Sunday, 10 March 2019

Cin Cin, Hove, Italian restaurant review

Bowie, Beirut, The Flaming Lips and The Shins.

Does a restaurant which has good taste in music also have good taste in food?

Using Cin Cin’s above playlist as an unscientific sample of one means the conclusion is a resounding yes.

Having opened in central Brighton in 2016, this seasonal Italian small plate and pasta restaurant expanded to Hove in 2018. Last year, the Brighton mothership picked up a Michelin Bib Gourmand for its cracking yet good value counter top cooking and interesting selection of Italian wines.

We visited the Hove branch where there wasn’t the slightest whiff of a melon with parma ham or tagliatelle carbonara.

Kicking off the meal were all three small plates on offer (3 for £20).

Cleansing discs of raw kohlrabi “ravioli” were stuffed with rich and meaty mackerel tartare dotted with fragrant dill oil and punchy capers. Blobs of vibrant yellow saffron aioli added a luxury tang.

A pile of gloriously tender, lightly crumbed sweetbreads were sat on a nut brown, big flavoured roasted celeriac puree.

A bready chickpea flour pizzetta was topped with light and creamy stracciatella cheese, sweet and tangy blood orange marmalade and a faintly sweet pistachio puree. It was perfectly pleasant but the sweet and creamy notes veered dangerously towards dessert territory.

Mains were both great pieces of comfort food.

Gnocchi (£14) was one of the finest iterations I've had. Light, squidgy and humming with savoury gorgonzola, they were bathed in a creamy tomato sauce flecked with fatty fragrant fennel sausage, fennel slices, and topped with gooey melted cheese, savoury parmesan and the crunch of toasted breadcrumbs. Woof.

I’d never heard of cresc’tajat pasta or Indo-Italian cooking before but Mrs G’s main course (£12) was a big hit. The sauce-grabbing, firm-textured pasta (traditionally made with leftover polenta) was well coated in an aromatic and tangy curry sauce with a big hit of shellfish and dotted with plump mussels and sweet golden sultanas.

To accompany dessert, we both had a glass of deliciously different Bianchdudui moscato under flor (£6.50). Like sherry, this wine is aged under a flor of spontaneous yeasts but without the addition of fortifying brandy. The resulting wine was dry, savoury, peachy, and a little bit funky.

A lovely selection of creamy young pecorino; seriously creamy, salty and funky gorgonzola; and a well aged crystallised parmesan (£8) were joined by thin cracker shards and a sweet and tangy tomato and pear chutney.

A pair of unadorned scoops of textbook salted caramel gelato (£4.50) were thick, salty and vanilla-flecked with a big toasted caramel note.

Including service and a decent amount of booze, our bill came to a very reasonable £44 quid a head. We had a lush dinner at Cin Cin and I reckon there’s definitely a gap in the market in Cardiff for an innovative pasta joint along the lines of London's Padella, Bristol's Pasta Loco or Cin Cin - I wonder if Giovanni's Pasta Piatto in Cardiff Bay or Victoria Park's Mastri Pastai will provide the answer?

The Details:
Address - Cin Cin Hove, 60 Western Rd, Hove BN3 1JD
Web -
Telephone - 01273 726047


  1. Thanks for visiting and the great review. When we make our next visit to Cardiff we know who to ask for restaurant recommendations!

    1. No problem at all... thanks for the delicious meal! Please do get in touch if you ever need any Cardiff tips.