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Flank at the Cow in Brighton - Restaurant review

PUBLISHED: 11:52 09 August 2016 | UPDATED: 12:00 09 August 2016

Ox tongue and cheek with beetroot served by Flank at The Cow Brighton

Ox tongue and cheek with beetroot served by Flank at The Cow Brighton

Archant

As he takes his pop-up restaurant Flank to new pastures, Thomas Griffiths talks to Duncan Hall

“It’s quite offally,” confides Flank founder Thomas Griffiths to Sussex Life as he personally introduces his dish of fried ox tongue and slow-cooked ox cheeks with roast beetroot and mustard shoots. That personal touch and the notion of nose-to-tail eating are big parts of pop-up restaurant Flank’s mission – to encourage diners to try the lesser-used cuts of meat. Speaking after Sussex Life’s visit to their new home at The Cow, in Brighton’s Seven Dials, Thomas says he believes a short rib or ox tongue can taste better than a ribeye steak or pork medallion. “There is a problem in this country that we don’t use all the available cuts of meat,” he says. “A lot of it goes into dog food, or gets thrown away.”

Both my main course of ox tongue (£14) and my partner’s East End meat suet pie with traditional liquor (£10) were evidence that all it takes is a chef of Thomas’s calibre to make an unforgettable dish from what can be dismissed as leftovers. The deep-fried tongue was juicy and delicious. The ox cheeks melted in the mouth, as did the meat in the tasty and rich suet pie, which was topped by a gorgeous salty crust. Both dishes were well complemented by dishes of flashed greens and triple-cooked chips (£3 each).

Both starters of roast and pickled beetroot with smoked goat’s curd, rye and beer (£6), and pig in a blanket with apple, chive garlic oil and pan stock (£6.50) were perfect introductions – packed with flavour but small enough portions not to detract from the main event. It would be hard to imagine anyone would need dessert, but gelato is always available.

As spring turns to summer Thomas is using the nose-to-tail approach on his vegetable dishes too – offering more unusual vegetables and using everything from leaves to roots. He built the Flank name at The Royal Sovereign in Brighton’s Preston Street, but that was more of a drinker’s pub. The Cow is a better fit, with plenty of tables and chairs, but it still doesn’t feel quite right. That said the craft beers on tap are a good accompaniment, and the new summer menu – mixing barbecued meat and fish and increased vegetarian options – is a nod towards his pub clientele. With another new venue planned to join his residency at The Cow this may just be a launchpad for one of the Brighton food scene’s brightest new talents.

Flank at The Cow, Dyke Road, Brighton, 01273 772370 www.flankbrighton.com

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