2015 has been a highly eventful year in the Brighton food world. There’s been a new opening nearly every month, some unexpected closures (RIP Warung Tujuh and Set of Scales) and some old faves getting a revamp as well.
Going back through my phone looking at all of the amazing food I’ve consumed this year was pretty overwhelming, to say I’ve eaten well would be a massive understatement…
Whilst I do pay for the vast majority of meals out I have, I am sometimes invited to events and to review new openings etc, so meals mentioned that were complimentary are marked with an asterisk. As ever, any opinions expressed are completely unbiased- I couldn’t sleep at night otherwise, and I do love a good 8 hours. You can read my full disclaimer here.
January: Curry Leaf Cafe
I love Curry Leaf Cafe so much I’ve been three times this year, twice for supper and was lucky enough to be invited to their Birthday party as well, and nothing I’ve eaten there has ever disappointed. I visited in a group recently and everyone was impressed, same goes for everyone else I’ve spoken to, who’s been.
Those lentil donuts (top left) aren’t on the menu anymore, but I think about them often – I might start a petition to get them back, they were that good. They launched their new evening menu a couple of days ago and I’ve got my eye on the whole mackerel dish – another visit is imminent.
Read my full review of my Curry Leaf Cafe here.
February: The Gingerman
The Gingerman is somewhere I’ve been visiting for over 10 years, but never with my blogging hat on, so the invitation to attend the press launch of their refit was not a hard one to say yes to.
Course after course of amazing food with wine to match flowed out of the kitchen, the newly refitted interior was gorgeous and the staff equally so. If you’re looking for consistently special food in a plush setting then any of the group of Gingerman restaurants are going to be a win, but their flagship venue will always have a special place in my heart.
I think a bit like The Salt Room and English’s, The Gingerman seem to fall under the heading of ‘special occasion restaurant’, but even if that is the case – pick an occasion, and go.
Read my full review of The Gingerman here.
English’s was the restaurant where my parents had their wedding breakfast over 30 years ago, and with a grand total of 70 years in business under their belt, English’s is, in my opinion, totally deserving of it’s Brighton institution status.
They invited me to celebrate their anniversary and the launch of their spring tasting menu with some other bloggers, and I know that all of us enjoyed every one of the five courses that we were served. The oysters three ways were a particular highlight for me, definitely some of the best I’ve had in Brighton.
This tasting menu can be yours for a reasonable (I think) £39.95. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back and their terrace is definitely somewhere I would love to return and have a long boozy lunch in the summer.
Read my full review of English’s here.
April: The Salt Room*
I visited a few months after it opened and was treated to the very best that both the food, and cocktail menus had to offer. I went back in September and had the set lunch menu, £17.50 for three courses, which we both really enjoyed and couldn’t get over what great value it was.
The thing about The Salt Room is not just the food, it’s the experience. Beautiful staff, plush interior and some of the nicest loos I’ve ever seen – very definitely the best Brighton has to offer anyway. Lavatories aside, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both my visits – I know some people get arsey about the prices, and yes they are on the enthusiastic side- but I honestly think you cannot question the quality.
Read my full review of The Salt Room here.
As many of you know I’ve been on a painstaking quest, with my pal the Graphic Foodie, to find the best pizza that Brighton has to offer, and after 15 different pizzerias, Nuposto is our unequivocal winner.
Many people try to dispute our claim saying that Fatto Mano is the best, but much as we enjoyed their pizzas, Nuposto are the ones that really float our boat. They also hit all the criteria on our pizza checklist (yes really) squarely on the nose. They are Brighton’s answer to the holy grail of pizza, Franco Manca, that is until a branch of that opens down here, in the spring time.
Check them out, but eat in if you can, you need to eat them fresh from the oven for full effect.
Read my full review of Nuposto here.
June: Bincho Yakitori
From the second I read their blog ‘blood and wasabi’ I knew I was going to love Bincho Yakitori, or as I like to call it; ‘the very best reason to go to Preston Street’.
I went here on a date in their first week of opening and we were the only people in there – fast forward 6 months you will struggle to get a table there at the weekend. They’re not exactly renowned for their marketing so this is mainly down to the fact that they’re extremely good at what they do, and the food I ate deserved to have a queue of salivating people at the door, and by all accounts, they do. A revisit is very much on my agenda.
Check out my full review of Bincho Yakitori here.
July: Papa Pitta*
I visited Papa Pitta twice in the short time they were open and both meals were extremely happy occasions. Their carnival vibe and colourful Cypriot menu were as enchanting as each other, and I was genuinely gutted when they had their license to trade taken away (by our brilliant council).
Menu highlights for me were the sausages, calamari and unusually – the incredible beetroot, feta and walnut salad – something I enjoyed so much I asked for the recipe so I could recreate it at home, unheard of for me as I usually loathe that earthy pink root, but in this context, I could eat dishes and dishes of it.
I know Papa Pitta are looking for a suitable new premises they can call their forever home, and I will be one of the first through the door when they do. I Love everything about them and I know a lot of people feel the same.
