Generally speaking I do aim to review places that I’m experiencing for the first time – which may be true of the venue itself, but is certainly not the case with Cin Cin.
I first discovered Cin Cin a good few years back when they were serving up great Italian street food from a vintage Fiat at festivals. I was blown away by David and his passion for food and drink and have been an avid fan of Cin Cin on Vine Street since it opened a couple of years ago. So my expectations were extremely high when I booked a table at their new restaurant on Western Road in Hove.
We are greeted at the door and I’m immediately taken in by the warm, homely atmosphere of the place. I was slightly worried this would have been lost, as the venue is larger than Vine Street but they have managed not only to replicate the vibe but to give it its own personality – perhaps a little more lively with the busy open kitchen and bar full of people chatting and enjoying themselves.
I think the majority of times that I have visited Vine Street I’ve been lucky enough to be served by David or his manager Fabricio, who have always helped me with menu decisions, so I rather put the team at Western Road to the test. All the staff were incredibly sweet and helpful with a particular mention of Fleur who looked after us impeccably all evening.
I order myself a Cin Cin americano – a concoction of vermouth, Aperol, tonic and orange bitters while my dining partner opts for my second choice of a bergamot spritz which is a mix of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, ruby grapefruit, grapefruit bitters and Prosecco.
We decide to go for some nibbles to accompany our ‘aperitivi’ – (when in Rome and all that) and order some Nocellara del Belice olives, focaccia & extra virgin olive oil and the venison bresaola which is cured venison fillet that comes served with shaved Parmesan & piled high with rocket and drizzled with balsamic.
Not to get too over excited about a drink but these were both absolute perfection and beautifully paired with our selection of mouth-wateringly good nibbles.
We drank, chatted and nibbled whilst we studied the menu and were recommended rabbit & saffron arancini and leek scarpinocc to start, followed by roasted gurnard for me and garganelli with lamb and kale pesto for my companion Natalie.
The first dish I ever tried at Cin Cin was a rabbit croquette which I have raved about ever since – and the arancini was much to the same standard. A crunchy outer shell filled with creamy risotto rice and a rich luscious rabbit sauce served with crispy prosciutto and parsley mayonnaise – it was scrumptious.
The leek scarpinocc was stuffed with truffled potato and rosemary and came with a velvety cream sauce that was poured over the pasta by our waitress – which although seriously indulgent was divine.
I must admit at this point we were starting to question why we had ordered more food but as soon as the gurnard arrived, so did my appetite. The skin was beautifully crisp and the white flesh flaked away as I cut into it, paired with the luxurious Jerusalem artichoke puree and winter caponata was a real explosion of flavours and textures.
I managed to squeeze in a mouthful of Natalie’s garganelli which was also was delicious. The pasta was served slightly al dente with aromatic pesto and juicy chucks of lamb – truly authentic.
There are a few key points on my list that a restaurant needs to nail for me to really love it and Cin Cin is yet to let me down on any.
It remains solidly in my top 5 restaurants of Brighton and now, Hove.
13-16 Vine Street Brighton BN1 4AG
Words by: Anya Zervudachi