Brighton, a perennially popular destination for London day trippers is increasingly being recognised as one of the UK’s most exciting cities for dining out.The restaurant scene here has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Brighton bristles with talent and the chefs behind restaurants such as Silo, 64 Degrees and Etch are finally gaining national recognition, drawing the attention of critics, TV producers and gastro-tourists, too.
Friday – Artists Residence Brighton, a hotel by the seaside
About the hotel
If we were to design our ideal hotel we’d demand a great restaurant, cocktail bar and café. The Artists Residence Brighton has all of these. Home to The Set Restaurant, this 23-bedroom townhouse can be found in Regency Square with views over West Pier.
Arriving at the hotel, we are warmly welcomed and swiftly checked into an‘Arty Double’ room on the first floor. Rooms are split into three categories. Artist Rooms and House Rooms vary in size and each has their unique identity and interior design character. If you’re planning to bring the family, larger rooms which sleep up to 6 are available ‘Below Deck’ on the lower ground floor.
With our luggage on the rack, it was straight downstairs to the Cocktail Shack for a quick pre-prandial. This bustling hotel bar does a brisk trade and is popular with locals and hotel guests alike. Their short list of signature drinks list,pun-filled riffs on movie personalities, changes regularly. However they’ll also go off-menu for you if you like. The ‘Martinez Scorsese’ - their version of Martinez and the Aviation they served up were second to none.
Dinner at Pascere
Pascere, a newly opened brasserie on Duke Street, occupies a historic building and is set over two floors – complete with dining counter and terrace. The restaurant been designed with a careful eye to interior design, seating can be a bit tight in places but is still very comfortable.
If you’re looking for somewhere which will please parents or in-laws, we think we might have just found THE place - here’s why. The menu, available as either a la carte or 8-course tasting menu includes some show-stoppingly delicious entries. Johnny Stanford, formerly of Edinburgh’s 21212 has quickly made his mark, his talents were on withtwo impressive starters of Pan fried lamb sweetbreads with ewe’s milk panna cotta and umami-laden Beef cheek tortellini, mushroom puree and beef consommé.
Without missing a beat, with glasses charged we gird ourselves for mains. Two sublime dishes in the form of Roast lamb breast with watercress puree, samphire and pressed potatoes and a beautifully cooked piece of Pan fried stone bass with girolle mushrooms and seaweed – we are, after all, dining in a seaside town.
Finally, special mention must also be made of the enticingly priced wine list. It’s on the right edge of adventurous and there are plenty of great choices by the glass, bottle and coravin. Our recommendation is to start with a few glasses of Gonet-Medeville champagne and let the team guide you through the rest – there are some real gems to be found here.
Saturday – A late lunch at 64 Degrees
After struggling through a stack of excellent pancakes at The Artist Residence café, it was time to head out and explore the city.
Tucked away in the lanes of Brighton is 64 Degrees, a tiny and intimate restaurant with a reputation for inventive small plates. The restaurant first opened 2013 and is widely credited as one of the establishments to kick-start Brighton’s dining revolution.64 Degrees is a hit with locals and chef Michael Bremner has a string of accolades to his name – scooping the title of Brighton’s Top restaurant of 2017 in this year’s awards.
Here, guests are invited to sit at the counter and witness the action as dishes fly out of the open kitchen. It’s also great to see Michael, who is there most services, willing to strike a up a conversation about the ingredients and techniques all whilst maintaining a breakneck pace of service.
A table of two can comfortably order the whole menu so don’t hold back. The food here is uncompromising, each of the small dishes containa bevy of flavours packed with sharp and contrasting elements – take for example their salad which combineskimchi, gorgonzola and hazelnut.
Amongst our favourite dishes were the Lobster ravioli with bisque and fried cavolonero, a lasagnette of house made pasta topped with a (64 degree) yolk.Finally, Michael’s winning dish from this year’s Great British Menu, “The Grass is Greener”, is a must try. This impressive (and Instagram worthy) dish brings together ox-tongue, pasta and pickles with wheatgrass butter and parsley puree.
If there’s a single dish which single-handedly showcases the talent, technique and thought which goes into the menu here – this is it.
Dinner at Meatliquor
Whilst the sensible option might’ve been to take an evening off, we saw it more as our duty that we check in to see how one of London’s restaurant outposts was getting on.
Located slightly off the beaten track, Meatliquor BTN is a huge space. From the outside things look mostly similar – a thumping soundtrack, over the top interior design and rammed to the gills on a Saturday night. It was great to see diners of all ages enjoying themselves – not just couples and dates but also dogs and even grandparents.
The ever-reliable order of a Dead Hippie, chili cheese fries and a couple of powerful cocktails to boot wasjust what was needed. We’re pleased to see that one of our favourite burger joints is also going down well with the locals here.
Sunday – Lunch at Murmur
With one final meal in us, we took the opportunity to visit another of Brighton’s new openings, Murmur. Michael Bremner’s second restaurant is situated down on Brighton’s Seafront, next to the British Airways i360 viewing platform. This casual all-day restaurantseats around 40 and can be found in a set of newly renovated arches.
The menu at Murmur is decidedly more rustic than at 64, but no less impressive.Rather than small plates Bremner has gone for an a la carte format, which will appeal to families and holidaymakers. As might be expected there’s an emphasis on fish dishes such as Fish Soup, Ceviche and Fish of the Day which we got heartily stuck into, however we also enjoyed the more cheffy offerings such as their Short Rib Skewers which come served with a sriracha mayonnaise and walnut crumb.
Service is friendly and we’re sure this new addition will be warmly received and a real hit with both locals and visitors in the warmer months.
The journey from London Bridge to Brighton can be done in just over an hour and with such a wealth of dining options on offer, the difficult task of choosing where to eat this time was made somewhat simpler in the knowledge that we will be back. Regularly.
Prices and further information
The Artist Residence can be found at 33 Regency Square, BN1 2GG. Hotel rooms start from £105, the medium Arty Double room costs £190 per night
Pascere - https://www.pascere.co.uk
64 Degrees - www.64degrees.co.uk
Murmur - https://murmur-restaurant.co.uk/
Meatliquor Brighton - https://meatliquor.com/brighton/
This October, Brighton’s Top 20 restaurants will hold their annual restaurant festival with the city’s Top 20 restaurants running events and special menus. For more info visit www.brightonsbestrestaurants.com/octoberbest-2017
Hot Dinners were invited to Brighton. Prices correct at time of publication