On my first visit to Senor Buddha last year I wrote “I look for three things when I go out for a meal, great flavours, fine wine and an exciting ambiance.”
I went back earlier this month to sample the new dishes on their menu and found all three were still in abundance.
The restaurant is very cozy seating no more than 25 people around an open kitchen. Lee Shipley the owner, loves what he does and communicates his passion for food and drink to his customers. The food is billed as “Spanish tapas presented with an east Asian twist”, for the customer every dish on offer is all about the flavours.
Here is what we tried:
Crab and ginger crusted cod (£7) with a lime curry sauce: A lovely moist piece of flakey cod topped with crab and ginger on a smooth lime curry sauce. A spectacular fish dish with a spectacular sauce.
Tuna carpassio and watermelon (£5): A tender slice of red tuna set off by a thin slice of ice-cold watermelon. The sobrasada ailoi is a clever addition to the dish.
Volcano chicken thighs (£5) Juicy chicken pieces cooked in an intoxicating sauce of spiced whisky and honey. Chicken at its very best!
Crispy confit duck leg (£7): A huge leg of duck served on a pear and pea puree with crispy shallots. The crispy tender duck was my favourite dish on my first visit and remains so today.
Flaming whiskey and honey chilli prawns (£7): Five giant prawns, messy on the fingers but not on the palate. The tongue tingling sauce gives the shellfish new life. Highly recommended!
Salt and pepper calamari (£5): Lightly fried squid seasoned with sea salt and pepper and served on a squid ink Romesco paste. The paste was a perfect partner to serve with the squid.
Potato and caper tortilla (£4): A large slice of seasoned potato tortilla covered in a caper sauce with a strong after kick in it.
Sesame vegetable croquettes (£4): Crispy and filling. Served with a tantalising beetroot and apple sauce, providing me with my favourite sauce of the evening.
A couple of dishes from the previous menu have survived the chop and deserve a try.
Octopus tentacle (£6.50), slow cooked in red wine with Thai spices and served with coriander aioli and squid ink caviar. The octopus was soooo tender and the coriander aioli a touch of genius. This dish was seriously good.
King Scallops & Morcilla de Burgos (£6.50) served on coconut and cauliflower puree: The large succulent scallops were cooked to perfection, the Morcilla which is basically black pudding with paprika and rice added was lovely and moist with a crispy surface.The subtle puree perfectly complemented both the scallops and the morcilla.
Pardron Peppers (£4) succulent fried green peppers sprinkled with rock salt. One in ten have the chilli seeds left in so be careful. A great way to start the meal.
Mountain Mutton Stew (£6.50): The restaurant’s signature dish is basted for 24 hours in a ‘secret’ dry spiced rub and soy sauce and cooked on the bone in coconut milk. The flavours are memorable. When I was young mutton was seen as peasant food. This dish was fit for the Queen and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Everything was washed down with a full-bodied bottle of red Spanish Rioja Palacio del Camino Real at£5.25 175ml; £6.50 250ml or £19 the bottle.
It is an experience eating at this bustling restaurant. Take the recommendation of Lee about the wines you choose as he has spent a great deal of effort choosing different wines to go with the different dishes he has created. Personally I would recommend buying wine by the glass as you go along.
Lee is a first class host and in just twelve months has created one of my favourite places to eat and a place I can recommend to friends and family and know they won’t be disappointed. A conventional food review cannot do justice to his food as there is just so much going on in each dish. If you have not already been there, give it a try. You will not be disappointed. ‘It’s all about the flavours! The eye candy is very good too!
9 Preston Road,
Brighton BN1 4QE
Open: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6-10pm ish: Friday and Saturday 5ish -11pmish
Every Tuesday throughout April try the 2 4 1 tapas deals
Available for private parties on Monday and Tuesday. The restaurant is small and booking is highly recommended.
Telephone: 01273 567 832
For more information, click here: