Brighton Wine Week

Like wine? Like Brighton? Like events? Then Brighton Wine week is the best thing to happen to you ever. Fact.

What is Brighton Wine Week

Brighton Wine Week is the first of three consumer festival periods to be hosted in 2018 by the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival. It features 11 days of tastings, wine dinners and trails around the city, culminating in a Wine and Gin Festival on Sunday 15 April.

The Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival is a not for profit Community Interest Company run by local business people passionate about hospitality and food and drink in our city and surrounding Sussex. The objectives of the organisation are to promote the area as a gastronomic tourism destination, connect the local supply chain from producer to consumer, and raise awareness of careers in the food and hospitality industries to young people.

Further consumer events for 2018 include Brighton Cocktail Week (6-15 July) and Autumn Harvest (6-16 September). For more information visit

The list of events is extensive and extremely exciting. There are special dinners, tapas and wine trails and masterclasses that will open your eyes to a whole world of wine. In addition to the one off events, a number of restaurants across Brighton and Hove will be offering special menu featuring their favourite wines, including one English wine, throughout the week. These special menu’s will cost between £5 and £7 and will be available from top venues such as Blanch House, The Chilli Pickle, Drakes, Fourth & Church, Harbour Hotel, Isaac-At, Jeremy’s Restaurant, Market Restaurant Bar, Metrodeco, The Bull in Ditchling, and The Salt Room.

Events not to be missed

Below is a list of all events taking place which can also be viewed at

Thursday 5 – Sunday 15 April 2018

The Ginger Pig & The Ginger Dog pair with Ridgeview

The Ginger Pig, 3 Hove Street, Hove BN3 2TR • 01273 736 123 • The Ginger Dog, 12 College Place, Brighton BN2 1HN • 01273 620 990

Enjoy a glass of Ridgeview Bloomsbury perfectly paired with two Irish rock oysters at the Ginger Pig in Hove, or paired with cured salmon, seaweed cracker and preserved lemon at the Ginger Dog in Kemp Town.

Brighton Wine Week special price of £10 (offer limited to one per person)

Villa Sandi prosecco tasting at Blanch House

Thursday 5 April 2018 • 7pm

The Story of Villa Sandi: A Prestige Prosecco Masterclass

Blanch House, 17 Atlingworth Street, Brighton BN2 1PL •

Blanch House are proud to present a unique premium Prosecco tasting, with carefully matched canapes. Flavio Geretto from prestigious family winery Villa Sandi in the heart of Prosecco country invites you to learn what makes a prestige Prosecco. Listen to the story of Villa Sandi, learn how to differentiate the different expressions and what food to enjoy them with.  Prestige Prosecco – The Story of Villa Sandi.

Advance tickets £30 from 01273 603 504 for five tastings and matched canapés


Thursday 5 April 2018 • 7pm

Ridgeview Wine Dinner at Murmur

Murmur, 91-96 KIng’s Road Arches, Brighton BN1 2FN • 01273 711 900 •

The team at Michael Bremner’s Brighton seafront restaurant, Murmur, join forces with their friends at English sparkling wine producer Ridgeview to create a bespoke tasting menu for Brighton Wine Week. Over a four-course menu, Ridgeview’s Tom Surgey will be presenting four sparkling wines from the Ridgeview range expertly paired with Murmur’s modern British take on contemporary dishes.

Advance tickets £65 from 01273 711 900 or for four courses with matched sparkling wines


Friday 6 April 2018 • 7pm

Manjus wine dinner

Manjus, 6 Trafalgar Street, Brighton BN1 4EQ • 01273 231 870 •

Manjus is a vegetarian spice sensation paying homage to the region of Gujarat. Delivering a fresh taste of India through an ever-evolving menu. Enjoy a special four course menu with four award-winning wines, paired by their sommelier.

Advance tickets £37 for four courses with matched wines • To book call 01273 231 870

Wine and Tapas Trail

Saturday 7 April 2018 • 2-6pm (also Sunday 8 April)

Brighton Wine & Tapas Trail

Participating venues across the city

The perfect way to spend a leisurely weekend exploring some of the best food and drink businesses in the city. Each venue will be offering a glass of wine and tasty tapas for just £5 each. Participating venues include Befries, Butler’s Wine Cellar (Kemp Town village outlet, Saturday only), Curry Leaf Café (Kemp Town Kitchen outlet), Drakes, Fourth & Church, Harbour Hotel, La Cave à Fromage, La Choza(Western Road outlet), Market Restaurant & Bar, Metrodeco, Pascere and The Salt Room. Visit for more participating venues.

Advance tickets £10 from which also includes complimentary entrance to the Brighton Wine & Gin Fair on Sunday 15 April


Saturday 7 April 2018 • 7pm

Argentinian wine dinner

Harbour Hotel, 64 Kings Road, Brighton BN1 1NA • 01273 323 221 •

Harbour hotel heads to South America’s premier wine producing country for a night to remember. Chef will be showcasing an Argentinian themed menu with each of the four courses paired with wines showcasing the range of styles currently coming out of Argentina. Our wine expert will be on hand to present and answer any questions, plus there’ll be tango dancers on hand to get you into Argentine groove.

Advance tickets £50 for arrival drinks followed by four courses with matched wines • Email or call the events team on 01273 323 221


Sunday 8 April 2018 • 2-6pm (also Saturday 7 April)

Wine & Tapas Trail

See Saturday 7 April for details.


