Tutto is the latest venture from veteran Brighton restaurateur Raz Helalat. You’ll be familiar with his other establishments – The Coal Shed, The Salt Room and Burnt Orange – all of which are undoubtedly big names on the city’s dining scene.
It’s fair to say Tutto got off to a rocky start, but I’d suspect that might have been expected when plans for the restaurant only emerged during the depths of the pandemic lockdowns (remember them?).
Unfortunately, chefs and their brigades have come and gone in a short space of time, but anyone who works in the restaurant world on a daily basis can wholeheartedly understand — and feel the frustration and pain — of staff recruitment and retention.
It’s a seller’s market at the moment, with some but not all staff dictating terms, which is less helpful for an existing restaurant, let alone a new one.
The concept is proudly Italian, in fact you step inside the venue – the former Allied Irish Bank on Marlborough Place – and you are immediately transported to another world.
As with Raz’s other restaurants, the attention to detail is impeccable: Abstract futuristic canvases adorn the walls, luxe potted palms, and a choice of inviting tables and banquette seating.
I’m a big fan of eating – and of course drinking – at the bar, so I was particularly impressed by this marble-topped marvel and beautifully crafted shelves, which offered an alluring view of the semi-open kitchen beyond.
I had dinner with my sister on a rather chilly Wednesday evening in late November, so we were both delighted to be enfolded in this inviting space and greeted with friendly aplomb by the front of house team.
Within moments we were seated, sipping a white Negroni and a classic dry gin martini.
There is a pretty decent selection of snacks and appetizers on the a la carte menu that will please everyone.
With four choices of prime pasta dishes and only three second choices, the entrees are a bit more limited, but the portions — and the prices — mean you can easily and inexpensively choose multiple starters and entrees to enjoy alone or with friends.
In an attempt to sample the best of the menu, we opted for the “Taste of Tutto”, available for tables of two to eight people, offering the main dishes from the a la carte menu.
Service is professional yet informal, plates arriving at the table at leisurely – but no doubt well-timed – intervals, meaning you’ll always have something tasty in front of you as the conversation and wine flow.
With that in mind, the house wines are available in carafes, which is a great way to drink well and change up your wine choices throughout your meal.
Our first plate was seared tuna with green beans, radish and spicy orange sauce.
The different textures and more than a hint of chili really made this a spectacular start to the meal, a little party that popped in my mouth.
The accompanying dish was the lasagna crocchetta, which I think can best be described as a fried pie with ragu and creamy béchamel sauce and topped with shaved parmesan.
If you like lasagna – which I do – then there’s really nothing to like here and it absolutely does the job on the can. I’ll pinch this recipe for my next dinner party at home.
Next, a dish of baked celery with artichokes, mushrooms and hazelnuts. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of celeriac, but this has become one of my two favorite dishes.
Much like tuna, the considered layering of textures and flavors really made the ingredients sing. On my next visit I will order two of this dish just for myself, so stay away.
The slow-braised Chianti beef leg pasta is exactly what you would expect. Really decent handmade pasta with a wonderfully rich, deep, melt-in-the-mouth beef sauce.
It’s what you would find in pretty much any restaurant in Italy, but it’s so often difficult to find in any Italian restaurant in the UK.
And so to the final savory dish, an impressively well-prepared piece of extremely fresh sea bass.
Since Raz owns The Salt Room I wouldn’t expect anything less. Big chunks of succulent white meat and a perfectly crispy skin, topped with sweet and sticky roasted shallots and on a bed of wild mushrooms.
The skill of the kitchen cannot be overlooked with this dish and the origin of the ingredients.
Paired with well-seasoned cavolo nero leaves – again with a touch of chili – and roasted new potatoes with rosemary were the perfect bedfellows.
By this point in the meal I really didn’t have room for dessert, but it seemed rude not to. Another Tutto signature dish – the chocolate and hazelnut tart – rounded out the meal, and I’m so glad it did.
Though billed as a unique take on Ferrero Rocher’s restaurant, aesthetically it’s perhaps best described as a celebratory stickless lollipop. Delicious. Ambassador, you really spoil us.
We ate early at 6pm but by the time we left at 8pm every table in the restaurant was occupied by groups of friends, families and at least one first date (I have big ears).
Pulling off that midweek at a new opening is quite an achievement, and walking home through North Laine and The Lanes, few other restaurants could claim to have a full house.
Despite initial teething problems, I have absolutely no doubt that Tutto will quickly establish itself as one of Brighton’s most popular restaurants.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23183707.i-predict-will-become-go-to-brighton-restaurant/?ref=rss “I expect this to become a popular restaurant in Brighton”