TWO brothers who run one of the city’s best-loved restaurants have opened a new eatery – and it’s already gone down a treat with an Albion star.

Mo and Ali Razavi launched Asian place Anakuma, in Brighton’s Preston Street, as a tribute to their late mother Lindsay.

Among their early customers was Seagulls winger Solly March, 29, who feasted on an array of small plates with pals just weeks after the venue opened.

Mo, 28, and Ali, 26, were delighted with Solly’s visit, and are hoping to establish Anakuma on Brighton’s thriving food scene, which includes their Mexican restaurant Halisco, a stone’s throw away in the same road.

The Argus: We hope to hit the heights again - it’s a tribute to Mum

Mo said: “We love all our customers and strive to serve good quality food to all of them to keep them coming back.

“It was a pleasure to have Solly and his friends in and it was quite a surprise given we’d not been open very long.

“He was incredibly polite and really enjoyed the food.

“We’ve tweaked our menu a bit since he came in, but we still have the same high standards and quality thanks to our superb staff.

“We hope to keep rolling out good food from both Anakuma and Halisco for the people of our home city for years to come.”

Mo and Ali got the keys to the restaurant, which was previously Café Royale, on August 31 and astonishingly opened 42 days later having ripped up the site to start from scratch.

With the help and hard work of a number of good friends, they worked day and night to get the building how they wanted for launch.

Anakuma made it on to the Octoberbest restaurant festival lineup as a wildcard and was fully booked on the days it opened for it.

Mo and Ali wanted Anakuma to be a tribute to mum-of-ten Lindsay, who died of lung cancer in 2021 aged 63.

And it is – from the moment you catch a glimpse of it from the outside.

The word Anakuma, based around the Japanese word for badger, which was Lindsay’s nickname, is etched in white across a black sign. Alongside that is a badger’s head.

Inside, there is a print of a badger hanging up. Ali mucked in to rebuild the restaurant into their image which DIY enthusiast Lindsay, who had nine grandchildren, would have been proud of.

It now has a rustic charm, with hanging lights, distressed walls, banquette seating and 15 wooden tables for 44 covers with the Anakuma sign crafted into them.

It is manned by three front-of-house staff, a kitchen porter and two chefs, with Mo overseeing the operation while Ali does the same at Halisco.

Ali said: “We ripped the place back to the original high ceilings it had in place 45 years ago.

“Mum was incredible at DIY, so she would have been so happy to see the work we did in knocking everything down and starting from scratch.

“She was so proud of every single one of her kids and grandkids, and it’s heartbreaking that she can’t share this journey with us, in person at least.

“Mum cared so much about Halisco – she worked in the kitchen there and loved it with all her heart. It’s been a really tough journey, and it’s not going to get any easier any time soon.

“We’ve gone down the affordable eating route due to the cost of living crisis so our prices have dropped, and the most expensive thing on the menu is £9. We’re delighted with how things have gone so far but now we need to keep improving and push on.

“Preston Street is full of great restaurants, including plenty of Asian ones but we figured there weren’t bao buns on the street yet. They’re becoming hugely popular so we saw a gap there and went for it.

“We wanted to do something similar to Halisco but different at the same time. The concept is similar with small plates, but the vibe is calmer.”

Lindsay was a kitchen porter at multiple award-winning Halisco, which was launched in 2017 by another of her sons, Ismaeel, 37. It was later sold to Mo and Ali.

Mo said: “Mum was such a great team player and gave everything she could to Halisco.

“She was in her 60s and had raised ten kids but wanted to give her all to help it be a success for Ismaeel and then us. I hope Anakuma will one day hit the same heights as Halisco and become known as one of the best places to eat in Brighton.

“That would be a lovely tribute to our wonderful mother.”

At Halisco they have raised thousands of pounds through fundraisers for charities including Chomp, which helps families on low incomes and they plan to do the same at Anakuma.

Anakuma serves snacks, small plates and bao buns and last month the menu was freshened up to include dishes cooked on an indoor barbecue using Japanese charcoal.

The fluffy steamed buns are made fresh in house, with four options – crispy duck, fried baby octopus, glazed pig cheek or oyster mushroom for vegetarians. They cost £7.50, with one per portion.

They are coated in different tasty flavours with the pig cheek served with a wasabi mayo and pickled apples.

Quirky small plates include a scallion pancake accompanied by miso butter and deep-fried seaweed hash browns which come with banana ketchup. Both dishes are £5.50.

For the slightly less adventurous punters, there are dishes such as pork belly with satay sauce and sriracha, or roasted Thai aubergine with green curry sauce (both £6).

Among the grub fresh from the fire pit flames are king prawns with black garlic butter and Chinese chive (£9) and Korean chicken on a bed of lettuce with kewpie mayonnaise (£8).