FoodLab - George Boarer with Steven Edwards at Etch - credit Julia Claxton
credit Julia Claxton

Sunday 8 April 2018 • Noon-3pm (approx)

FoodLab: Emerging Talent

Etch, 216 Church Road, Brighton BN3 2DJ • 01273 227 485 •

Our first FoodLab of the year sees young talent from Brighton’s hottest kitchens take centre stage for a never-to-be-repeated gourmet extravaganza hosted at Etch. Our young chefs – all 26 or younger – will each be randomly matched in advance with a local food or drink producer to create an inspiring and experimental dish. Chefs include: George Boarer (Etch; Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Awards 2017 Young Chef of the Year), Eliott Buchet (Jeremy’s Restaurant) Jackson Heron (Murmur), Isobel Humbey (The Salt Room), Michael Norman-Watts (64 Degrees), George Thomas (Isaac-At) and Sam Watson (The Ginger Fox). Producers include: Bedlam Brewery, Blackdown Artisan Spirits, La Cave à Fromage, Red Roaster Coffee, Ridgeview Wine Estate, Trenchmore Farm and Wobblegate juices.

Advance tickets £70 from 01273 227 485 for seven courses plus a welcome drink created by chef Steven Edwards and Seb Cole from Boho Gelato. Wines by the glass available to buy on the day.


Monday 9 April 2018 • Regular opening hours

California tasting

Butler’s Wine Cellar (88 St George’s Road, Brighton BN2 1EE • 01273 621 638) and Fourth & Church (84 Church Rd, Hove BN3 2EB • 01273 724 709)

Drop in for a free tasting of selected California wines throughout the day (subject to availability).

International chef exchanege at La Choza with chef Bas Oonk

Monday 9 April 2018 • 7pm

International Chef Exchange: Mexico, Surinam & Indonesia

La Choza, 105 Western Road, Brighton BN1 2AA • 01273 325 444 •

Guest chef Bas Oonk from Michelin Bib Gourmand awarded Restaurant Basaal in the Netherlands joins forces with La Choza’s head chef Benji Hinchliffe for a chilli-infused meal featuring dishes inspired by Mexico, and the former Dutch colonies of Indonesia and Surinam. A unique fusion meal not to be missed.

Advance tickets £25 from 01273 325 444 for four courses • ‘Marques Del Valle’ Mexican wines will be available to buy by the glass on the night


Tuesday 10 April 2018 • Regular opening hours

Italian tasting

Butler’s Wine Cellar (88 St George’s Road, Brighton BN2 1EE • 01273 621 638) and Fourth & Church (84 Church Rd, Hove BN3 2EB • 01273 724 709)

Drop in for a free tasting of selected Italian wines throughout the day (subject to availability).

Emilia Romagna dinner at Pascere.jpg

Tuesday 10 April 2018 • 7pm

The sparkling wines of Emilia Romagna dinner

Pascere, 8 Duke Street, Brighton BN1 1AH • 01273 917 949 •

Pascere restaurant, well known for its emphasis on great wine, hosts an exclusive wine dinner focusing on the lesser-known sparkling wines of Emilia Romagna in Italy. With two AA rosettes and glowing reviews in the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Independent, you’ll be sure to enjoy an interesting and flavoursome four-course menu by chef Johnny Stanford designed to match these specially selected wines.

Advance tickets £55 from 01273 917 949 for four courses with matched sparkling wines


Tuesday 10 April 2018 • 7pm

Sussex Tasting Tour dinner

Isaac At, 2 Gloucester Street, Brighton BN1 4EW • • 07765 934 740

Take a tour through Sussex using your taste buds, joining Isaac and the team for an evening of locally sourced food paired with some of the finest Sussex wines. Enjoy Isaac’s four course set menu, showcasing the best local produce found here on our doorstep, with four local wines from Bluebell, Ridgeview, Stopham and Wiston vineyards.

Advance tickets £55 from for four courses and matched Sussex wines

Austrian Wine tasting at Butlers

Wednesday 11 April 2018 • 7.30-9pm

Austrian wines: the basics

Butler’s Wine Cellar, 247 Queens Park Road, Brighton BN2 9XJ • 01273 698 724 •

As part of Brighton Wine week, Butler’s host an Austrian tasting in their Queens Park Road shop, where you’ll sample six wines: three whites, a rosé and two reds, made in different regions and using indigenous grapes from this amazing wine making country. Henry and Cassie of Butler’s say they drink more Austrian wines than any other at home and are very excited to be sharing their passion for them with you.

Advance tickets £15 from or 01273 698 724


Wednesday 11 April 2018 • 7pm

A Taste of the Mediterranean wine dinner

The Salt Room, 106 Kings Road, Brighton BN1 2FU • 01273 929 488 •

It’s safe to say that we all have very fond memories of the Mediterranean. The combination of the sun, sea, food and wine is hard to resist. The Salt Room with its uninterrupted views of Brighton seafront from the mezzanine will be holding a wine dinner inspired by this fantastic part of the world. Executive chef Dave Mothersill’s four course menu for the evening will echo the tastes of the Mediterranean with inspirational seafood, fish and meat dishes with expertly paired wines. The evening will be hosted by Steve Daniel and Joe Wadhams from Hallgarten. Steve Daniel has one of the most respected palates in the industry and has been a real pioneer of Mediterranean wine over the last 30 years. Joe has worked closely with The Salt Room and sister restaurant The Coal Shed helping curate their wine lists. They will be showcasing a diverse range of indigenous varietals from the likes of the Balearics, Greece and Croatia. This is a rare opportunity to let the team at The Salt Room;  Seafish UK Restaurant of the Year 2017, and Hallgarten indulge and inspire you .

