It’s a lively Saturday night in town and Hove’s latest bistro, Wild Flor, is packed. What ended up being their busiest night so far, drinks and conversations were flowing well into the night. I sat at a cosy candle lit bar at the window and I couldn’t help but notice how many passers by were intrigued by the new restaurant as lots of people were peeking in and checking out the menu.
Wild Flor is managed by James Thomson, ex Cin-Cin manager from Worthing, who met wine specialist, Robert Maynard, from Stenning, by working at the Ginger Pig in Hove together. Joined on the front-of-house is Faye Hudson, also from the Brighton area, who met head chef Ollie Darby by working together at The Gingerman.
After refining their various strengths and with over 15 years in the industry, the four friends and former Gingerman Restaurants Group colleagues finally decided to take it on for themselves. Faye Hudson said: “Ben and Pamela who own The Gingerman are an inspiration.”
To start, we tried a recommendation from Faye, an already popular dish – veal sweetbread, peas, almonds and sherry cream sauce. It was extremely tender and the sweetbread was nice and crunchy.
Faye said that when putting the menu together they knew the veal was good but they didn’t expect it to be this successful. Some customers have come back just to order it, she revealed whilst chatting about the dish. Thanks to its grand first impressions, it’s unlikely this will come off their ever-evolving menu.
Robert, as you would expect from a wine specialist, is very passionate about what his wine list offers. He expertly matched each dish with a particular wine, so as you can imagine I was excited to taste his recommendations.
He paired the much-loved veal with a light and fruity red wine, a 2016 Nebbiolo d’Alba by Tibaldi from Italy, apparently it pretty much goes with anything, and to be honest, it complimented both starters and could even be consumed on its own.
Increasing wine availability is a big part of what Wild Flor want to do, they chose to do lots of wine by the glass – boasting a list full of them.
Robert explained: “We wanted to open up the wine list so if people don’t want to commit to a bottle, can’t drink a whole bottle, or just want to try a variety of wines, they can order by the glass.”
We also tried the asparagus which was paired with a dry and fruity white
Assyrtiko, from the Greek Estate Argyros. With generous portions of asparagus, shavings of strong cheddar, and sprinkles of chervil and hazelnut dressing, nothing seemed misplaced on the plate which was full of flavour.
Next, we tried the highly recommended and new addition, BBQ pork collar. Cooked on an egg grill, think mini BBQ, the pork was soft and drenched in a fishy sauce with capers and a hint of chorizo. Served with fresh broad beans, there was also a kick from scattered peppercorns, making it a really warm and filling meal.
Wine pairing wise, the best match was a ten-year-old Flowers Chardonnay as this with the ‘Risotto of Aged Pecorino’ was especially appetizing. The strong hearty cheesy risotto with truffle and mushrooms added another layer when combined with the earthy white wine.
To finish an already enjoyable evening, we tucked into a light and sweet Paris Brest. The nutty pastry dessert was light and filled with a lavish portion of praline filling finished with a sweet dollop of cherry topping.
From start to finish, each dish was really homely and packed with flavour, there is a reason why Wild Flor is seeing regulars returning already, despite only recently opening their doors only four weeks ago.