Individual Awards

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Best Restaurant

The Little Fish Market

Last year’s champion has done it again in 2019. Tucked away on a side street just off Hove seafront, The Little Fish Market only sits 22 people and is usually staffed by just two people – chef Duncan Ray and restaurant manager Rob Smith.

It’s a simple formula that equates to a fabulous restaurant. Ray’s long experience of working in Michelin-starred restaurants shines through in a tasting menu of modern seafood dishes that perfectly balance simplicity and skill. Think line-caught bass, brandade stuffed piquillo pepper and Umbrian lentils or the signature slip sole in seaweed butter.

It’s easy to see why the Little Fish Market is many people’s tip for a Michelin star in Brighton.

The Little Fish Market
10 Upper Market St, Hove BN3 1AS
01273 722213
www.thelittlefishmarket.co.uk

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Best Chef

Duncan Ray

Brighton’s best restaurant in 2019 is also home to the city’s best chef with Duncan Ray winning the award for the second year running. The Surrey-born chef has worked in some of the best kitchens in Europe, including L’Ortolan, Lettonie, The Fat Duck and the three-Michelin starred Georges Blanc in eastern France. After several years travelling, he returned to the UK at the age of 23 to take the head chef role at Penny Hill Park Hotel before spending six years as a private chef, cooking for A-listers and royalty. He then ran The Five Alls in the Cotswolds before opening Little Fish Market in 2013.

“I want to cook good food that people want to eat,” he says. “The famous chef Nico Ladenis always said ‘Precision, restraint and simplicity’ – and that’s what I live my life by.”

The Little Fish Market
10 Upper Market St, Hove BN3 1AS
01273 722213
www.thelittlefishmarket.co.uk

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Best Front of House

Rob Smith

It’s the triple crown for the Little Fish Market in 2019 with restaurant manager Rob Smith also taking the Best Front of House accolade. It’s a remarkable achievement for such a tiny restaurant, and rightly recognises just how vital Smith is to its success. Once described as a dead ringer for a young Ben Whishaw, Smith oversees the 22-seater dining room by himself, juggling wine flights and table-side chats with easy efficiency as he glides between the wooden tables.

Calm, relaxed and with a great memory for faces, he has helped build a hugely loyal base of local regulars, as well as impressing diners from out of town. Booking in advance is essential, but you are guaranteed a warm welcome and sublime food if you do manage to bag a table.

The Little Fish Market
10 Upper Market St, Hove BN3 1AS
01273 722213
www.thelittlefishmarket.co.uk

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Best Out of Town Destination

The Ginger Fox

The Henfield outpost of Ben and Pamela McKellar’s Ginger restaurant empire is a beautiful thatched country pub, where local and seasonal ingredients hold sway.Rustic enough to keep country folk happy, but with enough original twists to lure foodies from the city, the Ginger Fox skilfully treads a fine line between traditional and modern. Nowhere is this more true than on the menu. Starters include goat’s cheese mousse with caper and raisin dressing, or braised beef croquette with charred pickled shallot, while meaty mains take in 35-day Himalayan dry salt aged Sirloin with duck fat chips. Open fires, a big garden with a children’s treasure trail, lovely views and delightful country walks are further reasons to visit. Best of all, it’s only a 15-minute drive from Brighton.

The Ginger Fox
Muddleswood Road
Hassocks
BN6 9EA
01273 857888
http://thegingerfox.com/

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Best New Opening

Easy Tiger

The people behind the hugely popular craft beer and bao buns pub The Pond opened Easy Tiger with a roar last year, initially as a pop-up in what was formerly The Hampton, before a full refurb made it a permanent fixture.

Like the Pond, the focus is on friendly service, quirky décor and an excellent line up of craft beers (try the all-too-easy-to-drink Pondwater Pale). Food comes courtesy of chef Kanthi Kiran Thamma, who made his name at Curry Leaf Cafe before setting up South Indian food tour company the Spice Circuit. His experiences are reflected in a menu of Indian street food dishes that are perfect with a pint. Highlights include Keralan fried chicken, masala fish and chips and toddy shop chilli beef.

Easy Tiger
57 Upper North Street, Brighton, BN1 3FH
01273 731347
www.easytigerbrighton.com

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Rising Star

Chard

Chard have found a permanent home at the chic furniture and clothes store Igigi.

It’s a move that has proved successful with the restaurant breaking into the Top 20 for the first time, earning it the prestigious Rising Star award in the process.

Run by sisters Benny and Mae Sullivan and Mae’s partner Ciaran Thomas, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner serving a regularly changing seasonal menu that makes the most of excellent Sussex produce. Start with mackerel crudo, pickled radish, citrus and cucumber, before tackling pork knuckle and cabbage with Jerusalem artichoke and apples. Flavours are given plenty of room to express themselves in the deceptively simple dishes that are exquisitely presented.

An exciting new talent to watch in the months and years to come.

Chard
Igigi General Store
31A Western Rd
Hove BN3 1AF
01273 027147
https://www.chardbrighton.co.uk/

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Best Sunday Lunch

Dizzy Gull at Haus on the Hill

After moving from the Brighton Beer Dispensary to the new Haus on the Hill pub high up in Hanover, there was a chance that Dizzy Gull may lose its Sunday Lunch crown this year.

No chance. The champions of 2017 and 2018, have done it again, winning the title for a third year running.

This is thanks partly to the talents of Dizzy Gull’s owner Dan Kenny, the dynamic chef-patron of The Set, and his talented team in the kitchen. But the Haus’ formidable line up of craft beers tended by friendly, knowledgable staff also play their part. Expect to see plenty of Brighton Bier on tap – the pub is owned by the brewery.

The Sunday roast is an epic affair. Think Sussex rib-eye with horseradish and pear chutney or nut roast made with lentils, mushrooms, miso and cashews. The super-light Yorkshire puds are the yin to the yang of the thick, soulful gravy, while sides include celeriac and truffle puree.

Dizzy Gull at Haus on the Hill
58 Southover Street
Brighton
BN2 9UE
01273 601419
http://www.hausonthehill.pub/food.html

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Best Wine List

Etch

BBC Saturday Kitchen’s wine expert Jane Parkinson and Brighton Wine Company supremo Chris Orr helped judge  more than a dozen restaurant wine lists nominated by our voters for this award.

Competition was tough with The Urchin, Ginger Pig, Fourth & Church and the Salt Room all highly commended, but it was Etch’s list that was the clear winner in the end.

Set up MasterChef: The Professionals winner Steven Edwards, Etch is a fine dining restaurant that champions local and seasonal food in innovative tasting menus.

The wine list is an epic affair taking in a large range of Sussex wines, plus old and new world vineyards and  lesser known producers from Hungary, Austria and Lebanon

Judges were impressed by the fact that more than 30 wines were available by the glass, as well as a nice selection by the half bottle and magnum.

Etch
216 Church Road
Hove
BN3 2DJ
01273 227485
www.etchfood.co.uk

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