Advance tickets £75 from 01273 929 488 includes aperitif with canapés followed by four courses paired with wines


Wednesday 11 April 2018 • 7pm

Sherry Night

Market Restaurant & Bar, 42 Western Road, Hove BN3 1JD • 01273 823 707 •

Market specialises in Anglo-Spanish cuisine, sourcing only the best ingredients from Sussex and Spain for their innovative take on tapas and small plates. This unique five course menu will celebrate Jerez’s wonderful wine Sherry, a particular favorite both to sip and also accompany the food at Market. Head chef Ian Atkinson (previously of one and two Michelin star and two hat restaurants in the the UK and Australia) will be creating a Sherry-inspired five course menu alongside a matching Sherry flight that’ll be presented to you by their special guest and Sherry expert, who will also be on hand to answer all your Sherry questions.

Advance tickets £50 from 01273 823 707 for five courses with matched wine


Thursday 12 April 2018 • 7pm

An Evening in Bordeaux wine dinner

Drakes, 43-44 Marine Parade, Brighton BN2 1PE • 01273 696 934 •

Synonymous with excellence, Bordeaux wines have been amongst the finest in the world for centuries. Now a new generation of artisan winemakers head a quiet revolution developing new styles through modern advances.

This special evening hosted at Drakes, combines classic Bordeaux dishes using the best of local Sussex produce and paired with a collection of excellent wines by boutique Bordeaux growers.

Wines will be presented by Frazer of Department 33 who import and are passionate about French artisan wines, especially Bordeaux.

Advance tickets £69 from 01273 696 934 for four course tasting menu with wine pairing (please note no menu alternatives available)

Fourth and Church exterior

Thursday 12 April 2018 • Tasting only 6-7pm, winemaker dinner 7pm

Gusbourne Estate at Fourth & Church with Butler’s Wine Cellar

Fourth & Church, 84 Church Road, Hove BN3 2EB •  01273 724 709 •

Gusbourne Estate is one of the UK’s leading wine producers and have vineyards in Kent and West Sussex, producing both sparkling and still wines.

Tasting: Join us to chat with the Gusbourne and F&C team, and to taste a sample of their sparkling and still wines with a Fourth & Church nibble.

Winemaker dinner with Henry Butler: Gusbourne Estate and Henry Butler host an exclusive Gusbourne wine dinner in our private tasting room for eight lucky guests, This will include a four course menu with some suprises matched with Gusbourne’s exemplary wines, not to be missed by any enthusiasts of English wine.

Advance tickets £10 (tasting only) or £60 (4 course dinner with matched wines) from or 01273 724 709


Friday 13 April 2018 • Regular opening hours

Spanish tasting

Butler’s Wine Cellar (88 St George’s Road, Brighton BN2 1EE • 01273 621 638) and Fourth & Church (84 Church Rd, Hove BN3 2EB • 01273 724 709)

Drop in for a free tasting of selected Spanish wines throughout the day (subject to availability).


Friday 13 April 2018 • 7.15-9.30pm

Make Your Case

La Cave à Fromage, 34-35 Western Road, Hove BN3 1AF • 01273 725 500 •

Our mixed up, messed up, mashed up ‘Make Your Case’ punk wine tasting returns. Host Andrew Kay will be joined by presenters from Butler’s Wine Cellar, La Cave à Fromage, Market Restaurant & Bar, North-South Wines, Ridgeview Wine Estate and The Salt Room for the wildest wine tasting you’ve ever seen.

During the break, the team from La Cave à Fromage will be serving up sharing platters of cheese and charcuterie with marinated and chargrilled vegetable antipasi, baguettes and fig and almond bread.

Advance tickets £35 from 01273 725 500 includes wines and sharing platters


Saturday 14 April 2018 • Regular opening hours

South African tasting

Butler’s Wine Cellar (88 St George’s Road, Brighton BN2 1EE • 01273 621 638) and Fourth & Church (84 Church Rd, Hove BN3 2EB • 01273 724 709)

Drop in for a free tasting of selected South wines throughout the day (subject to availability).


Saturday 14 April 2018 • 7.15pm

La Cave à Fromage X Ridgeview

La Cave à Fromage, 34-35 Western Road, Hove BN3 1AF • 01273 725 500 •

Join La Cave à Fromage’s David Deaves and Tom Surgey from Ridgeview, to explore matching Ridgeview sparkling wines alongside selected Sussex cheeses. Not your usual pairing, Tom and David have combined skills to prove this can work with a range of cheeses perfectly matched with Ridgeview varietal blends. The tasting will include three of Ridgeview’s award-winning range alongside six cheeses from local producers. Bread and charcuterie will also be served..

Advance tickets £39.50 from 01273 725 500

Wine festival

Sunday 15 April 2018 • 2-5pm

Brighton Wine & Gin Festival

My Brighton, 17 Jubilee Street, Brighton BN1 1GE •

Join us in the stylish Merkaba and function rooms of My Brighton hotel for a tasting of wines from local vineyards, Sussex gins with Double Dutch mixers, and wines from other leading world regions. The perfect way to toast the close of Brighton Wine Week 2018!

Advance tickets £10 from which also includes the Wine & Tapas Trail on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 April.


Sunday 15 April 2018 • 2-5pm

Redroaster Ridgeview Afternoon Tea

Redroaster, 1D St James’s Street, Brighton BN2 1RE • 01273 686 668 •

Set within the beautiful botanical backdrop of Redroaster café in Kemp Town, chef Matt Gillan will be preparing an afternoon tea with a twist. In Matt’s modern style, expect afternoon tea re-imagined served alongside a glass of Ridgeview who are leading the way in crafting world-class English sparkling wine.

