I’m late, again, I know, I know. I had all of the very best intentions about knuckling down with my blog over the Christmas break, but it just didn’t happen, for various reasons, better late than never though.
I’ve read a few of these round up posts now and it made me even more certain that I was going to keep to the same format as I did last year, my best meal of every month of the year. So whilst some of the choices might not necessarily be ‘the best’ restaurants in Brighton, they are the restaurants which fed me the best that month. If you follow me on social media (if you don’t then please do) you’ll know that there will have been numerous meals out that they’ll have beaten to claim the top spot.
Five have returned from last year’s post (you can read that here) and I don’t think most of them will come as a surprise, they’ve – appeared in everyone else’s lists too – they’re just really, really, good – simple as that.
All but one of these meals were paid for by me and/or the person I was dining with, but any comps, as always, are clearly marked with an asterisk.
January: 64 Degrees
Brighton, BN1 1HB
What a year 64Degrees has had. They now have a clutch of national and local awards for both the restaurant and Michael Bremner himself, and rightly so. Their menu of small plates changes with the seasons and I’ve yet to have a dud one. Standout dishes from my last meal there were chargrilled hispi cabbage with racelette cheese, dashi poached mussels and pasta with a confit yolk and truffle, although to be honest, I loved everything we ate in pretty much equal measures.
AOB: Still, for me, the best restaurant in Brighton. Unwaveringly brilliant since the week that they opened and just as exciting.
February: The Breakfast Club*
Market Street, Brighton, BN11HH
If you thought that The Breakfast Club is just a daytime destination then think again. Their lunch and dinner menu is full of filthy and instagrammable dishes such as fried chicken and waffles with chilli butter, gravy and syrup (trust me on this one), club sandwiches and nachos, as well as all of their classic breakfasts. It’s not fine dining, but then it’s not trying to be – I’m not sure you’ll find a better pancake stack in Brighton, the boozy bingo is a wicked night out and we won’t talk about the time I entered their quiz and came last, I’m totally over it, totally….
AOB: Full disclaimer, I am good friends with some of the Breakfast Club senior management team, but this has zero impact on anything I ever write about them.
Previous review: http://www.rosieposiespuddingsandpies.co.uk/2016/03/review-breakfast-club-brighton.html
March: Solera Tapas
Sydney Street, Brighton, BN1 4EP
My go-to place for Spanish food in Brighton, and somewhere I ate three or four times last year – Solera offers excellent tapas in good sized portions at a reasonable price. I’ve tried nearly everything on the menu and very little of it has disappointed (you can give the melanzane, meatballs and hot chocolate a miss) with consistent highlights being the pig cheeks, Andalusian fried seafood, jamon croquetas and fried custard from the dessert menu. It’s perfect for a groups, dates, family meals or just a quick lunch and although I’ve not tried Ole Ole (yet), I’ve been to Agua Dulce and Casa don Carlos, and for me, Solera is definitely the best tapas I’ve had in Brighton.
AOB: It gets soooo busy, but there’s a nice gin bar called ‘The Office’ over the road where you can have a drink while you wait for your table. I’ve had some strange nights in that bar… oh and avoid the loos, definitely some of the worst in Brighton, and I have put a shift in to be able to back that statement up.
Baker Street, Brighton, BN1 4JN
I feel like not enough people know about Semolina, when they really really should. This small bistro is run by a husband and wife team and has an ever-changing menu where local and seasonal produce are the stars of the show. I’ve visited twice now (and need to go back for dinner) but their lunch set menu was absolutely faultless. Citrus cured salmon, some of the nicest risotto I’ve ever eaten and pineapple drizzle cake with coconut sorbet were my choices, simple dishes but had all been given some serious care and attention and totally belied their price tag. At £12 for two courses or £15 for three, I’m not sure you’ll find a better quality set lunch menu, for this price, in Brighton.
AOB: It’s down a side street off London Road just a few doors up from Bangers Pie Shop and round the corner from Sunbird’s Deli – both are cheap as chips and absolute gems.
May: The Joker
Preston Circus, Brighton, BN1 1QF
Yet another great reason to go to London road to eat. I am an absolute sucker for filthy food with a particular weakness for curly fries and fried cheese, so what’s coming out of the Orange Buffalo kitchen at The Joker is right up my street. The venue is great, ditto the staff , I like their style on social media and the food is delicious and great value – I need to go back for their buffalo burgers and salt beef ASAP too.
AOB: As well as the excellent lunch deal they do ‘Wing Wednesdays’- three portions of wings for the price of two, happy hour cocktail deals and you can order via Deliveroo too.
June: Franco Manca
1&2 Regent Street, Brighton, BN1 1UL
Since they opened in May, I’ve barely eaten pizza anywhere else. Don’t get me wrong, I love Fatto a Mano, Pizza 500 and Nuposto still, but Franco Manca are right by my office and they’re just soooo good. It’s a short menu of simple pleasures in which the six pizzas are the main event, and a couple more on the special’s board, as well as a few salads and cured meat platters for good measure. Lovely stuff, extremely affordable and they’ve got their consistency on lockdown too.
AOB: If the burrata is on the specials board when you visit then do yourself a solid and order it – you can thank me later, although buffalo mozzarella will never quite cut it for you again.
90 Goldstone Villas, Hove, BN3 3RU
This was a good day. 30 degree heat, on the beach, with a large cod, chips and mushy pea fritter from Wolfies of Hove. It’s almost insulting to say they’re the best the city has to offer, given how very little it actually does offer in the way of decent fish & chips… but even if we were swimming in high quality chippies, Im pretty sure they’d still be top of the tree. I want them to take over the Fish+Liquor site – they would absolutely kill it, and I selfishly want a fail-safe within walking distance of my flat!
