H.EN Review

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The staff at H.en champion what customer services truly means. With my every visit to the restaurant, I’ve been bowled over by their care and attention to detail. These people love working here, they love the food and they know what they’re talking about. Comparisons have been made between the Brighton establishment and Nando’s though, in my opinion, the two are worlds apart. United in chicken, chips and chilli sauce, the similarity ends there – they’ve got their own thing going on, so no more Nando’s talk – please.

H.en’s interior is quirky and with an eclectic mix of reused and re-loved furniture and decoration. The aesthetic is bang on trend without being too pretentious thus making it an accessible eatery. The vibe is just right. With good lighting and a relaxing soundtrack, I love the fact that the restaurant caters for all and makes any diner feel at ease.

The menu is simple, honing in on their strengths, and not only that, it’s good value too. You can combine burgers, grilled or fried chicken and halloumi with a selection of sides to create your own plate of H.en delights. I say plate, however, dishes are presented in inventive and different ways to add a smile to the face of its diners.

Taking our seats, we put our trust in the staff to select a cider for my companion and a craft beer for myself, and were impressed with their educated selections. I savour the specialty Pressure Drop Wallbanger (£5.45), as it’s a palatable Belgian style Wit beer, while my companion gulps their luscious Urban Orchard cider (£4.25).

We ordered – after lengthy discussion over the appropriacy of an egg in a chicken burger – the Vegetarian Halloumi Burger & fries (£8.95) and the Pulled Chicken Burger with egg & sweet potato fries (£11.15). To accompany our burgers we had Quinoa Salad and Coleslaw (each at £3 respectively). It’s worth pointing out that the coleslaw comes ‘naked’ and this is where (what I’m calling) the three amigos of sauces, carefully designed to accentuate the menu, came in. You’ve got to explore the sauces and figure out which one suits your palate because when they’re added to each side dish – something magical happens. The flavours are absolutely delightful and really start coming out to play. If you can get the balance right, then this is clever food! Don’t make the same mistake that I did by eating most of the quinoa and then deciding to add the sauce – this really makes the salad sing so get stuck in immediately.

The burgers and the portion sizes were perfect. If I had to favour the fries, I’d pick ‘normal’. I love sweet potato fries but when complimented with dill, the regular potato
option is irresistible.

Whilst my dining partner temporarily excused themselves, I decided to be brave. There’s a sauce that cranks up the eat even more than their widely available hotter option that’s available upon request. It definitely proves to be fierier than the Herbie, the Duke and the Screaming Jay that are usually served to diners! Not wanting to embarrass myself (there was once a time I thought I needed an ambulance after giving it large in a Thai restaurant), I’m sure it’s understandable why I sought a solitary moment to test my taste buds. It turned out to be well balanced, suitably robust and I beg you to try it.

H.en is undoubtedly onto something and what separates them from the place we won’t mention is their commitment to all things local, ethical and lovely. The staff and the food marry in this restaurant to satisfy anyone’s lust for fresh, succulent chicken and a good old laugh.

H.en, 87-88 Trafalgar St, Brighton BN1 4ER

By Ellie Talebian



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