Advance tickets £30 from

BRAVO Awards 2018

Vote and you could be a winner

The BRAVO awards – which stands for Brighton Restaurant Awards Vote Online – is the only local food awards voted for 100 percent by the public, giving everyone in the city the chance to shout about their favourite foodie spots across 16 categories. So if you are one of those people who read blogs like this and disagree with everything the “experts” say, these are the awards for you.

The awards are back in 2018 after a massive 24,000 votes were submitted across the categories last time out. Clearly there are lots of you out there who want to support your favourite local restaurant or venue. It is not just the businesses that can win. When you vote you will be entered into a draw to win £200 to spend at a restaurant of your choice, pretty awesome. There will also be a number of runner-up prizes available, many of which I am certain will involve some free food or drink.

Brighton BRAVO awards
Befries winners of “Best Bites on a budget” in 2017

What is new in 2018

This year there will be 16 categories in total. In addition to all of last years favourites, such as Best Restaurant or Budget Bites, you can now vote for Best Welcome, Plant Champion and Best Instagram. Best Welcome highlights the important role that the front of house team plays in the restaurant experience. The other two categories are representative of how the food industry has adapted to changes in trends and eating habits in 2018. If you have a favourite vegetarian or vegan venue then you can support them this year, and that Instagram account that always gets you drooling how has its own category.

BRAVO Awards Brighton Food Blog
Flour Pot won “Best afternoon tea & cake” in 2017

How to vote in the BRAVO’s 2018

Voting could not be easier. Head over to the BRAVO awards website using this link and register for an account. You can then scroll through the categories and select a venue from the list. Alternatively, if you have a specific venue in mind for each category then type in their name and get voting. I put my votes in today and am very much looking forward to picking up the £200 top prize, so sorry folks that is mine.

Voting closes on the 11th March so you’ve still got a few weeks to get your votes in.

If you are after some inspiration on who to vote for below are my top picks for some of the different categories. Obviously you can completely disregard this, what do I know, which is the beauty of these awards. If the last few years have shown us anything, so called “experts” know nothing and should be ignored.

Brighton Food Blog BRAVO Awards
Degrees won “Best Restaurant” in 2017

Best Restaurant:

The Chilli Pickle, Etch., The Little Fish Market, Murmur, Pascere, The Salt Room, 64 Degrees, Cin Cin & The Set.

Best Pub:

The Watchmakers Arms, The Brighton Bier Dispensary, The Brighton Bierhaus, The Pond, The Evening Star & The Basketmakers Arms.

Best Welcome:

The Little Fish Market, BeFries, Fourth and Church, Murmur, Cin Cin & The Chilli Pickle.

Best Cocktails:

Hotel Du Vin, Silo, Plateau, The Plotting Parlour, MEATliquor, Drakes, HarBar & Merkaba

Budget Bites:

BeFries, Troll Burger, Bincho Yakitori, Fatto a Mano, Wolfies, Sugardough & The Regency

Just a little food for thought there, but don’t be influenced by my choices and pick your favourite Brighton spots and show them some love.

Good luck peeps.


FBR News: Kitgum Kitchen, Unbarred & More

Welcome to another quick Brighton and Hove good news update. I thought I would share some of the interesting bits and pieces that I come across in my travels around the city’s restaurants and bars.


Kitgum Kitchen on the move

Some of you may remember that I reviewed 1972 Kitgum Kitchen back when they first set up shop in the Sir Charles Napier in Hanover. I was hugely impressed with Fayaz’s cooking, which was inspired by the dishes of his youth, when I reviewed last year. The style is that of the Indian community in Uganda who were forcibly removed from the country by the tyrant Idi Amin. The food is a happy combination of East African and Indian cooking, with some fantastic curry dishes and nibbles.

Well Fayaz has been on the move since my review. After setting up at The Mesmerist he is on the move again to a much more suitable venue in my humble opinion. 1972 Kitgum Kitchen will be taking over at The Signalman pub up by London Road station. This superb local pub will be serving his food from this Monday the 29th January, with special offers available all week. I think this is a great move for Kitgum Kitchen, and for those who frequent The Signalman you are in for a real treat. Be sure to pop along and support Fayaz in his new home.

If The Signalman is a bit out of your comfort zone, Kitgum will continue to be available from the Street Food Diner every Friday lunchtime in Brighthelm Gardens on Queens Road. He will be taking his spot alongside the other fabulous street food vendors such as Mestiza Filipina, Olly’s Fish Shack, Baby Bao, Soul Street Kitchen, Dead Good Burrito and more. Be sure to check out the Street Diner as it is the perfect #Friyay lunchtime treat.


UnBarred Tap Takeover @ The Brooksteed Alehouse, Worthing

This is an event too good to be missed. The absolutely belting beers of UnBarred Brewery will be taking over the taps at Worthing’s premier micropub, The Brooksteed Alehouse, on Wednesday the 31st January. Expect to see some mighty fine brews that challenge the usual beer categories. In addition to being treated to some amazing craft beers, you will also get a chance to chat to Jordan about his brewing.

If you have not yet been to the Brooksteed what are you waiting for? This is a superb micropub that celebrates beer of all styles. With 5 real ales, 4 craft beers and over 40 different bottles and cans on offer you can always find something to get stuck into. Being a micropub you can always expect a warm welcome and some friendly locals to chat to, so if you are visiting on your own you needed worry.

