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Pasta Masterclasses are back at Vine St this September

Ever wanted to learn how to cook handmade pasta just like a pro? Now you can by signing up to our Pasta Masterclass on Thursday 20 September at Cin Cin Brighton. Tickets are on sale now here.

For £40 you will receive an aperitif and antipasti on arrival before being guided by Vine Street chef Donal Hughes in creating (and eating!) your very own delicious pasta dish.

We will talk you through how the best dough is made before giving you a demonstration on how to make two pasta shapes. You’ll then get to roll your own handmade pasta to create a dish which you can then enjoy with a glass of Italian wine.

We are running two classes on the night, starting at 6pm or 8:30pm. Each class lasts 2 hours so we can give you the time and attention needed to help you perfect your pasta skills! Grab your tickets online now as places are limited!

We visited Italy and brought back some new wines

Cin Cin Founder David Toscano reflects on his recent trip to Italy, with sourcing new Italian wines top of the agenda.

During the first week of July, Cin Cin Western Road General Manager James Thomson and I were delighted to be hosted by Joe Wadhams of Hallgarten Wines on a wine trip to Campania in Italy. 

It was an opportunity to immerse ourselves in the Italian culture, taste some fantastic wines as guests of the Feudi di San Gregorio winery, and of course, sample the best southern Italian food we could find. 

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Highlights of the trip included: a tour of the Feudi winery in the Avellino hills high above Naples with a tasting of their full range of wines, dinner at their Michelin starred restaurant Marenna, a visit to the buffalo farm and mozzarella production centre at Tenuta Vannulo, a night out in Salento with non stop Negronis, and even time for a truly life changing pizza at 50 Kalo in Naples. 

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All in all, a fine way to spend a few days and one which helped us expand the range of wines on our lists at our restaurants. 

Check out the Dubl sparkling Falanghina, the organic Sophia Fiano and the Teodosio Aglianico del Vulture wines all brought back with us on this trip and on the list now.

Read about how Cin Cin Hove General Manager James Thomson spent months curating the perfect wine list.

Book your place today to sample our fantastic all-Italian wine list.

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Chef’s Menu at Western Road

We have a brand new Chef’s Menu available at Cin Cin Western Road. Enjoy 5 Courses for just £35 per person, and add a wine flight with each course for an extra £30 per person.

Cin Cin focaccia, selection of artisan Italian salumi & house made antipasti
Feudi di San Gregorio sparkling Falanghina or Marco de Bartoli 5yr Dry Marsala

Prawn arancini, saffron & garlic aioli
Smoked tuna tartare, pressed tomato & consommé
Fattoria San Lorenzo, ‘Le Oche’ Verdicchio

Baked cod, baccala ravioli, mango salsa
Principiano Ferdinando, Timorasso

Additional course – £10 supplement / £5 wine supplement
Rabbit & girolle cannelloni
Roccolo Grassi, Soave

Roast baby chicken, nduja sauce, potato & olives
Planeta, Frappato Vittoria

Pistachio semifreddo, chocolate, raspberries
Bonacci, Vin Santo del Chianti

Must be taken by the whole party & by reservation only if dining before 8pm.

Click here to download this menu.

Hospitality industry lunch

Last week we hosted a hospitality industry lunch at our Hove restaurant with support from Pommery champagne. It was attended by owners, chefs and managers from across the spectrum of great Brighton food & drink establishments. In this blog, Cin Cin founder David Toscano shares his thoughts on the event and how the Brighton food scene can benefit from future meet-ups.  

As always, it was a pleasure to catch up with colleagues in our industry. There’s a real collegiate network in the Brighton food scene and everyone always supports one another where they can. That said, I have felt that our industry could take a more structured approach to how we share our experience and knowledge so that we all benefit from it. 

I recently attended a one day congress in London organised by Restaurant Magazine which tackled issues like mental health, food waste, sustainability, technology, staff retention and development. These are all issues that I am keen to see our local industry consider. So I asked two speakers to give a talk about their area of expertise to try to get the ball rolling and see if there is an appetite for a similar event, or at least a series of lunches where speakers can address issues we rarely have time to tackle alone.

First up we had Steve Ripley, a registered mental health nurse for NHS Sussex, who spoke about the signs and triggers for stress and anxiety at work and what we can do about it. The stigma of mental health seems to be finally falling away, although there is still a lot that needs to be done. I touched on this very poignant topic in a previous blog for Mental Health Awareness week, in which I discussed how it effects the hospitality section

We then had Duncan Ray, chef patron at The Little Fish Market, talk about his time working with Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck when they were at the advent of molecular cooking. It was intriguing to hear how that all started out and I was proud to hear that ‘our Duncan’ was there at the genesis of these changes to how food was made and seen in Britain. 

