Meet Brighton Wine Expert: Matt Ainscough

Grew up just outside the city and moved into the joyous bubble that is Brighton about 20 years ago.Brighton Food Reviewer, Matt

A lot has changed here, for better and some worse, but there have never been as many good places to go and eat out at, with as much diversity and quality present too.

I work in the wine trade and have a degree in wine production.

I love wine and food; the two go hand in hand.

For reasons unexplainable I like denim and shirts made from chambray.

Perhaps more reasonably good music, beer, sunshine and sandy beaches also feature strongly.

Jamie's Italian Restaurant, Brighton

Which is your favourite food dish or genre of cuisine and why? 

Impossible to choose one dish and difficult enough to commit to just one cuisine but simple Italian food is up there.

Wholesome rounded flavours from just a handful of ingredients; it’s usually a complete meal from just one or two saucepans on the hob.

With minimal components the cooking techniques and timings are paramount and make all the difference.

It’s unpretentious, need not cost much, need not be carnivorous and you can eat seasonally too.

It’s sociable and makes me happy.

What areas are of great importance to you when you visit a restaurant?

Red Wine at The Coal Shed

The most important aspect has to be the food, even some toast and a cup of tea from a café should deliver but I think other factors can really influence the occasion.

Good cutlery, it might sound daft but first impressions count.

A well judged service is essential and fair pricing relative to the food being served and the environment it’s being served in.

Round plates please, no square offerings or rectangular ones usually employed for starters and puds, they’re both naff. And no wobbly tables either.

A straightforward menu that’s not enormous. Lengthy menus probably mean the microwave and freezer are being used too much.

And finally a decent wine list housing a few surprises is always a bonus, if the wine list is considered then maybe the food will be too…maybe.

What has inspired you to become a food reviewer – or how did it the opportunity come about? 

I work for an independent wine shop in Brighton called Seven Cellars.

South Downs Cellars
One of Matt’s favourite wines

One day Restaurants Brighton boss Nick popped in on his way to a nearby party looking for some local ales and wine.

I recommended a few ideas, we got talking about wine and food, he mentioned the Restaurants Brighton website, the food reviews and I brazenly suggested that I could do that.

So a few weeks later a test article was submitted by me, which seemed to go down quite well and I’ve been eating and writing on a fairly regular basis ever since.

It’s a really good experience.