More details on the event here:


34 Bar

The Set is one of the city’s shining stars, and they are bringing something new to the city’s drinks scene. The team behind The Set are taking over the reins of The Cocktail Shack, which many of you will know is in the same building, and creating a new venue called 34 Bar. This will be along the same lines as The Set when it comes to their offering. Drinks will be seasonal with clarity of flavour and no fuss. I am looking forward to seeing where the guys take this and what cocktails they have come up with. Keep an eye out for offers and new drinks on their Facebook and Twitter page.


Czech Wine Tasting @ Plateau

Plateau, the purveyors of all things natural and biodynamic, are hosting a Czech wine tasting on the 1st February. This is a wine region that I know nothing about, so I am sure it will be a superb and enlightening evening. Guests will have the opportunity to try white, red, sparkling and orange wines (skin contact) from this relatively unknown wine making region. Here is some info from their event:

“Moravia is the south-eastern part of the Czech Republic. As a wine region, it is still to be discovered in the UK although winemaking has been going on there since the Roman times. It neighbours northern Austria, shares its topography and shows superb potential to not only grow similar Austrian varieties but also Burgundian grapes that shine here alongside interesting local varieties.

Jiri from Basket Press Wines handpicked winemakers who form a new wave in Moravian winemaking tradition. These winemakers work in natural/low intervention way, producing wines with vibrant varietal expression, beautiful fruit and great structure.

When? 1st of February 6.30 pm

How much? 8 wines + nibbles for £15 !

Call us to book on 01273 733085 or book online via our website
Feel free to join us after for dinner!”


Review: Etch. by Steven Edwards, Hove

The man behind Etch.

Steven Edwards came to the nations attention when he won Masterchef: The Professionals in 2013, but he was already touted as a future star before then. The Horsham based chef was crowned Sussex Young Chef of the Year in 2010, whilst working under Matt Gillan at the then Michelin starred The Pass at South Lodge hotel. He later took on the head chef role at South Lodge’s second restaurant, The Camellia, before leaving to set up Etch. After 6 years of pop ups, and a somewhat ill-fated collaboration with the Brighton i360, a location was found for Etch. to become a permanent fixture.

Choosing Hove was a bold move, with most of the city’s restaurants located in central Brighton, but one that appears to have paid off. Hove has long been the more grown up area of the city. It has an established food scene of its own, with Etch. joining restaurants such as The Ginger Pig, The Little Fish Market, Fourth and Church and Market at the forefront of the areas movement. For those seeking a slightly more sedate and quality food based weekend away, Hove is certainly a strong option.

Brighton Food Blog
Snacks at Etch.

What’s it all about then?

Etch. is a modern take on British fine dining. Guests choose between a 5, 7 or 9 course tasting menu which changes each month depending on seasonality and availability of produce. Being a Sussex lad, Steven focusses strongly on produce from the region. Think modern small plates, executed with great skill and a touch of creative flair.

Etch. is a fine place to enjoy a meal. I’ve now dined there on four different occasions and have always felt comfortable and relaxed there. It has plenty of modern detail, from the mildly industrial detailing and bold art on the walls, but this is not over bearing. My only gripe on the evening of this review was the choice of music. My tastes may be a little less mainstream than most, but I felt the pop music choices didn’t quite fit the high end feel of the food and environment.

Brighton Food Blog
Marmite bread and seaweed butter

How was it?

We arrived late on a Thursday evening, and despite it being the first week opening since Christmas, the restaurant was busy and more people arrived throughout. We had a quick peruse of the menu choices and both decided that we would go for the seven course. I opted for the optional wine flight to go with my meal, I like to try different wines with each course.

We kick off the meal with snacks and bread, as is the fashion. The highlight of this section were undoubtedly the deeply indulgent mushroom donuts. Packed with seriously umami greatness, the cheese and chive nibble and even the famous marmite brioche bread. The seaweed butter that accompanied the bread was creamy but I could’ve taken a touch more salt in mine.

Brighton Food Blog
Parsley and Creme Fraiche

Onto the menu now. At Etch. you have to wait to see how each dish is constructed, as they only provide two elements of the dish on the menu. Our first dish of parsley and crème fraiche turned out to be a voluptuous soup. Initially a fairly comfortable start, this came to life when we hit some of the hidden orange segment within. This really lifted the flavours and made things a little more exciting.

Skate with Jerusalem artichokes was a wintery take on a fish dish. Served with scraps and a caper and lemon sauce it was a solid dish. A touch more tartness from the capers and lemon would have really got me excited. Not taking anything away from it, it was still a well-constructed and considered piece of cooking.

Skate and Artichoke

Chicken and kale was to follow this. Another dish for a dark and cold evening, in as much as fine dining can muster, we sailed through this one with quiet contentment. The deboned chicken wing was lovely and moist. Slices of pickles hidden amongst the crispy kale gave contrast to the earthy flavours of the dish.

Next up was the most challenging of the courses. Mushroom with chocolate was all that the menu offered, a worry combo. Thankfully this was arguably the highlight of the meal. The simple dish of toasted brioche, topped with cooked and raw mushrooms and a shaving of truffle went superbly with the streak of chocolate on the plate. Bitter chocolate and truffle richness are meant to be, and this dish showed why.

Pork and Cabbage

Our second meat course of pork and cabbage may have sounded a little Soviet era Russia, but there was much more to look forward to than in those tough times. An intense croquette using meat from the pig’s head gave great depth to the dish. Creamy cabbage and the sweeter pork meat and crispy crackling added texture, contrast and a great deal to be happy about; unlike Soviet era Russia.

