Lisa De Blauw will be a familiar face to any of our Vine Street regulars. She joined the Cin Cin family in July 2017 as front of house and is now Assistant Manager at our Brighton restaurant. In our latest ‘Staff Stories’ feature, we get to know our smiley, Dutch AM a little better.
Tell us a little bit about your background before you joined Cin Cin?
I’m originally from the Netherlands and moved to Brighton about a year ago. Before coming to England, I spent just over 8 months living in Spain after having lived for 4 years in Munich. I spent the bulk of my time in Germany working in sales, but after taking on an extra job as a waitress for a lovely Latin-American cocktail bar I realised how exciting working in the service industry can be. Two years later and I’ve finally found a restaurant that recaptures the buzz of working on a busy Saturday night in the bar.
What initially attracted you to Cin Cin?
The food first and foremost. I love Italian food, and after scrolling through bowl after bowl of stunning pasta on Cin Cin’s Instagram feed I jumped at the opportunity when I found out they were hiring. I think there’s something incredibly comforting about a bowl of pasta, especially when it’s made with beautiful, fresh produce. What really sold me however was the location itself. The minute I walked into CinCin Vine Street, I fell in love with it. That David has managed to squeeze a 20-seat restaurant into such a tiny space still baffles me, but it’s this intimacy that makes for such a wonderful atmosphere.
How have you enjoyed your time at Cin Cin so far?
Yes, very much! I love that Cin Cin is all about counter dining; as a waitress it allows you to be so much more personal and really engage with your customers. What’s more, having someone as talented as Jaime or Donal in the kitchen makes my job a million times easier. I feel very lucky to be a part of what’s happening here. In the last 10 months I’ve worked with some wonderful people and some very gifted chefs. Both David and Fab have invested so much time in me and have taught me so much already. I’m just trying to soak up as much of their experience and knowledge as I can.
Obviously just like all of us here at Cin Cin you love Italian food, but what other cuisines do you enjoy?
I think the food culture in Spain is amazing, especially in the South where you can still get a free tapa with every drink you order. As much as I enjoy sitting down for a big meal, I love the idea of hopping from bar to bar and eating a plate or two in each place. I’m also very fond of Indonesian food; one of my favourite dishes is my dad’s nasi goreng with pork satay. But having spent so long living outside of the Netherlands, there is nothing I miss more than deep-fried Dutch snacks like kroketten en frikandellen!
What do you look for when visiting other restaurants as a customer?
Nothing is more important to me than good atmosphere. The setting, the music, the lighting – you can serve amazing food, but if the ambiance isn’t right then you’ll never truly do yourself justice. Oh, and a good wine list is essential! Bincho Yakitori in Brighton and José in Bermondsey are my current favourite restaurants; both are intimate, full of character and serve delicious, simple food with no faff.
What does the future hold for both yourself and Cin Cin?
I hope I’ll be with Cin Cin for a good while longer! It’s so exciting that David has just opened the second site, and it’s keeping all of us at Vine Street on our toes too. I can’t wait to see where Cin Cin is heading in the future.