AOB: Check out their new venture Wolfie’s Kitchen (two doors down from HQ) for brunch – I can recommend ‘the big one’ and the salt beef.
August: The Set
33 Regency Square, Brighton, BN1 2GG
As regular readers know, I am big on breakfast food, and am forever on the hunt for excellent brunching options in Brighton. If you’re after something a bit different to a big, fat, straight-up fry up, then The Set have just the thing. With flavours and adapted dishes from their Cafe menu, I’ve seen a few different versions of the one I ate from, but if the chicken sandwich is on when you visit – definitely get one. Breakfast dessert? YES PLEASE – the fried banana bread and smoked fudge sauce was utter filth, and has played on my mind ever since. Don’t just take my word for it either, they got a rave review in The Independent, too (here).
AOB: This menu is only available on Sundays and they now offer a ‘bottomless’ brunch with two dishes from the menu and unlimited Bloody Marys or Mimosas, for £30. Take lots of people with you so you can order it all, then tag me in pics on social media, please.
Western Road, Brighton, BN3 1DB
I’d been bedridden with a migraine that day and had it not been a good friend’s birthday I would’ve sacked it off altogether, but I remember thinking to myself, this food is actually tasty enough to take my mind off how shit I feel. I’ve eaten there three times now and made a pretty sizeable chunk in the menu so my top tips are: ‘cheese on fire’, souvlaki, the king prawns main course and grilled wine sausage. I think this would be a fab place to go on a date, great vibe, friendly service and food that’s easy to share. Next on my list for mezze is Estia (behind Waitrose) has anyone been?
AOB: Starters are around the £5 mark and mains around £12-£15 – I’d say to order a main between two and lots of starters and sides.
October: Bincho Yakitori
Preston Street, Brighton, BN1 2HE
One of about half a dozen meals I ate there in 2016 and all unfaulteringly excellent. Ever since they opened, 18 months ago, they’ve been rammo and rightly so. Highlights include: the chicken meatballs, skin and hearts, if you’re vegetarian then the corn, cauliflower, broccoli and charred potatoes are all amazing, always look at the specials board and definitely order the sashimi salad. I can’t sing their praises enough and my relentless social media posting of their food is actually starting to get a bit embarrassing, but whatevs.
AOB: People will always tell you to order the Korean fried chicken, but for me, the Kara Age (pictured bottom left) is the one. Everyone needs to go, just go!
November: The Chilli Pickle
17 Jubilee Street, Brighton, BN1 1GE
During the latter part of 2016 I basically became the unofficial brand ambassador for The Chilli Pickle, going on and on about everything from their brunches, to banquets, to thalis. However out of the six meals I had there in three months (oink) the absolute standout was their #Octoberbest offering – Vindaloo pork knuckle. It was only meant to be available for a month, but due to its overwhelming popularity they extended it into November, before making it a permanent feature on their Sunday brunch menu. Served with spiced potatoes, a naan and cooling cucumber salad, it comfortably serves two with a healthy appetite
AOB: Don’t be put off by the fact it’s vindaloo, it’s not unbearable heat, I’d liken it to more of a madras temp, but I am pretty hardy when it comes to spice.
December: Cin Cin Italian Bar and Kitchen
13-16 Vine Street, Brighton, BN1 4AG
I think it would be fair to say that Cin Cin was the most popular Brighton restaurant opening of 2016. With an established fanbase off the back of their award-winning food truck and supper clubs, these guys know what they’re doing, trust me when I say that. I think the only problem they’re going to have is that their popularity is going to mean they outgrow their cosy premises a lot sooner than they’d antcipated. I’m not sure any of what I ate will be on the menu now as it changes monthly, but I am looking forward to going back soon and putting up a full review ASAP.
AOB: My spies tell me that getting a seat there on weekend evenings without booking is highly unlikely, so make sure you call in advance. They also do a £10 Tuesdays deal – a bowl of pasta and glass of wine/beer for a tenner. If the beef shin ragu is on, order that, it’s perfection.
Best breakfast: Billie’s Cafe
22 Hampton Place, Brighton, BN1 3DD
My best breakfast of 2015 went to Joe’s Brighton. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a few times this year and still have a lorra lorra love for them, but it’s Billie’s who have been regularly sastisfying my fry up requirements. I’ve been going there since the 80’s and their jumbo breakfast has remained consistently brilliant. Although known more for their ubiquitous ‘farmhouse hash’, for me, the breakfast with extra hash and black pudding remains king.
AOB: It’s a nightmare getting a table in there, it really is, you’ve just gotta wait it our I’m afraid, but it’ll be worth it, I promise. Order a side of hollandaise to dip your hash in.
Best roast: Busby & Wilds
9 Rock Street, Brighton, BN2 1NF
One of my happiest food related memories of 2016 was receiving a tweet from Busby & Wilds letting me know that they now serve cauliflower cheese with their otherwise faultless roasts. I must have eaten a dozen of these now (in varying degrees of hungoverness) and recommended them about 100 times (not even exaggerating) and never get anything less than a glowing report back. It annoys me how overlooked they get, partly down to their location but also their refusal to court the Brighton food ‘scene’ – but trust me, once tasted, never forgotten. I hope to see them romp to victory in the public-vote for best roast, at the Brighton’s best 20 awards, next month.
AOB: Make sure you book! They do an excellent value lunch menu during the week and are launching a monthly supper club in February, which I am extremely excited to be their guest at – watch this space for the review!
Where have you been eating out in Brighton and Hove recently? How many of the above places have you been to? Talk to me in the comments section or hit me up on all manner of social media (links below).