Our new regular pub
Brighton Food Reviewer, Ross Byatt, March 2017
After the usual long slog of moving house, Lucy and I are in our new place in Hanover and very happy. Now comes the new task of finding a local pub we both love. I’m not complaining as this gives us the opportunity to try nearby pubs and choose a new favourite. Hanover is spoilt with great pubs so it’s not going to be an easy decision but hey, it will be great fun finding out.
Tonight we are heading to The Independent, highly recommended to me for both the beer selection and the great food so I have high hopes and we are both very excited.
As we walk in to the pub from the rain outside we are hit with a sense of warmth and comfort; low lighting, local art on the walls and a friendly smile behind the bar. We chat to the guys at the bar and are shown to our table, the atmosphere is really relaxed and I feel at ease here.
Great selection of drinks
The Independent has a great selection beers and, on their recommendation, I choose the So.LA Dark Revolution Pale Ale. It is easy drinking and has a great bitterness – even Lucy liked it and she is not the biggest fan of beer. Lucy, on recommendation, orders the Vinho Verde, a white with a slight spritz to it. She lets me have a little sip, it is dry and crisp and if the beer wasn’t so good I would join her and make it a whole bottle.
Mouth watering menu
The menu looks mouth watering and there isn’t a single dish I wouldn’t eat. For starters there are delights like the mackerel, toast and anchovy & chilli ketchup, or the cider poached pear, Brighton Blue, hazelnut, endive, cider gel and rocket pesto. The choice of mains is amazing, such as the pork & apple burger, smoked Applewood cheddar, slow cooked BBQ onion, mustard mayo and hand cut chips, or the highly recommended Harvey’s ale battered smoked haddock, minted peas, tartar and hand cut chips, I hear the smoked flavour adds another dimension to this British classic.
To start I cannot resist the confit rabbit, smoked pancetta bon bon served with a carrot jam and pickled cucumber. It sounds exciting and I cannot wait. Lucy orders the lobster bisque served with Independent bread (I will be trying a little of this as well).
Whilst we wait for the starters and enjoy our drinks we order some grilled padron peppers, drizzled with olive oil and sea salt. These are tasty, so great as a snack at the bar, the grilled taste adds a nice bitterness to the peppers, they are extremely moreish.
Winning flavour combinations
Lucy’s face lights up as the starters are being brought out from behind me and my nose fills up with the aroma of the rich intensity of the lobster bisque. The rabbit and pancetta bon bons are crispy and sit perfectly on top of the carrot jam, the cucumber nestled between each bon bon. The rich gamey rabbit with the smokiness of the pancetta is a winning combination and the crisp coating on the outside excellent, taking a mouthful with the carrot jam and cucumber brings the whole dish alive.
Bold lobster bisque
Lucy’s lobster bisque is served with the Independent bread which is a mini little loaf and looks really good, a little touch like that always brings a smile to my face and when you tear it open it tastes even better than it smells. The lobster bisque is bold, full of flavour and you can taste how much time care and attention went in to the dish from the chef, every spoon brings a depth of flavours and a punch to the taste buds.
For mains I have ordered the thyme roasted chicken, polenta cake, sage, sweet carrots, kale, crispy bacon and a red wine jus. Lucy has ordered the pan fried slip sole, crushed new potatoes, lemon dill butter and a mussel veloute.
Thumbs up chef!
The chicken is moist and cooked perfectly, the crispy skin is adds yet more flavour to the well prepared bird. The polenta cake is light, creamy and really tasty, a nice change from potatoes. The kale is vibrant in colour and cooking it this well makes it liven up a plate and palate. The carrots add a sweetness through the earthy plate, the crispy bacon adds some saltiness against the rich red wine jus, the jus is that good that if you were not out in public you would lick the plate clean. The chef (Sam Ireland) gets another thumbs up from me!
Another superb main
The pan fried slip sole is served on an elegant speckled plate, nestled amongst crushed new potatoes and dill butter, with the mussel veloute poured over the dish. The mussel shells glisten with the shimmer of the sauce and the vibrant green of the samphire really compliments the dish. The slip sole is cooked wonderfully and it pulls cleanly from the bone, it is moist and tender and the richness of the butter compliments both the potatoes and the fish. The mussel veloute adds another taste of the sea, the mussels are fresh and juicy and the samphire has a nice bite to add the perfect garnish to a superb main course.
The Independent is a triumph and every pub looking to offer cuisine at the next level should could along and see how it should be done.
Fantastic sweet finish
Lucy has the sweet tooth so persuades me to order a dessert which we can then share. It wasn’t a hard decision, based on the rest of the meal I think we are in for a treat. We order the vanilla panna cotta, served with white chocolate, meringue and strawberries. On my request we also order the white chocolate & wild berry cheesecake. Both desserts look amazing, the cheesecake has a tasty soft biscuit base, with the light white chocolate filling which melts in your mouth, the tart berries cut through the creamy white chocolate and make for a fantastic finish to a great meal.
Has a good wobble!
The panna cotta is light and has that great wobble that you look for, dressed with broken pieces of meringue for added sweetness and shards of white chocolate which make this a feast for the eyes. The strawberries served both as a sauce and pieces add vibrancy to this dessert. The Independent have made me decide to save more room for desserts in the future.
Already booking again
I am so happy to have moved a short walk from The Independent and will be certainly be a local for regular visits. With friendly, attentive service, delicious food and an amazing drinks selection, The Independent has swiftly become one of our favourite Hanover pubs. In fact I am booking another table for the near future and cannot wait to try more of the menu.