrot and fennel salad, and that they are keen Picklers and fermenters, and this paid dividends for the food. It was indeed a delicately balanced dish,amusing the tastebuds with lovely slightly tangy undertones.
My guest for the meal was my ex husband James, a very proud meat eater. I knew Circo would have a hard sell with its Vegetarian Wednesday menu “La Planta” .
But as I tentatively looked over to James, and the empty plate and nodding of the head I realised they were winning him over.
My mouth was watering as we watched plate after plate of vibrant and unusual dishes leaving the kitchen to the packed restaurant. One dish caught our eye immediately and that was the wild boar, and after watching the crowns of crackling on top of the boar the was lying on a smooth butter bean mash- I caved and asked if we could try the dish also.
It was a good choice - the moment you have a mouthful of the boar combined with the carrot jam and silky mash topped with Pepitoria sauce - (which is the powder that results from roasting and grinding up the squash seeds (pepita in Spanish) every mouthful was a joy.
The next 2 dishes for the La Planta menu were tenderstem broccoli with pickled mushroom, chilli,plum and cashew nuts and grilled goats cheese with pickled grapes, apple and ginger.
The broccoli had been perfectly cooked slightly sweet and charged at the same time - the pickled mushrooms, chilli’s and plums bouncing around so pleasantly,with the added beautiful surprise of a toasted cashew and bit of mint with every other mouthful.
Whilst the goats cheese itself had a fantastic flavour it played second fiddle to the pickled grapes, I could have eaten a whole bowl of those on there own.
After this we were served a wonderful glass of Delgado Zuleta NV Premium Pedro Ximénez sherry, that is so full of flavour it paired wonderfully with the avocado mousse
Circo wins you over quickly with it’s at ease nature, friendly and chatty staff and some of the best food I have had in Brighton.
A hidden gem producing interesting and imaginative dishes that are not over priced, this intimate venue will have you coming back for more.
I can’t wait for the opening of the second restaurant in the summer, I have no doubt the food with be as mesmerising as CIRCO.