February marks the 5th birthday of The Urchin. To celebrate, we thought we'd share five things about the pub that you might not know.
When The Urchin first opened, it was operated under a lease from Enterprise Inns, but after a year we were able to become fully independent. This means that every decision we now make is our own, in particular, what beer we serve. More broadly, it gave The Urchin the freedom to think long-term about our future and it gave us the motivation to pour all our love and energy into this single venue, and make it really special. Being locally owned also means that we have deep roots in the neighbourhood and a close proximity between the whole team and the local community.
The Urchin serves one of the largest ranges of craft beers in Brighton, but you only really need to look at the taps and bottle display to work that out. What you can’t see is that under your feet is Nick’s Willy Wonkaesque microbrewery (incidentally, it's in the same space where Brighton Gin started out). Shucked oysters brewed into stout, and apricot into pale ale being among some of the unique creations taking place. The Larrikin Brewery, draws its name from Australian slang, referring, fittingly, to a street urchin or someone always “larkin’ about”.
With names like The Urchin and Larrikin banding about, it doesn’t take a genius to smell an Australian connection, so what’s it all about? Well, Nick Jerrim and partner Brad Jacobsen (who also founded Small Batch Coffee), as well as head chef Sean Brailsford all hark from Down Under. But more than that, while The Urchin keeps the dockyard spirit of the South of England alive with a pint of stout and a plate of oysters, an equally enjoyable shrimp and a cool ale prove that, in terms of taste, Australia really isn’t all that far away at all.
4. The Urchin Family
In addition to a strong Australian flavour, The Urchin also embraces some Latin influences, given that one of the partners, Austen, is married to an Italian, Eva; Head Chef, Sean, is married to a Portuguese, Paula; and former second chef, Ignacio (Iggy), is Spanish. There are some obvious clues on the menus such as Octopus and Potato Salad (which was a hit during “Sicilian Week”); Portuguese Feijoada; and a sharing Seafood Paella on Sundays (see below). What may be less obvious is the Latin influence on The Urchin’s close-knit relationship with its “extended family”: the team, the regulars and the local community, which translates into a real sense of warmth on both sides of the bar.
In most pubs you’ll find a classic English roast of a Sunday, but The Urchin doesn’t want to stray too far from where its heart is - shellfish. Staying true to the tradition of making Sundays in pubs special and comforting, The Urchin serves up a sharing paella, packed to the brim with mussels, squid, king prawns, and cooked to chef Iggy’s family recipe. Served to share with friends and family and best enjoyed over a pint of something citrusy and hoppy, Paella Sunday does an excellent job of summing up why The Urchin is a local close to our hearts.