Brighton restaurant, Isaac At, situated in the North Laine has been gaining in popularity due to its incredible menu, locally sourced food and its dining experience which puts customers face to face with the chefs.
We interviewed chef Isaac Bartlett-Copeland of Isaac At on his inspiration behind setting up the restaurant and why he chose such a novel concept for the venue.
You can read our fill review of Isaac At here.
What inspired you to start up the restaurant?
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so it just felt natural. My uncle used to be a pastry chef at the Ritz, so I always cooked with him really. That’s where it all started and I’ve never thought about being anything other than a chef. We started out as a pop-up as we didn’t know whether we’d be able to get a permanent premises, so it’s exciting that 18 months on we’re now open five days a week!
Tell us about the dishes that you serve up.
Everything is locally sourced and foraged, so we’re always talking to our suppliers to find out what great produce they have that week. The apples we’re using in our petit fours and some of our new juices are actually from my mum’s garden, so it’s great to be able to use everything that we get our hands on locally.
In terms of what goes into each dish, it really depends on what we get from our suppliers each week as to where we go with the menu, but at the moment we’ve got a celebration of Butternut Squash as our starter and it’s going down really well. We’ve created a dish that allows us to combine the vegetable in a few different forms; roasted and pureed, dressed with toasted seeds and rosemary oil.
What gave you the inspiration behind the novel dining experience?
We wanted to create something different in Brighton. An experience with really good food, to a really high standard in a fine-dining sense, but not snobby or having to follow all the rules. We want people to feel like we’re all young and we’ve got lots of energy and joining us is different.
How do you think it changes the dining experience by having the chefs and kitchen so accessible?
I think it makes it a lot more interesting because people really, really like talking to us and asking us different questions. It makes it a bit more informal and there’s a lot more banter because everyone’s just chatting to us and we’re joking with them. I think it makes it a lot friendlier too, because we’re always talking to new customers. I think often people think we’re really grumpy, which we can be (jokes), so it’s good to get to know our customers.
What is your personal favourite dish that you’ve served?
That’s a really tough one, my favourite dish changes constantly, almost weekly even, as we update our menu. I’m really proud of our dessert that we did for our re-launch. It’s kind of our version of Eton Mess. You’ve got some fresh strawberries on there, some fizzy strawberries where we use C02 to pump air into them through a cream whipper. It adds a different element to the dish as you don’t expect them to be fizzy and that’s quite nice. On the dish we’ve also got some strawberry gel with a little bit of local honey in there too, which helps bring out some of the sweetness. Then on top we’ve got some de-hydrated milk foam, which is kind of like meringue. It’s crunchier at the beginning and then it melts in your mouth. It’s really nice actually.
What do you eat when you’re not at the restaurant?
I’m not big on cooking just for myself, but me and the team are really good friends and we try and eat out as much as possible, so we’re always up to date with what else is out there.
Have you visited Issac At yet? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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