Brighton as a Foodie’s Paradise
Think of Brighton and food, and it’s just fish and chips on the beach, right?
The city can now boast a lively mix of restaurants and bars in its famous, characterful Lanes and beyond, which form an attractive backdrop to careful attempts to add to the retail and placemaking mix in and around the area.
One chef in particular has helped to blaze this trail and put the city on the culinary map. Michael Bremner began washing pots in an Aberdeenshire country house hotel where his mother was chef, and later worked in London at celebrated restaurants including Marco Pierre White’s Quo Vadis and the Michelin-starred Orrery. But after spending some time in Australia and Canada, he settled in Brighton, where he opened the pioneering, multi-award-winning restaurant 64 Degrees on Meeting House Lane in 2013.
The restaurant has gone from strength to strength ever since; every year it has been awarded a prestigious Bib Gourmand by Michelin and it was voted 30th in the national restaurant top 100 list 2017. Now, having won BBC TV’s Great British Menu 2017, Bremner has opened Murmur on Brighton seafront to broaden the appeal with a more family-based offering.
Bremner isn’t the only famous chef leading the line, however. Thomasina Myers, another TV chef who began on MasterChef on BBC TV, has also been drawn in by Brighton’s charms, having followed Jamie Oliver before her to set up one of her chain of Wahaca restaurants on New Road, a stone’s throw from Hanningtons Estate.
But it is really the small independents rather than the big chains, which chime with the feel of the city and its world-famous Lanes – both north and south. Here you can find cool coffee bars like Pelicano – a hip bar selling coffee and cakes on Sydney Street. Or there’s the indie coffee roaster Small Batch, nestled in the ground floor of MyHotel, with its buzzing evening cocktail scene.
If it’s more substantial food you’re after, you could do worse than sample the traditional fish favourites at English’s in the heart of the winding Lanes, or perhaps the long-standing vegetarian excellence of Terre a Terre. But some new names on the block are making just as many waves. The Salt Room on the seafront is a modern British Restaurant that specialises in seafood and meat grilled in its special, high temperature Josper oven, featuring a terrace looking out to the i360 and seascape beyond. Or there is the ‘eco-chic’ Silo restaurant on Upper Gardner Street, serving innovative fare from produce sourced locally. Isaac At on a side street in the North Laine is also attracting glowing reviews from the Brighton foodie community for its own brand of locally sourced dishes. The 22-seater restaurant boasts an exclusively English wine list too for its set and taster menus.
The Lanes can also point to Riddle and Finns, an established and atmospheric seafood place, while Giggling Squid began a chain of Thai restaurants here in a former fisherman’s cottage, with many small rooms scattered across three floors. Other eclectic additions include popular modern Indian restaurant The Chilli Pickle, while Bus Stop brings a little piece of Barbados to Brighton, its rum-based cocktails a fine accompaniment to Bajan fishcakes or Jerk chicken.
Redevco’s redevelopment of the 132 acre Hanningtons Estate site, helping to drive tourism, the local economy and connect north to south Lanes, will aim to complement and enhance this rich mix of eating and shopping venues, adding its own eclectic mix of retail and leisure to ensure Brighton retains its independent spirit.
It will include an iconic new restaurant within Hanningtons Lane that features a first-floor terrace with views into the bustling new lane and the soon-to-be-revealed Puget’s Cottage. Talks are underway with some exciting operators so watch this space.
Ultimately, as developers across the country strive to ‘curate’ the right mix to lure shoppers away from too many samey, ‘me too’ line-ups, it is clear that Brighton and its ever-growing list of good places to eat already has a major head start. Plus, if you fancy, there’s always fish and chips on the beach…
Iconic new restaurant within Hanningtons Lane
By David Taylor, Brightonian and Editor of New London Quarterly