A new and innovative cocktail bar in the heart of Brighton’s foodie mecca of Preston Street can be perfectly encompassed in its name, Gung-Ho, an ancient Chinese phrase to mean eager, enthusiastic and ‘working together’.
On our visit, we understood its meaning immediately as we walked through the door and were greeted by the warmth of the bar – and the staff’s personable and friendly approach. Gung-Ho’s décor is minimalistic, with chalkboards and exposed brick providing an sophisticated setting that feels homely; upon being seated, I instantly feel as though I’m sitting in my own living room with a my own personal cocktail waiter ready to create anything that springs to mind.
The bar staff is made up of extremely skilled mixologists who love to play with ideas, and the menu reflects this. Our waiters offered much-needed expertise and advice on our order, while also providing us with water for the table as well as light snacks (olives and crisps) while we read through the menu.
We soon decided we had to try them all, and amid the uniquely creative seasonal cocktail menu, my tongue experienced flavours it had never had the pleasure of tasting before Gung-Ho.
My first hit was the clementine-shrub, candied peel. Made with Maxime Trijol Cognac, orange, lemon and bitters, this is still my favourite. The parsnip – roasted & pureed – is a close second, made with Davna honey vodka, Manzanilla, cinnamon and champagne. Meanwhile, the rhubarb, juiced and peeled, was probably the most unusual of the lot, with Montelabos mezcal, vodka, lime, ginger and a fruit roll.
Gung-ho uses a wide range of ingredients in their cocktails such as mushroom, lavender, walnut and Werther’s Original, which means it’s just as well owner Julien and his staff are on hand to explain cocktails where need be.
What’s more, all of their seasonal cocktails are just £8.50 with a happy hour board listing a few classics for just £6 each. They also house a carefully selected list of wines, beers and spirits.
Don’t forget to pop in before the end of April and quote ‘Nat Rules’ (Julien’s idea, not mine) to get 10% off bills over £10.