Overall, it was a fantastic lunch with lots of great feedback from our guests. It felt like we started that conversation about how we all improve what we do by pooling our experience and knowledge. Watch this space for the next instalment. 

Vermouth Aperitif Masterclass – part of Brighton Cocktail Week

Join us on Tuesday 10th July to explore the new-world of vermouth tasting at Cin Cin Western Road. As part of Brighton Cocktail Week, we’ve teamed up with Regal Rogue to bring you ’The Quaffing Club’, an aperitif masterclass to showcase a flavour journey around the world.

The evening will combine an expert-led vermouth tasting session with a selection of delicious Cin Cin taster dishes. Founder of Regal Rogue himself, Mark ‘Lord’ Ward will talk you through the history of vermouth, the Regal Rogue range, and the trend that is leading the vermouth renaissance across Australia, USA and Europe.

Regal Rogue bottle

Regal Rogue is a new world Australian vermouth, made with 100% Australian wine married with native Australian aromatics. They use an easy-drinking new world wine as their base to produce a semi-dry style with around 30% less sugar than traditional European vermouth. Enriched with these utterly unique native Australian aromatics it’s perfect for making aperitifs and ‘reverse classic’ cocktails.

To start:
  • The Lively Rogue – Regal Rogue Lively White, served with Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic, grapefruit and rosemary
Followed by Regal Rogue tasting with:
  • House cured meats, pickled summer vegetables
  • Mac and cheese crochette
  • Sussex tomato bruschetta, black olive, basil
  • Truffled Stracciatella Farinata (a cheesy chickpea pancake sandwich)
  • Sorbet
To toast:
  • Cin Cin ‘mini’ Negroni – Regal Rogue Wild Rosé, gin, campari, rhubarb bitters

For just £30 you can join us in this flavour journey with the world’s most quaffable vermouth Regal Rogue by emailing westernroad@cincin.co.uk.

Brighton Cocktail Week

As part of Brighton Cocktail Week we’re also offering a £5 Regal Rogue aperitif, the Daring Americano, to all BCW wristband holders.

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Wristbands can be purchased at either of our restaurants, and also entitles you to £5 cocktails at over 40 participating venues from 6-15 July 2018.
Visit the Brighton Cocktail Week website for further information and to purchase wristbands online: https://www.brightoncocktailweek.com/buy-wristbands.

Giro d’Italia evening leads to Italy wine trip

Following our wonderful Giro d’Italia Wine Dinner evening, two members of the Cin Cin team have jetted off to Italy for a wine tasting trip.

Last month we welcomed guests to Cin Cin Vine Street for a special dinner in partnership with Hallgarten Wines. Attendees received a wine pairing with each of the 6 courses as our brilliant host, Hallgarten’s Joe Wadhams, talked them through every wine offering.

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Hallgarten is one of the UK’s leading specialist wine merchants, with over 80 years of experience importing wines from producers around the world and supplying the premium on- and off-trade. In 2017, Hallgarten was named European Merchant of the Year by the Sommelier Wine Awards and has won the prestigious International Wine Challenge Wine List of the Year Award in both 2016 and 2015.

Our founder David Toscano said: “A wine dinner dedicated to the fantastic wines across Italy has always been in the pipeline for Cin Cin. So big thanks to HDN and Joe in particular for helping us pull it off.

“We had such fantastic feedback from those lucky 20 who attended – exceptional dishes from chef Donal, great service from Fab & Lisa, and of course a booming commentary from Joe. It was smiles all round and definitely something we’ll be doing again.”

The event was so successful that David and Cin Cin Western Road General Manager, James Thomson have joined Joe once again, this time flying out to Naples this week to sample the local wines.

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Together they will be tasting a range from Feudi di San Gregori before visiting mozzarella producer Tenuta Vannulo.

They will be sharing their experiences next week so keep your eyes peeled for our follow up blog. In the meantime, read about how James spent months curating an all-Italian wine list for our Western Road restaurant.

Cin Cin customers raise over £1600 for The Clock Tower Sanctuary

Cin Cin customers have shown their sweet side for the Brighton homelessness charity The Clock Tower Sanctuary.

