You may well have walked past this little pearl of a home of authentic cuisine without being aware of it so it is time that I opened eyes and activated tastebuds on your behalf! Ali, who opened Alushi six years ago, is passionate about cooking. He learned his trade at home in Lebanon, from the age of fifteen, with his mother, aunt and grandmother. He went on to study catering formally for three years in his home country before arriving in the UK twenty years ago.
Our host is the personification of his Phoenician roots where deeply caring hospitality is paramount. As you walk into Alushi you are greeted warmly by Ali as though you are coming into his home.
Bare brick walls wrap around two sides of the compact inside dining area with the third taken up by the open kitchen. There is room for roughly a dozen diners here but several more alfresco. My dining partner and I chose to sit, at the back of the restaurant, on the bench seats made comfortable with varyingly coloured cushions.
The menu, lists multiple options, catering equally for vegetarian, vegan and carnivore diners. You can choose a full platter dish, as we did, to linger over or a wrap; easiest for eating on the go. All of which can be what Ali calls “twisted” to suit your individual requirements.
My guest chose Lamb Kofta which can also be alternatively served with chicken. His two heavily laden skewers were grilled over charcoal, to his choice and served atop rice cooked with caramelised carrots, side salad plus home-made tzatziki, houmous and chilli sauce with a serious kick, crafted from fresh lemon juice, mixed chilli, turmeric, garlic and black pepper. He waxed lyrical on the freshness of the dish and how the meat was so succulent that it fell apart as he cut into it.
My veggie platter consisted of spicy potato cooked with pomegranate, halloumi exquisitely cooked with honey basil sauce, sliced aubergine, homemade falafel to die for, tzatziki and houmous. The cauliflower florets, which fell apart in my mouth, were fried with delicate seasoning alongside vine leaves stuffed with minted rice. The dish was finished with a lightly dressed fresh salad topped with sliced avocado.
Whilst we were dining customers, many of whom were regulars, planning to eat in, outside or take away were constantly coming and going. We emerged from Alushi planning to come back soon to savour more of this fresh, fragrant and tasty food. IG: alushibrighton
Words by Kairen Kemp