We got together with the Englishman in the M1NT kitchen to ask a few questions about his menu. Grant Brunsden started in London’s Tsunami and with a resume that’s seen him work in Nobu, St John and Ai New Delhi, he has a globe-spanning if not diverse repertoire. When posed with “How do you keep it together, current and crowd pleasing all at the same time?” Grant gave us his pointers:
Freshness is about variety:
"If you’re sharing it’s more fun. You can have a steak next to a bowl of dumplings, as long as they’re both good!” With a menu that ranges from Rangers Valley black Angus beef served with a wasabi dipping sauce (pictured above left), to Cantonese shrimp and prawn wonton soup (pictured above right), Brunsden is open to the Chinese approach to group eating. "Many of our diners like to mix it up. These are big portions, and up here in the right atmosphere the fun begins."
Good food means trial and error
"We’re always playing with new ideas in the kitchen. If something doesn't work for people we cut it from the menu. Simple." The result is refined variety, each dish a culinary iteration. Take the black cod (pictured above) for example: starting with Brunsden’s perfected dashi base, the fish is covered in a miso marinade and wrapped in bamboo. Three days later it's roasted and served unwrapped. It’s one of their best sellers. Robust yet succulent and paired with the complex miso tones, it oozes experience.
Find good produce
"Be ready to work with what the ship brings in. I’m eating strawberries in the middle of winter and so seasonality becomes finding a blend of good local and international produce". At M1NT, sourcing is a key to maintaining a current menu. Their sea bass and bream and even foie gras are sourced locally, and increasingly too are the subtleties that make a superior dish. "Three years ago there were no pea shoots in China; now we use them every day," Brunsden tells us. As a garnish to the rolled octopus terrine (pictured above) they add a distinct yet complementary layer.
Brunsden’s approach demonstrates the confidence of someone who’s seen it all. "At the end of the day, if the restaurant is full, people are happy and having fun, then our menu considerations have done their job."