Born in Sydney, Australia to Italian immigrant parents, David was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by beautiful Italian food cooked by his extended family where homemade salumi and bread were the norm. After moving to London in 2005 to work as a lawyer, David decided to forge a new career sharing the amazing arancini, cured meats, crostini and of course, handmade pasta that was such a big part of his upbringing.
David began swapping his suits for chef whites to cater for friends and family and after moving to Brighton in 2010 and starting with the van in 2013, David met Head Chef Jamie Halsall the following year and together, their catering creativity really took off.
But eventually, something had to give; balancing being a lawyer and a chef and commuting to London every day took its toll. In December 2015, David threw in the towel and burned his suits. It was time to do what he loved full time and in November 2016, Cin Cin Vine Street – a tiny converted garage with 21 seats in the heart of the North Laines – opened its doors. It provided an intimate dining experience; stools were set up around a horseshoe shaped bar with the chefs and waiters in the middle so that every part of the dining process was there to be observed and enjoyed. They served five customers for lunch and a dozen for dinner, but that was only the beginning.
Cin Cin’s ever-popular handmade pasta and antipasti, as well as a fully stocked Italian bar, earnt them a loyal following very quickly. By February 2017, they were ranked as sixth in the Top 20 Brighton BEST Restaurant Awards, with David also winning Best Welcome. In the same year, they were reviewed by The Guardian, the BBC Good Food Magazine and the Waitrose Good Food Guide.
With demand growing and their 21 seats constantly booked out, Cin Cin opened its second restaurant on Western Road in Hove in January 2018. The space had a prep kitchen below deck and an open kitchen above, alongside a private dining area for functions and events. With more space, came a bigger menu. Additions included a robata oven grill, producing delicious grilled specials every month and a wider bar menu with inventive aperitivi.
In September 2018, Cin Cin won a Michelin Bib Gourmand and in Feburary 2020, they were listed by Spectator Life Magazine as one of the Five Best Places to eat in Brighton, as well as being awarded a Rosette for outstanding cooking and service by the AA Guide. These were achievements which solidified David and Jamie’s hard work over the past four years.
Opening a restaurant wasn’t easy, but no good things in life ever are. It was the friendship of their customers, the joy they got from feeding them great Italian food and the feeling of being a part of something truly special which made it all worth it. At Cin Cin, the focus has been, and always will be, on providing good old-fashioned Italian hospitality and warmth alongside delicious seasonal Italian food and drink – exactly what Brighton and Hove deserves.