A new ethical chicken restaurant is set to spread its wings in Brighton. Opening on Thu 11 Dec, h.en will serve high-welfare grilled or fried chicken, with sweet potato fries and a salad bar.

The restaurant owner Philip Ilic is passionate about sourcing the right produce. He buys his chickens from Brookland Farm in Surrey, where the birds have the highest quality of life with plenty of outdoor space. Chris Pinard, the owner of Brookland Farm, produces 85% of his own feed.

Philip Ilic said: “For me, it’s all about knowing our chickens have had a healthy, happy life. The current labelling system lulls people into a false sense of security – ultimately, you can’t trust it and you have to make the effort to visit the farms you get your produce from to really know the conditions. It has been incredible to collaborate with Chris with his passion for his chickens whilst knowing they have had the highest welfare.”

“We aim to be completely transparent about where we source our ingredients from, and I welcome any discussions about the welfare of our birds,” he added.

Chris Pinard said: “We describe our poultry as a step back in time but a leap forward in quality because we rear them for flavour and you can’t hurry that. It’s great that this is being recognised by h.en and we are delighted to be their chosen supplier as we both have the same aim of giving the customer the tastiest high welfare chicken we can.”

Every item on the menu is made in-house, developed by their chef, from scratch. The chicken is marinated in a secret h.en sauce and can be served in two ways, either grilled or battered then fried in a healthier rice bran oil. There will also be a salad bar with a wide variety of choice plus a veggie burger to satisfy vegetarians. The restaurant will also serve brunch, which will feature eggs cooked in various ways (including traditionally soft boiled), plus coffee with Dutch stroopwafels (syrup waffles).
The interior and emphasis on reusing materials comes from Philip’s sister, Amy Ilic and David Pentland, both from Ardour Design. The company puts an emphasis on reusing materials were possible and sees opportunity where others see waste. Furthermore, they have designed the systems in the restaurant to be as environmentally friendly as possible. One of these systems is the tiffin box scheme whereby people leave a £5 refundable deposit, and are given a stainless steel tiffin box to take their food away in. More sustainable ideas will come from h.en in the near future.

h.en is at 87-88 Trafalgar Street, Brighton.