Over £1600 has been raised since we offered to donate £1 every time a customer purchased an Affogato at our Vine Street restaurant. 

The charity provides support to homeless young people (aged 16-25) in Brighton & Hove. They offer outreach, crisis support, activities, life skills classes and one to one support.

Cin Cin founder David Toscano said: “I have always seen the role of our business to be beyond the four walls of our restaurant. We employ local people, pay The Living Wage, give work experience to college students interested in hospitality and have hosted charity dinners with other Brighton restaurants. 

“But I what I really want to do is help tackle homelessness in Brighton. It is such a visible issue in our city and when a number of people recommended The Clock Tower Sanctuary to me, it felt like the right partnership to help make a difference.”

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The charity receives £1 from Cin Cin, every time a customer orders the ice-cream coffee dessert. Clock Tower Sanctuary Fundraising Assistant, Alison Boyce said: “Gosh those £1 donations certainly add up  – that is one top dessert! 

“The £1,600 has made a huge difference and has gone towards the costs of keeping our centre and kitchen open six days a week. Volunteers are our lifeblood and the £1,600 enables us to train eight volunteers to provide one to one support to enable young people get their lives back on track. This includes DBS checks, induction, monthly training and supervision. Last year, our volunteers provided 8,500 hours of support and 14 volunteers moved into their first paid role in the homeless, mental health, addiction and counselling sector via their experience at the Clock Tower Sanctuary.

“Without contributions like this from Cin Cin, we would not have that growth in services and support.”

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Following the huge success of the partnership, David Toscano is keen for Cin Cin to do even more for the charity, saying:  “This is just the start for us. The Clock Tower runs cooking classes for young homeless people to learn how to cook, a skill I was lucky enough to grow up with. We want our young chefs to help run these classes. 

“The charity also needs more kitchen equipment – cooking utensils, stainless steel benches, a pasta machine, roasting pans and much more. We can help with some of these but I’m reaching out to other Brighton restaurants to see if they can donate spare kit too. Any support, however big or small, can make a real difference.”

If you want to offer support to The Clock Tower Sanctuary get in touch by calling 01273 722 353 or emailing info@thects.org.uk.

To book your place at Cin Cin Vine Street and try one of our Affogatos visit cincin.co.uk/book.

Cin Cin Wines – Curating an all Italian Wine List

Cin Cin Western Road General Manager, James Thomson, was recently tasked with revamping our Italian wine list. In this blog, he explains how he spent the past few months creating a diverse list with something for everyone’s tastes and preferences.

Over the last few months I have travelled the length and breadth of Italy – tasting, comparing & studying the grapes, geography and production methods of Italian wines. At least it feels that way. Most of this has however been conducted in the slightly less-glamorous but decidedly more cost-effective comfort of the Cin Cin Western Road dining room.

I joined Cin Cin in January this year after 5 years at Gingerman Restaurants, where I was responsible for (among other things) the group’s wine list. Revamping the wine list was my first assigned project upon joining Cin Cin, and one I was very excited about. My work on this began as soon as I knew I was coming to work for Cin Cin through the form of self-education – my home drinking became a very regional affair, working my way from north to south and grape to grape. I knew the classics, I knew I leaned towards wines from the North; Nebbiolo & Pinot Bianco have long been go-to grapes for me. I knew that I enjoyed some of the indigenous varieties from Sicily, but there was this huge bit of land in between that I had never really explored.

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The task was a daunting one as for the first time I had the limitations of borders. The most difficult decisions previously would have been having to omit an incredible wine from a list because there were already 4 or 5 from a similar style or country already on there. Now though, the hardest challenge would be trying to provide enough range of flavour at different price ranges.

The goal from the start was to ensure that a guest should be able to find exactly the style they like to drink from within our list, despite it being all Italian. To achieve that, I was going to need some help.

Before I met with any potential supplier, I needed to decide on how I wanted to present the list. Wine lists can be a minefield at the best of times, but none more so than single origin lists. So many words and places no-one has ever really heard of. It would often go like “is that the grape or the town?” – “Oh, neither, that’s the producer.”

I decided to list by geography, splitting the country into four sections: north, central, south and island. The styles of wines could be best grouped this way for the customer. Someone comes in and wants a big, fruity red, we can point to the Southern reds and say anything from here. For tight, fresh whites, stay in the north. What this also does is showcase something else you might like from a similar part of the region. For example, we list a Gavi that isn’t available by the glass, but the most similar alternative is probably in the same region.