Pre-dessert of white chocolate and pistachio gets me excited about the dessert to come. It is light and refreshing with some lovely flourishes of flavour. This coming from someone who dislike nuts and would never choose any dish with a pistachio element. That is the pleasure of a tasting menu, it can challenge your ideas of what you like and dislike.

Lemon and Yoghurt

A final flourish from Steven and the team came in the form of a divine lemon tart with yoghurt in a variety of forms. As desserts go you cannot argue with the contrast of tart lemon and cooling yoghurt. What really took this to another level was the addition of pine nuts. These earthy and woody jewels took what was essentially a summery dessert and brought it right into the winter season. A great touch and one that I had not come across before.

Why you should go

Etch. came to Brighton under a cloud of much expectation. Steven is a high-profile chef, and he was opening at the same time as some other hotly anticipated restaurants. Steven has stuck to his guns in terms of delivering a fine-dining tasting menu experience; and it works. Not every dish got me excited, but there was plenty to admire. It is rare for every dish to of a tasting menu to blow you away, but what it should do is to take you on a journey and show you what a chef is about. Etch. does this well. I would happily return at another time of year to see Steven’s interpretation of ingredients from different seasons. It is costly in terms of a night out, our menu would have been £60 a head plus drinks, but it is a restaurant for a special occasion for most. I look forward to seeing where Etch. comes in this years Brighton’s Best Restaurants awards and feel that it should happily enter the top ten and worry those toward the business end of the list.

etch. by Steven Edwards

216 Church Road | Hove | BN3 2DJ


t: 01273 227485

I was invited to review Etch, by the restaurant and as such the meal was complimentary. This had no bearing on the outcome of this review which was, as always, honest and impartial.


News: Cin Cin & Join the Voting Panel for Brighton’s Best

Hello all,

I am back in 2018 with a little news update for you. The fine purveyors of all things Italian and delicious, Cin Cin, have opened a new restaurant. David and the team successfully made the transition from pop up and food van in 2016, opening their first restaurant on Vine street in central Brighton. The first Cin Cin was an instant success, seeing them place immediately in that years Brighton Top 20 (more on them later). Having settled into those new digs, they have branched out and now the good people of Hove can enjoy superb Italian cuisine in their own manor.

Brighton Food Blog
Cin Cin Western Road Hove now open

The new restaurant is situated on Western Road just before Palmeira Square. The larger space allows them to do a little more than they previously could. I spoke to head chef Jamie Halsall at the opening party and he explained that this second site would be an evolution on the first. The larger space and downstairs prep kitchen has given them the opportunity to focus on dishes that require a little more time. This means that, alongside their already wonderful pasta dishes, you will see more meat and fish on the menu. This was evidenced at the opening with a simply divine porchetta dish and some luscious lamb cutlets. The prep kitchen will also mean that they can add more to the original site in Brighton.

Brighton Food Blog
Lamb at Cin Cin

There is also more refrigeration space and so desserts such as their “beer-misu” are now possible. Yes you read that correctly, beer-misu. They have used a coffee stout from Modern Times Brewery to create a rich and decadent dessert that you need to try; just don’t tell the Italians.

Brighton Food Blog
Smoked Eel Carbonara

Having sampled a number of dishes at the opening, I can report that this is a must visit new venue. My personal highlight was the awesome carbonara with smoked eel and confit egg yolk; simply stunning stuff. I plan to return in the near future so keep an eye out for a full review in the future.

Become a judge for Brighton’s Best Restaurants 2018

This is an opportunity too good to miss.

Brighton Food Blog
Photo: Roarke Pearce

Brighton’s Best Restaurants – Brighton’s leading restaurant awards – have joined up with Goodmoney CIC to put together a crack team of dedicated diners, picked from the general public, who will vote in this year’s hotly anticipated list of the city’s Top 20 restaurants.

 The awards, which take place on Monday 26th February 2018, are voted for by more than 200 local experts including food writers, critics, bloggers, chefs, restaurateurs and business leaders, whose votes are used to create the definitive Top 20 list of the city’s best restaurants. With so many new restaurants opening in the city throughout 2017, competition to secure a Top 20 spot will no doubt be fierce.

Goodmoney CIC – which operates a gift voucher initiative that supports local, independent businesses in Brighton and Hove – is sponsoring an elite foodie panel of carefully chosen members of the public, who will have their say on which restaurants are recognised, as well as voting for individual categories such as Top Chef, Top Welcome and Top Barkeep.

“Our Top 20 list is voted for by local experts – food writers, chefs, restaurateurs and business leaders – who have an intimate knowledge of the the city’s thriving food scene,” explains awards co-founder and food journalist Patrick McGuigan. “But there are also some seriously devoted restaurant-goers among the public in Brighton & Hove, who we would love to be involved. That’s why we’re putting together a panel of the city’s most dedicated diners. We’re looking for a crack team of amateur restaurant critics, who eat out in the city on a regular basis and have a good understanding of what makes a restaurant really special.”

How can you get involved?

Brighton’s Best Restaurants would simply like to know two things: which local restaurants people have eaten at in the past six months and the best dish they’ve ordered. Please send this info to the team by Monday 22nd January 2018 via Twitter (@BrightonTop20), Instagram (BrightonsBestRestaurantsBrightonsBestRestaurants) or Facebook ( using the hashtag #BrightonTop20, or email Brighton’s Best Restaurants will contact the best candidates to find out more about them!

