Notably, they emerged as Plant Champions category winners in the BRAVO Awards 2023 and also secured the second-best restaurant spot among the best restaurants in Brighton. Since then, Dominic and the Bonsai team have received glowing acclaim from Grace Dent, earning praise nationally for their exceptional plant-based Asian cuisine.
‘Definitely remarkable and unusual’ Grace Dent, The Guardian
Situated on Baker Street, in close proximity to Brighton Open Market and London Road, Bonsai Plant Champion stands as a very exciting addition to the restaurants in Brighton, offering a unique and acclaimed dining experience.
How did it feel winning a BRAVO in 2023?
The BRAVO awards has massively helped put Bonsai Plant Kitchen on the map, and without these independent awards it is very hard for small businesses to stand out in such a competitive market. It’s also great that the BRAVOs are voted for by the people, meaning it is a very true representation of how the public feel. We are very grateful to be included in the BRAVOs and hope to be a part of it every year.
At our core we are an experimental plant based restaurant so this was the category we were gunning for.
Describe your restaurant offering.
Share a whistle-stop tour of your career?
Did an apprenticeship at the Dorchester hotel mayfair, moved to Australia where I worked at the Sydney Opera House, then onto Melbourne where i worked at ‘UNCLE” a Vietnamese fusion restaurant where I would say most of my cooking influence has come from. Then onto New Zealand where I found my love of cooking over wood, and then back to the UK where I eventually found Brighton.
Most important culinary inspiration?
David Chang, founder of “MOMOFUKU” love his style of Korean fusion cooking and sharing plate concepts.
Favourite review so far?
The Grace dent review we received in the Guardian was particularly special.
What’s new for Bonsai Plant Kitchen?
We are constantly evolving the menu’s both food and drink, and new staff bring fresh ideas, we are constantly doing upgrades to the aesthetics of the Brighton restaurant and have some exciting new interior changes happening in the new year.
Which dishes are your customers enjoying on your menu?
The best selling dish has been our Korean cauliflower,
it’s been so popular we decided to start bottling the sauce that it’s dressed in, which you can buy in the restaurant, and in terms of wow factor the Tempura “Sea bream seems to always blow people away.
How is your business adapting to current economic conditions?
It has been incredibly touching on everyone, luckily our customer base has been very loyal, but we have seen a lot of independent businesses disappear which is very sad.
Hopefully people continue to support small local businesses like ourselves !
Advice you would give to an aspiring chef?
Be passionate, stay focused, listen, don’t be late.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Dealing with the exponential rising cost of almost everything, while still trying to maintain a reasonably priced offering.
Favourite Sussex Supplier?
“The original mushroom company”, owned by Luke, top quality mushrooms, and always changing with the seasons, keeps us on our toes and Luke is a top bloke.
Your go-to knife, which brand is it and why do you love it?
Serrated Victorinox chef knife, a great entry level knife for anyone, inexpensive, and hard wearing wish is necessary for us doing predominantly veg prep all day.
How do you relax?
In essence I don’t, it’s on my mind most of the time, and I feel that’s necessary this early on. But when I get time I go and eat out whenever I can.
Favourite places to dine in Brighton and elsewhere?
What do you like to eat / cook when you’re at home?
I like things from my childhood.
The only thing that has changed is that they are plant based now, but things like shepherds pie, bangers and mash, roast dinners, basically home cooked dishes.