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Brighton chefs are on fire with the launch of new Embers restaurant

Dave Marrow and Isaac Bartlett-Copeland of Embers - credit Gill Copeland

Embers – a new wood-fired restaurant – opens in The Lanes in early April. Nick Mosley talks to Brighton culinary luminaries – Isaac Bartlett-Copeland and Dave Marrow – about their creative new addition to the city’s food scene.

Tell us a bit about yourselves…

Isaac: I am a chef turned restauranteur with a passion for hospitality, on a mission to make a positive impact in the industry. 

Dave: I am an experienced Brighton chef with a love of bold flavours and cooking over fire!

When did you guys first meet?

Isaac: We first met back in 2008 at The Grand Hotel in Brighton. It was my first job and Dave was my supervisor and mentor on the larder section. His passion for food captured my imagination and we have stayed friends ever since. 

Where did the idea of Embers come from?

Isaac: We came up with the idea for Embers last October back when the energy crisis had just started. Dave said ‘let’s open a restaurant where we only cook over wood fire – no electric, no gas, just wood’’. At first I thought he’d gone a bit mad, but the more we thought about it the more we fell in love with the idea.

What unique skills are each of you bringing to the business?

Dave: Isaac is bringing all his experience from opening Isaac At and I will be leading the team on the ground by heading up the kitchen.

Dry Aged Pork Tomahawk, Burnt Leek, Pickled Mustard Seed - credit Gill Copeland

Barbecue restaurants are a bit of a trend right now. Why do you think that is and do you think it has longevity?

Dave: Everyone loves going to a BBQ and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. For thousands of years people have shared food around a fire and made friends in the process and this is what our concept is all about: Fire and Friendship.

How have you overcome the challenges of using open fire cooking in a heritage area of the city?

Isaac: This has not been an easy task but it was really important to get this right. All our wood will be burnt in DEFRA approved appliances and we have installed a three-stage filter on our extraction system that filters out 96% of the carbon that goes in. This means the air extracted out on the roof is essentially clean air. We have also installed a four meter wide extraction canopy that stops any fumes from entering the dining room area and we have a brand new fire alarm system and a professionally devised prevention and detection plan.

With sustainability increasingly influencing consumer choices, what will be your sourcing policy and wider environmental concerns?

Isaac: Just like in Isaac At, sustainable sourcing will be a big part of Embers’ ethos. Wood is a carbon neutral source of heat which is why we won’t have any gas or electric cooking appliances at all. This will be a big challenge, but we thrive on challenging ourselves and we all need to look at how we can change our behaviour to look after the planet.

Will the kitchen be sensitive to dietaries?

Dave : With my previous experience as head chef at Terre à Terre, this is something I am really passionate about. Although Embers will be meat led, we will have a lot of plant based dishes on the menu. We will also be catering for all other dietary requirements too, making sure there is something for everyone.

How does Embers sit alongside Isaac At and what differentiates their unique offerings?

Isaac: Although the concepts and price points of Isaac At and Embers are very different, both venues share the same values of sustainable sourcing and putting our customers and community first. Isaac At and Embers will operate as sister restaurants working closely together.

What other restaurants do you enjoy in Brighton and wider Sussex?

Dave This is a really tough question as there are so many incredible restaurants in Brighton. I think the places I crave the most are usually more street food-led. You can usually find me in Noodles Soup on West Street. It’s also a bit of a tradition that myself and Isaac get a stack of Lost Boys chicken wings at The Joker over a couple of pints every couple of months.

Embers opens on Wednesday 5 April at 42 Meeting House Lane, Brighton. To book visit


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