Read my full review of Papa Pitta here
August: Set of scales
Another surprising closure at the end of 2015. I’ve eaten here three times now and had the same thing every occasion. Monkfish burger, some sort of cheese drenched fries and a brownie filled with mars bar and marshmallows which honestly is one of the most decadent things I put in my mouth all year.
Although I know many are sad to see the Set of Scales be no more, Twitter is having a moment about their rebrand as The Set Cafe. Check out the menu here and I’m pleased to see that the crab mac ‘n’ cheese is still making an appearance at the new place, it is just dreamy.
Read my full review of Set of Scales here.
September: The Chilli Pickle
I don’t think I know a Brightonian who doesn’t rate The Chilli Pickle. After very little in the way of competition for years they’ve now got a revamped Indian Summer (must try there) and Curry Leaf cafe in the vicinity and doing well, but I’d say that they still very comfortably hold the crown for Brighon’s most loved higher end Indian restaurant. I’ll be posting a review of their lunch deal (above) soon, and their alternative Sunday roast is something I’m very much keen to try ASAP too.
Read my full review of The Chilli Pickle here.
Silo’s name came up twice in my 2014 best Brighton food post last year and in addition to two or three lunch outings here earlier in the year.
I was also lucky enough to be invited to the launch of their tasting menu at the end of October. Every course was unusal (in a good way) accurately cooked, and big on flavour and texture. The venison and blackberry dish was truly exceptional and I’ll be putting a review of all five courses up soon.
To be honest it was a toss-up between this and E Kagen for November’s best meal, but I wrote a whole post about my love for their ramen and gyoza a couple of months ago, so I thought it only fair to give UniThai a shout out as well.
My staple meals during every visit are the duck & pineapple curry, fried rice and morning glory. I order the same thing every time (whilst encouraging whoever I go with to try something different), and their mini supermarket out front is well worth a browse in too.
There’s no bookings, no website and absolutely zero social media activity. I am aware the no-frills interior and rough and ready service won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I love it.
Read my full review of UniThai here.
December: 64 Degrees
There’s an old saying about leaving the best ’til last, and this is absolutely the case in this instance. After having two phenomenal meals there very recently, I think for the first time ever, I will go out on a limb and say; it really is the best restaurant in Brighton.
Having demolished pretty much the full menu twice in as many weeks it would be rude not to put up a review of everything I gorged myself on. Love the staff, love the vibe and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
But for now, here’s my review of the three meals I had at 64 Degrees in 2014.
Because this is best of 2015 it seems only right I include 15 places so I’m going to include three more categories; my favourite roast, my favourite breakfast and a wild card (ooooh I bet you’re on the edge of your seats).
Best roast: Busby & Wilds
Over the four years this blog has been going I have banged on and on about the lack of consistency when it comes to roasts in Brighton. But thankfully, Busby & Wilds, one of the few places who does seem to have a great Sunday offering on lockdown is only two roads away from my flat.
The interior is warm and homely, the meat is local and the vegetable are perfectly cooked and served with care. As always, I must bemoan the lack of cheese element, they’re not going to add one, but I always feel the need to comment on it before one of you do. it’s a shame, but in this case not a deal breaker, simply because everything else is so good.
I don’t know anyone who’s got a bad word to say at them and Fran wrote a lovely review of their evening menu recently too.
Check out my Best Brighton roast posts here.
Best Breakfast: Joe’s Cafe Biggest breakfast
I’ve eaten an embarrassing number of their breakfasts in a number of embarrassing states, and each and every time I’ve been looked after perfectly.
I love their hashes, their breakfasts, their coffee and their fizzy drink selection, and one of my proudest foodie achievements is demolishing one of their monstrous hashageddons. I have to admit I am unfaithful to them with the occasional flirtation with Billie’s jumbo breakfast, the pancake stacks at The Breakfast Club and I eat a lot at my local Egg & Spoon too, but if you asked me which one was my favourite I would say Joe’s in a heartbeat.
Wildcard: My unexpected juice cleanse*
I’m including this because it’s one of the blog related memories of 2015 that really stands out for me, and the second week of January is, after all, prime time for this sort of thing.
The owner of Juicytox approached me to try his 4 day juice cleanse and I LOLed & went about my day. But a couple of weeks later I found myself replying to his email asking to find out more. Before I knew it I was balls-deep in ginger shots and activated charcoal, a truly sad existence in which I genuinely looked forward to my 7pm Cashew Mylk.
Sounds awful doesn’t it? But strangely enough it’s the sort of awful I would actually recommend, and do you know what I really didn’t expect? Just how fucking good I felt during the last three days. I can’t lie, it was a nightmare and I felt internally psychotic at times, but the difference in my sleep quality, energy levels and belly circumference were undeniable.
Aside from the sheer willpower it took not to cave in and order a pizza, the main thing it really taught me is the difference between actually being hungry and just wanting to eat, and there is a big difference- one I often used to overlook, but not so much anymore
Read my diary of the highs and lows of 4 day juice cleanse here.
So there it is, my best of the best of Brighton’s food in 2015. How many of them have you visited? Anywhere you think is the best that I’ve missed of and simply must visit? Comment below or hit me up on manner of social networks x
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