Living in Brighton (well Hove actually), it’s my job to remind the team that there are culinary delights beyond London to explore. As the battleground for the mods and rockers at war, the city where Anita Roddick’s Body Shop first opened its doors, the godless gay capital of the country and now the proud owner of the UK’s first Green Party MP, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the colourful hippies of Brighton don’t take their food and drink seriously. Well they do. Which means that just a 50-minute-train-ride-away from London, there is a whole foodie culture to discover. So whether you’re planning a day trip to the seaside, setting off for a romantic weekend, or hitting the strip for a hen or stag do, here are some of my personal favourites to seek out….
No trip to Brighton will be complete without a good old plate of fish and chips and not much will beat Regency for taste, location or cost. A fixture of the coastal road from the 1930’s, it recently made it into Rick Stein’s Seafood Lover’s Guide, simply because its rustic fish and chips at its best, with a seaside view and a bit of Brighton nostalgia thrown in.
If you’re looking for fine dining, look no further than Drakes. Not only has it been the awarded the Highest Scoring Restaurant in Brighton by the Good Food Guide for two years running, but after featuring in Conde Nast Traveller’s Hot List and scoring a Gold Award from Top Table, this subtle and sophisticated restaurant has really put itself on the map. Make sure you book and go early to ensure there is time to enjoy an aperitif at the top notch cocktail bar. Plus, if you really want to splash out you can stay in the boutique hotel, as celebs like Kylie will have done before you.
Chic, cool and in a prime central location, this restaurant and bar is ideal for a special evening occasion. The bar and lounge is perfect for a great cocktail or glass of champers to start a night out and the restaurant is ideal for when you’re looking for an elegant three-courser.
This little restaurant is an absolute gem and my favourite for lunch. It serves great authentic Thai food and the set lunchtime menus are a real bargain. Great tapas and tasty curries – simple and brilliant.
A proper English pub with real ales on tap and an roaring open fire, The Connaught does one of the best Sunday roasts you’ll find in Brighton or Hove. Ingredients are organic and everything is sourced as locally as possible.
Always partial to a cupcake or two, this unique and funky coloured café is my perfect stop for a sweet afternoon treat as you take a stroll through the higgledy-piggeldy lanes of central Brighton. Everything is fresh, beautifully decorated and made from natural ingredients. Cakes can be made to order for special occasions and you can book a course in ice cream or cake making if you want to learn from the best.
If you like proper ice cream (I’m talking real Italian gelato here), then this place is a must! It’s a bit of a stroll down the prom from Brighton towards Hove, but it’s totally worth it for the creaminess. Indulge in homemade flavours such as Oreo Cookies, Rum and Raisin, Strawberry Cheescake and Chocolate Orange, but expect queues around the block whatever the weather, as this place is quite rightly popular.