Then it was time for trade tastings. One of the first potential suppliers to drop his head in was Joe Wadhams of Hallgarten Novum wines. He got VERY excited about this project and its regional direction and immediately showed interest in supplying us. An invite to a trade tasting and some detailed notes paired with a potential listing and the wheels were turning. Trade tastings are hard work. I’m serious. A huge room full of wine may sound incredible but believe me it’s hard work to get what you want out of it. Each producer wants you to try their full range and your palate can only take so much. These tend to kick off early, so after a few rounds you’re already a bit wobbly and the notes you made at the start become less articulate. You’re unlikely to remember a lot. But Joe was there to hold our hands and give it some focus. The outcome was a concise list of wines that really impressed, at various price points and the spine of our list was born.

For some Sicilian gold I had Toby at Enotria to thank for a full and thorough tasting of the Planeta range. Some interesting indigenous grapes with truly unique geography.

From there it was about adding flourishes and points of interest. Some old and rare wines came with the help of Rob ‘The Boozer’ Maynard at Butlers Wine Cellar (who works Wednesday evenings here as a rule should anyone wish to come down and pick his brains). This is the top shelf stuff – Barbarescos & Super-Tuscans.

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Then came the natural wines. Undefined but much talked about of late, (future blog about these to follow) orange/low sulphur/minimal intervention/skin contact was the area I knew least about but was interested to explore. In stepped Line from Caves de Pyrene to enlighten me and identify the gaps we had on the list and what I expected to be a real struggle of a tasting session turned out to be one of my most eye-opening to date. Some are more out there as expected, skin contact whites and heavily oxidised reds which can be more of a learn to love experience while others would slip straight into a more ‘traditional’ list without any introduction required.

So, this process began in January and by early-May I would say it reached the stage where I was happy to call it complete. For now. And that’s the best part of it really – it’s never complete. There is always the next tasting – and the difficult decision of having to remove something from a list that you like to fit one in you like even more.

But back to that goal – achieving an all-Italian wine list (sparkling, still & sweet) which covers a full flavour profile and tapped into all the wine-producing parts of the country.

We have a regularly changing by the glass and carafe list. We treat wines as seasonally as chef treats his dishes and will always look to have the perfect match for your dish available by the glass.

What we would love to see more of is customers asking us more about wine, not to be intimidated by it. Don’t just go for the one you’ve heard of, I bet we can find you something better and give you a new favourite.

Cin Cin makes Street Diner return

Last Friday Cin Cin returned to Street Diner for a special guest spot. In a throwback to our street food days, founder David Toscano and head chef Jamie Halsall served up handmade pasta dishes in the sun.

David said: “It was great to get back to our street food roots at Street Diner last week and hard to believe that the Cin Cin journey started right there 5 years ago with our first gig! I remember being terrified that first day and hiding in the toilet for about 20 minutes as I was too nervous about anyone liking our food. Shows just how far we’ve come!”

The dishes on offer were:

  • Pappardelle with short rib ragu and crack crumb
  • Spaghetti cacio e pepe
  • Farfalle with nduja, peas and mascarpone

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Jamie said: “Getting out of the restaurant on a sunny Friday in May at Street Diner was awesome. The main reason for doing this is to give our chef team options for development so we will be doing more guest spots this summer to give our guys an opportunity to bring our pasta to the lunch time crowds.”

Cin Cin will be returning to Street Diner for one date a month in June, July and August. Keep an eye on our social media channels for updates on when our next guest spot will be.

Pasta Masterclasses at Vine Street and the Community Kitchen

Last week our Head Chef Jamie Halsall imparted his pasta-making wisdom on two groups who attended our pasta masterclasses.

We welcomed 34 eager learners to our Vine Street restaurant as they were shown how to create handmade pasta dishes.

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Attendees received an aperitif and antipasti on arrival before Jamie taught them how to make Farfalle and Sopresini pasta shapes.

They then put this into practice to make their own dish, which they were then able to enjoy with a glass of Italian wine.

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Pasta Masterclass at the Community Kitchen

The following week Jamie generously donated his time to the opening event of the Community Kitchen on Queens Road. He showed invited bloggers and press how to make Cavatelli and Tagliatelle pasta shapes.

Our founder David Toscano said: “Having a well stocked community kitchen for cooking classes is a great asset to have in the city and we wish them all the best.”

We hope to announce more pasta masterclasses soon, so if you want to learn how to make pasta like a pro then keep your eyes peeled.