The final panel of top local foodies will then be invited to vote in this year’s awards, and will also be invited to the ceremony at Komedia next month.

Brighton’s Best Restaurants is all about celebrating the citys dynamic food scene,” says McGuigan. “We hope that by getting the city’s master diners involved, it will help shine a light on what a fantastic array of restaurants we have in the city. Brighton now rivals anywhere in the country outside London in terms of the quality of its restaurants.”

If you love food, and a great party, you have got to do this!


Brighton Food Blog

The Coal Shed, London

For many years the natives of Brighton have been bemoaning the influx of Londoners, pushing up house prices and generally making everything a little more expensive. Others feel that this outside money has been a good thing for the city. There is much to be said for the positives that London money has had on local businesses.

When it comes to our food and drink businesses there is a similarly mixed opinion on the influence of London. Brighton has seen a growth in the number of high quality restaurants in recent years. This has been fantastic for us indulgent types. It has also drawn attention to the city. Alongside the growth of quality independents, we have seen an invasion of larger branded restaurants hitting the city. This is not so good. These tourist fodder eateries serve a purpose but they’re nothing to get excited about.

One of those local independents that has really gone from strength to strength are the duo of The Coal Shed and The Salt Room. In the past few years,  these restaurants have become nationally recognised for their superb food offering. Having conquered the Brighton food scene, they recently decided to take the fight to London and give the Big Smoke a taste of its own medicine.

Brighton Food Blog

The Coal Shed at One Tower Bridge opened in the latter half of 2017 and is in a modern development just a short walk from London Bridge station. Walking the scenic route, you are treated to fantastic views of the river, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. All nice sights if you are into that sort of thing.

The restaurant is a little hidden away, on a square in amongst some ludicrously over-priced apartments. It is all glass, angles and tasteless shit that people with more money than sense like. This is not The Coal Shed’s fault. I just don’t get why people want to spend so much money living in these tasteless holes.

Brighton Food Blog
Beef tartare snacks

The restaurant has been bedecked in dark wood, somewhere between a Japanese bar and the wood panelled cabin of a rich merchants ship. It has a nice feel to it. Stylish and yet not over bearing, it is a comfortable place to sit and eat. The large open kitchen dominates one side of the restaurant, but has been tastefully partitioned so that it is not the focal point of the room.

The menu is a bit of an amalgamation of the original Coal Shed and The Salt Room. As such there is a focus on meat and fish cooked over fire on the josper grill. Lots of sharing plates feature, with steaks at different weights and fish on the specials board for people to share. You can also choose from some standard steaks and plates for one should this be more your style.

Brighton food blog
Delicious beef chilli

I had been invited to London with a group of fellow Brighton bloggers. As such we were a large group of 10 people, so it would be interesting to see how they handled the food. Once seated we ordered our starters and tucked into some wine. So far so good.

As we wait some little tasters are presented to the group. Crisp beef tendons with miso mayo are pleasant enough, as are stuffed olives. Admittedly I am not an olive fan. A beef tartare on crisp artichoke skins is flavoursome, if strangely reminiscent of cheese and onion crisps, but the stand out is a bowl of beef chilli. The flavours in this are intense and the meat heavenly. I’d happily have scoffed a bowl of that with a cold beer any day of the week.

Brighton Food Blog
Veal Tartare starter

From the extensive choice of starters, I am immediately drawn to the veal tartare and the scallops. The veal narrowly edges it, I am in the mood for meat. It is a fine example of this classic dish. Each of the elements has been separated on the plate, requiring some work on my part to combine, with a glorious egg yolk the jewel on the crown. I could have done with a touch more of the meat, it was a little lost in the cacophony of other elements, but the meat I did have was tender and delicious. As tartare goes I was satisfied with my choice

For the mains I was slightly disappointed to be denied the slap up steak meal that I had craved on the way up. Instead we were presented with a variety of sharing plates, including a prime rib steak, alongside monkfish, the “surf board” shellfish platter, curried goat and more sides than a dodecahedron in a hall of mirrors. The table resembled a festive banquet, and once all the photos has been taken, the meal was executed as such.

Brighton Food Blog
Monkfish sharer a standout

My plate was awash with an array different fish and meat, making it a little difficult to fully appreciate any single element in its own right. The impressive hunk of monkfish was a standout element. Wonderfully meaty and smoky from the flames. From the shellfish platter I am drawn to the clams which are salty but also have a wonderful charred note. My slice of steak is an attractive burst of vibrant pink with dark caramelised crust. It is tender and juicy, but is gone before I can fully appreciate it.

Of the sides the chips are as they should be and the onions rings particularly memorable. I find the truffle mac n cheese a little too much with the other flavours flying around. I skip the others as I focus on polishing off the mussels that the other have neglected.

Brighton Food Blog
Prime Rib sharing steak

For dessert I opt for the custard tart, desiring something simple and comforting. Laura Petersen is the young pastry chef of The Salt Room in Brighton who is attracting many plaudits. The award-winning pastry chef has created the menu and I have high hopes for the final course. Laura does not disappoint. The vanilla custard is creamy and indulgent. A gently brûléed top provides caramel sweetness and the nutmeg ice-cream that necessary depth of flavour. The tart has a modern feel, both in its presentation and execution, but the flavours are classic.

