Within a short space of time, Brighton’s Shelter Hall has established itself as one of the city’s most dynamic go-to food and drink destinations, writes Nick Mosley.
For the uninitiated, Shelter Hall is an informal dining experience featuring half a dozen different independent kitchens and a couple of bars.
You take a table and order whatever you fancy and pay via their app on your phone. It’s a brilliantly simple idea that also means that everyone on your table can eat and drink exactly what they want – Vietnamese, Italian pizzas, retro burgers from Kenny Tutt, Californian fusion, fried chicken – or mix it up… I mean, why not have an Asian summer roll with truffle-cheese triple cooked fries?
I love the bustling vibe of the venue from breakfast until late into the evening – the team have just really got it spot-on whether you’re in for a coffee, a beer and snack, a cocktail in their Skylark lounge bar or to share a service à la française feast of dishes from different kitchens that I’m sure would knock-the-socks-off even the extravagant gourmand Prince Regent.
Now if you’ve been to other food halls then you may think the concept is all hype and no substance. I for one have had dismal experiences in food halls in London and left feeling that I’d been mugged – lazy, poor quality fried food and a hefty price tag. Shelter Hall isn’t like that at all – it’s run by a team who really care about presenting great food, cooked with passion by innovative chefs, that genuinely represents bang for your buck. I should know as I’ve worked in various capacities over the past 20 years with some of the current Shelter Hall team and I can vouch for their integrity and enthusiasm for great food, drink and hospitality.
Although personally I’m an obsessive fan of the Sear by Salt Shed kitchen, I’m always excited when a new Shelter Hall kitchen opens so as a lover of all-things Japanese – especially food – the launch of the new Yatai kitchen on Wednesday 28 September is riding high on my dining agenda.
Yatai – the Japanese word for street food cart – has been serving Londoners a taste of traditional Japanese cooking at home since the beginning of the lockdown. Yatai’s chef-patron, Angelo Sato, will be showcasing traditional Japanese dishes with a menu that features classically prepared donburis – a rice bowl dish with meat, seafood or vegetables – and panko-crumbed katsu curries.
Angelo really knows his stuff. Before starting Yatai, he worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in Tokyo, New York and London including most recently as head chef at Tom Sellers' two Michelin-starred Restaurant Story.
We had a brief chat and he tells me that Yatai’s mission has always been clear: to create high quality, authentic Japanese dishes that don’t compromise on premium ingredients or classical cooking techniques, at an affordable price that rivals those of high street chains.
In his first move outside of the capital, Angelo is bringing Yatai for a four month residency at Shelter Hall, although I’ve my fingers crossed he’ll hang around a lot longer.
Shelter Hall, , Kings Road Arches, Brighton BN1 1NB