Dariush Tamadon-Nejad, whose past roles include group general manager for Hix Restaurants, became general manager at Brighton restaurant the Salt Room in the Hilton Metropole hotel in February. He is also general manager for sister site the Coal Shed. He speaks to Neil Gerrard about sustainability and the future of Brighton's dining scene
Where did the idea for the Salt Room come from?
Who will appeal to?
Everybody! A neighbourhood restaurant for all the people of Brighton and visitors alike.
Why did you choose Brighton?
It's [the company's] home town, and we believe Brighton needs and wants another great restaurant.
Where will you be sourcing the seafood that you serve from?
As local as we can get it, as long as the quality is there. Most of our fish comes from MCB Seafood, based in Newhaven, and we make sure it is all sustainable.
We currently have shoulder of turbot, which was caught off Beachy Head on a boat named Halcyon, served with a warm red wine tartar dressing. Our cod with braised octopus and shellfish bouillon is caught between Brighton and Newhaven, and the black bream is caught between Hastings
and Rye. Our brill is caught just off the Sussex coast on a boat called Bounty Hunter.
How do you think the Brighton restaurant scene has changed over the past few years?
Brighton diners have become more discerning and increasingly interested in where their food is from. Also, a lot of young chefs have come through the ranks and there are now a lot of innovative people running their own kitchens and having the freedom to present their dishes to the public.
We believe that Brighton is fast becoming an exciting city to eat out in and we are thrilled to be part of its renaissance.
You've worked for lots of well-known names, including J Sheekey, Hix and Bumpkin. What have you learned in those roles that you are applying here?
Bringing together a team of young, passionate people to help launch it was key. Attention to detail, consistency, warm and charming hospitality and a savvy, knowledgeable team will always help a restaurant succeed.
I have learned that people remember the whole experience when they dine in a quality restaurant - from the greeting on arrival to the smiles from the staff as you walk past, to the charm of your server, the coldness of your martini, the cleanliness of the toilets, and the dish suggested to you that
you never thought you wanted but were so glad you tried. Great restaurants leave you with a memory and the desire to return.
Is the business planning any more sites?
Watch this spaceâ¦