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The ‘real’ Greek comes to Hove.
Greece is having a bit of a moment. Quite to the amazement of its own citizens, the country has deftly navigated the coronavirus crisis managing to reopen the country to the tourists who are so crucial to its economy. So it seemed completely apposite to pay a visit to Nostos, a Greek restaurant that has just reopened in Hove, Brighton’s less raffish next-door neighbour.
The restaurant’s name Nostos refers to the recurring Ancient Greek theme of the return of a hero from an epic sea journey … you remember… as exemplified in Homer’s The Odyssey. The story of Nostos the restaurant began 20 years ago in the beautiful and cosmopolitan northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, a foodie mecca, where head chef Alex and MD Kyriakos met up before moving to the UK. Their ambition was to start up their own Greek restaurant to showcase a contemporary take on Greek gastronomy and with the launch of Nostos, their dream has now been realised.
The eco-friendly interior is stylish and simple with reclaimed black floor tiles, white brick walls and wool-alternative felt-look grey banquettes and chairs.
There are charming blown up black and white family photographs bedecking the walls and the use of clear plastic screens to ensure safety didn’t spoil the atmosphere in any way.
The menu features many classic Greek dishes but often with an interesting twist and there are many vegan and vegetarian options which is probably a good thing in veggie Brighton.
Whilst we checked out the menu we nibbled on some nicely charred herby pitta bread and tasted our wine, a rosé with the evocative name From Two Villages (Messenicolas and Morfovouni) made with the Black Messinicola grape.
Pale peach in colour it was the perfect summer’s drink with a light fruity sweetness. Greek wines are improving fast and are well worth exploring.
My starter was entitled The Santorinian Octopus courtesy of its smooth, earthy yellow fava bean purée accompaniment. Nestled in the purée was a deliciously tender caramelised octopus tentacle with samphire strands acting as a vegetal foil. The dish took me back to happy memories of the volcanic Aegean island.
Kalamarakia were nuggets of freshly cut deep-fried squid served hot and crispy from the fryer with a super-garlicky vegan aioli and a wicked chilli chutney. Very moreish!
Moving onto mains, Nostos’ Vegan Moussaka was a lighter version of the meat classic with grilled aubergines, courgettes, peppers & potatoes slathered with a gentle lentil ragu and a creamy vegan bechamel sauce. The crunch of cashews and breadcrumbs was counterpointed by the softness of the aubergine giving a satisfying mouth feel and sense of textural contrast.
Seafood Giouvetsi was a more sophisticated plate, Nutty Orzo pasta came studded with king prawns and squid all cooked in a saffron bisque. Graviera cheese added a touch of saltiness. The dish had a wonderfully subtle seafood flavour and the addition of a dehydrated prawn, standing guard over the dish, was a tasty treat.
In Greece, it’s normal to have some watermelon as a refreshing dessert but it’s impossible to get the quality of fruit in this country. We chose the Mango and Coconut Mousse with Pasteli (sesame bar bites). With a mango and coconut mousse, mango and jasmine coulis and a mango gel it provided some tropical sweetness to help us on our journey home.
If you’re a fan of Greek cuisine then Nostos is well worth a visit to Hove. Just a stone’s throw from the sea it has friendly service as well as outdoor seating for the summer, offering a less frenetic alternative to Brighton.
63a Holland Rd,
Phone: 01273 713059