Brighton Food Blog
Custard Tart a fitting finale

Dinner over we board our train back home and have time to reflect on the meal. I have not visited either The Coal Shed or Salt Room in a little while, and so it was great to get a feel for the food the group is putting out at present. I enjoy that this is unashamedly bold in its focus on the meat and fish. There are delicate touches, but the sight of some charred flesh is enough to get anyone excited. The quality of ingredients and skills in preparing the dishes ensures that this is not just about hunks of protein. Brighton readers can clearly receive the same experience by visiting one of the local restaurants. For those in London wishing to get a taste for what is going on in Brighton, The Coal Shed at One Tower Bridge is a fine example of how far Brighton’s food community has come.

For those wishing to get a further taste of Brighton’s food scene in the capital, The Coal Shed are hosting events featuring some of Brighton’s biggest names. This kicks off with one of the city’s biggest. Michael Bremner of 64 Degrees and Murmur has become a household name thanks to his winning main dish on Great British Menu. He will be cooking a “Brighton Rocks” dinner at The Coal Shed on Friday the 26th January. Michael is one of the brightest stars of British food at present and, having seen the menu, this promises to be a fantastic event. Follow this link for further details and to book your table.

One Tower Bridge
4 Crown Square, London SE1 2SE

T: 020 3384 7272

I was invited to review The Coal Shed and all food was complementary. This had no bearing on the outcome of this review which is, as always, an honest reflection of my experience.

Brighton Food Blog

Review: The Spice Circuit @Etch Hove

Chef Kanthi Thamma has been at the forefront of Brighton’s curry revolution in recent years. As head chef of Curry Leaf Café, he established a brand that has become of the best loved Brighton restaurants. Kanthi worked tirelessly to create the successful restaurant chain, winning many awards along the way, and giving back to the community of Brighton and beyond through his charitable work. After four years at Curry Leaf Café, Kanthi decided to leave the restaurant and start something new. The Spice Circuit is Kanthi’s new project. Not being one to slow down and rest on his laurels, Kanthi has plunged fully into his new project and his pop ups are very much popping up all over the place. One such event was an Indian fine dining evening at Etch. in Hove.

Taking Indian street food and presenting it in a fine dining environment takes a lot of skill and vision. Indian food is generally known for its comforting and hearty style, not something that lends itself to the high-end restaurant setting. Knowing Kanthi’s food well I was sure he would be able to deliver on flavour, but could he present dishes befitting of a restaurant such as Etch. especially when head chef and former Masterchef: The Professionals winner Steven Edwards was one of the guests.

Brighton Food Blog
tomato salsa on mini poppadum

As with most events we were greeted with a cocktail. This evening it was the “Seven Year Etch.” courtesy of Sarah from Blackdown Spirits. A mango driven take on the omnipresent porn star martini. Everyone loves this drink and this was a delightful and fitting introduction to the meal.

Kanthi had “Etched” his menu for the evening, merely listing two elements on offer per dish. One would be the lead spice and the other the key component. In keeping with Steven’s style, we kicked off with a small snack of tomato salsa on mini poppadum and some excellent Indian bread and mace butter. Featuring fresh flavours and vibrant spices, appetites had been firmly whet for what was to come.

Brighton Food Blog
Perfect Pakoras to start

First up would be Fennel and Mango presented in the format of a pakora. This was, however, no ordinary pakora. Wonderously crisp and not the least bit greasy, the balance of sweet mango and fragrant fennel meant this was the pakora to judge all future pakoras against. A classy start, the standard was set.

Brighton Food Blog
Sumptuous spicing on the scallops

Coriander and scallop came next. Presented on a black plate with a shock of purple broccoli puree and battered cauliflower florets it was a visual treat. A sumptuous display of how spicing can be delicate and not overpower, each element on the plate had was able to shine in its own right. I really enjoyed this one.

Next up was cardamom with paneer cheese. Paneer is often a little bland, relying on the spices to make it sing. This dish did just that. The vibrant green cardamom sauce was as intensely flavoured as it was colourful. The silky paneer with fresh chillies adds an exact balance of spice and heat to complement the sauce perfectly.

Brighton Food Blog
Vibrant paneer dish

The main event would see a rack of lamb paired with the king of all spices, black pepper. Perfectly tender and served with the nearest thing to a curry sauce on the night, the dish was a resounding success. If I could replace my usual Sunday roast with this each week I would have happily done so. Black pepper is something that we all have in our kitchens. This dish showed just how important this spice is and how it can take centre stage in a dish when used correctly.

Brighton Food Blog
Sorbet was strongly spiced

The palate cleanser of star anise and ginger sorbet was beautifully made, although I thought the spices were a little too powerful to cleanse. This was followed by a rice pudding that paired clove with apple, very comfortable bed fellows. Rice pudding has never been my thing, I’m a sugar fiend, but saw through my failings to appreciate the balance of flavours and textures this dessert presented me with.

The meal was a superb journey through the medium of spicing. Kanthi showcased each spice perfectly, balancing them with precision and a skill that most people can only aspire to. This was one of my highlights of the year, with the sensational matched wines from the team at Etch. being the icing on the cake. The Spice Circuit has been unleashed and I look forward to seeing where it takes us.

Brighton Food Blog
Dessert combination made for comfortable bed fellows

If you are also interested in seeing where the Spice Circuit can take you please go and check out their website. The Spice Circuit is more than a pop up restaurant. They are currently in India with their first Spice Circuit tour guests. These tours are like no other. Guests are taken on a gastronomic tour of South India led by chef Kanthi. The tours take in the areas of the country that were heavily influenced by the European ships that arrived in search of spices. The tailored tours are like no other and a must for anyone looking for a food based tour of India.

I was invited to review the pop up and the food was complementary. This had no bearing on the outcome of this review which was an honest reflection of my experience on the night.