On a rainy Winters day November we ventured over to meet the charming Matt from Humble Plates, Brighton’s most saught after pop up dining event. Scroll down to find out more..
Can you tell us where the idea for Humble Plates came from and your line of work before this?
“The idea came from Dan my co-founder wanting to express himself much more than he was able to as an employee rather than a business owner. I had a background in brewing and Dan was really into his beer so we both agreed we wanted to make tasting menus more accessible to people and bring a bit of fun to them, bringing social groups together with refined but homely rustic dishes, rather than pretentious dishes while pairing with beers initially as it hadn’t been done much as with wine. So we started off doing 5 course menu pop-ups around town (Brighton) initially which we still try to do but that was our foundation.”
So would you describe the events you run as quite informal?
“Yes casual dining and really relaxed.
With the new pop-ups we are going to run we will be charging £50 per head but you will get 10-12 courses with welcome drink, we want it to be really relaxed as though you have just popped round a mates but with great food. It is a market that Brighton hasn’t really tapped into yet – the exclusivity of fine dining but also to be able to sit next to the chef.”
In three years time where do you see Humble Plates. You have your Croydon site and your expanding in Brighton but do you want to keep it niche in Brighton.
“The plan is to grow with 5-10 franchise sites where they are just running solely kitchens. Then we also plan to have a permanent Humble Plates site in Brighton which will be on the exclusive basis of 10-15 covers, very intimate, very social, just really relaxed. A bit like we are trying to create at Platform9, an exclusive, high end set menu, all based on local food available that day. You will book your table, tell us your dietary requirements then we will prepare that day for everyone coming in that night based on what is good that day such as what the fishmonger recommends, what vegetables are the freshest that day, what beef the butcher is recommending. It will be fresh and local food.”
What would you say has been your favourite moment so far, or has the whole thing been amazing?
“It’s all been wicked really but we have done some pop ups at some big breweries like Siren, which was great. Bison at Home which was also amazing. Our birthday was on This Sunday just gone and we did a pop up at The Set with some of the guys who have helped us out so we got together and did a 10 course tasting menu and everyone did one course each and that was great fun.”
Do you have anything seasonal happening?
“Not really, but we are doing our Sunday Roasts now, and in the Summer we have quite a lot lined up such as Big Brewery pop-ups and cocktail tasting menus. In Croydon we might do a Breakfast Pop-Up with a set menu and different juices. We like to work with Wine Producers and want to do a few single show case nights.”
Do you do Vegetarian or Vegan menus?
“Yes it is really big here in Brighton and much of our small tapas plates come in a vegan option. All of our Burgers can be changed into Vegetarian options. On Monday nights we do “Try Vegan” nights so we do 20% off all the Vegan beers and 3 plates for £10.”
What is the most rewarding part of running Humble Plates?
“Freedom and being able to cook what you love, I guess. The customer interaction when we do the pop-ups, sitting down with the customers, seeing their expressions when they have tried something new. Or when someone not used to a tasting menu is taken out of their comfort zone and ends up really enjoying it – that is really rewarding. Working with other businesses and suppliers such as Bison and the guys at The Joker and Siren Brewery have been great. Foxhole Spirits, all those guys have been awesome basically.”
For your Pop-Ups you obviously do fresh and what’s in but is it locally produced.
“Yes all local.”
From your experience of past Pop-Ups do you find you get repeat customers or are they all new?
“We have definitely got a core following, so on our website you can subscribe and you then get sent pre-release tickets a week in advance of general sale. You also get to know what’s going on, what we are doing, exclusive one-off discounts etc so that’s a big part of why we see our core following coming back. We always want to attract new people but at the same time we want to give back to the core followers.”
To find out more about the team at Humble Plates or to subscribe to find out about upcoming events click here.
All photos were provided by @XDBphotography