Bursting on to the scene in golden hues of bright yellow and mint green, CUB is the newest pseudonym of Ryan Chetiyawardana embarking on an exciting venture of food and cocktails. Ryan is the world’s top mixologist having won countless of awards globally for his inventive cocktail menus. His award-winning bars include Dandelyan, Super Lyan and White Lyan. This new food x drinks concept is brought to us by head chef Doug McMaster of Brighton’s pioneering zero-waste restaurant Silo in Brighton. The restaurant sits above Ryan's Super Lyan bar and aims to showcase how a zero- waste restaurant can deliver exceptionally great food. This partnership between considered ingredients and sustainable methods creates a different kind of dining experience- one that educates as well as excites.
As we approach the restaurant from Hoxton station there's already a presence and atmosphere to the popular area for bars and restaurants. We turn the corner on to the main high street and we see a mint green facade amongst the streetscape. An LED light box plastered with 'CUB' in bold type thrusts out from the building. It's confident, inviting and stands out. The reeded glass hides the interior where only blurs of people inside can be seen creating an excitement of what's to come.
We enter and are greeted with a large ice bucket and within it sits a huge bottle of Krug champagne (we can tell it's going to be a good evening). A four-meter-long feature bar extends from the entrance to about 2/3 of the width of the restaurant. We see chefs working alongside bartenders in a fluid synchronised manner that we haven't seen before.
The concept is to 'blur the boundaries between food and drink' done in the most unique and exciting way through the bar/ kitchen which acts as the space for both bartenders and chefs to work creatively in unison to deliver food & drinks alongside each other. The bar/kitchen seems small for both parties to work well together, but it somehow seems to work. This close interaction between the chef and the bartender is what makes the evening and the food so special. The drinks and food are perfectly matched together to enhance certain flavours in the chosen courses.
As we look around we are hit with a boldness that is eponymous of the Lyan reference: fantastically bright yellow leather used for the banquette seating in the booths.
The interior is clever in its language and portrayal of what a restaurant should be about. We are taken to our seats and luckily for us we are sat right in front of the bar/kitchen so we have a perfect view of the guys working away. It’s great to see how the guys deal with working in such a constrained space. On a magnetic metal wall, kitchen and cocktail utensils are stuck on to help deal with the lack of space for drawers etc. It’s a humorous way to deal with tight space constraints and is a feature CUB has adopted from the Silo restaurant in Brighton. The booth seats a table of 4 so it's nice if you come as a party of two you can experience the night with people you don't know.
We are given the menu and the waitress tells us a little about how the restaurant operates. The concept is explained as one leaning towards how we consume our produce, the main ethos being ‘sustainable living doesn’t have to be about sacrifice.’ A lot of wastage comes from vegetables and this restaurant looks at how we can combat that. Using ingredients like cobnut and green tomato as stars of the dish it brings new light to these forgotten about ingredients. Surprisingly none of the dishes contained any meat (for obvious reasons) which was a nice change and went unnoticed. This sustainable concept is reflected in the design through the chosen materials used from yoghurt pot tables to recycled clay walls that filter the air.
The waitress advises on getting the set menu as you can try everything they have to offer as well as the famous Lyan drinks. This sounds perfect for us so that's what we opt for. Still water is brought to the table in a clear glass jug with an illustrated drawing of 'still as fuck' written on it. It’s nice to see a comical and relaxed side to the restaurant that combats the idea that sustainable living is sometimes boring. This comical language is further expressed in the menu and the graphic within the toilets. Male and female genitalia is used to represent the WCs in a very childlike illustration. It has the right amount of silliness and fun.
Attention to detail is evident in this small restaurant. Consideration of materiality, graphic and layout all work together to create an intimate yet fun dining experience. The bold stitched leather booth seating that wraps around the space, the artistic terrazzo table tops, and eco-friendly paper mache style pendant lights bring together this new space.
Some of our favourites were the 'Shrooms on Shrooms' and Green Tomato with White Peach. All in all, CUB is exceptional value for money with incredible food and drinks options. We would definitely recommend CUB so get down asap.