Individual Awards

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Best Restaurant 2018

The Little Fish Market

Tucked away on a side street just off Hove seafront, The Little Fish Market only sits 20 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.

Smith runs the front-of-house with exceptional charm, juggling wine flights and table-side chats with easy efficiency as he glides between the wooden tables in the tiny dining room. 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

Best Chef 2018

Duncan Ray

Surrey-born chef Duncan Ray has done the double in 2018. Not only did his modern seafood restaurant claim the Number One spot in our Top 20 List, but he was also voted Best Chef.

It’s no surprise given the chef’s background, which saw him work 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 Welcome 2018

David Toscano

If you’ve sat at the dining counter in Cin Cin in North Laine or at the new Hove branch, you’ll probably have already experienced the warm charm of owner David Toscano.

A regular presence in both restaurants, he embodies the true spirit of hospitality, chatting away to diners without ever intruding, while seamlessly pouring flutes of Prosecco and ferrying plates of silky handmade pasta from the open kitchen. It was no surprise then that he claimed the Brighton’s Best Welcome award for a second consecutive time this year.

Toscano hails from Italy but grew up in Sydney, before becoming a lawyer. He gave it up to follow his true vocation in 2013, setting up a street food business operating from a vintage van in Brighton, before opening his first restaurant in the North Laine in 2016. It was a smash hit from day one, giving him the confidence to open a second site on Western Road in Hove in early 2018. It’s been packed ever since.

Cin Cin
3-16 Vine Street, BN1 4AG
60 Western Rd, Hove BN3 1JD
01273 698813/01273 726047
www.cincin.co.uk

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Best Barkeep 2018

Jake Goldstein

Located on a nondescript side street in Kemp Town, it would be easy to miss the Plotting Parlour. That would be a terrible mistake because this swish cocktail bar is a must-visit drinking destination in the city.

Much of its success is down to bar manager Jake Goldstein, a wildly inventive barkeep who loves to push the boundaries of booze. Witness his signature drink the Beekeeper, a heady mix of Chivas Regal, fresh borage, lemon and lavender marmalade, honey and lemon juice. The drink took second place at the international Buffalo Trace cocktail competition in Bohemia a few years ago.

The interior is a sanctuary of soft lighting and even softer furnishings with pictures of classical paintings covering the ceiling. Table service adds to the civilised calm.

The Plotting Parlour
6 Steine St, Brighton BN2 1TE
theplottingparlour-brighton.co.uk

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Best Sunday Lunch 2018

Dizzy Gull

It’s the second year in a row that Dizzy Gull has taken the Best Sunday Lunch award, and for good reason. In a town famous for its Sunday roasts, the Brighton Beer Dispensary’s kitchen stands out for two reasons.

The first is that it is run by Dan Kenny – one of Brighton’s best chefs who has made his name by pushing boundaries at his restaurant The Set. The other is that the Brighton Beer Dispensary is simply a brilliant boozer with a crack (or should that be craic?) team of hopheads behind the bar serving craft ales from the country’s very best micro-breweries.

The roast is an epic affair. Think Sussex rib-eye, middle white pork belly or a lentil, miso and squash nut loaf. Roasties are done in dripping (unless you’re a veggie) and the super-light Yorkshire puds are the yin to the yang of the thick, soulful gravy.

Dizzy Gull at the Brighton Beer Dispensary
38 Dean St, BN1 3EG
01273 710624
www.dizzygull.co.uk

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Best Wine List 2018

Pascere

This new category was judged by Evening Standard drinks writer Douglas Blyde, who joined sponsor and wine expert Chris Orr and Brighton’s Best co-founders to sift through more than a dozen restaurant wine lists nominated by our voters.

Competition was tough with Etch, Ginger Pig, Fourth & Church and the Salt Room all highly commended, but it was newcomer Pascere that took the award. Set up by food writer Amanda Menahem last year, Pascere has won critical acclaim with glowing reviews in the Guardian and the Times thanks to chef Johnny Stanford’s modern European cooking, but also the epic wine list.

Judges were impressed by the breadth and depth of old and new world wines, from Italy to Argentina and Austria to Oregon. There is a huge choice by the glass and carafe with plenty of bottles at the £20-£40 mark. The list is also easy to navigate with helpful tasting notes.

Pascere
8 Duke St, Brighton BN1 1AH
01273 917 949
pascere.co.uk

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RISING STAR 2018

The Ginger Pig

An elegant pub and restaurant, the Ginger Pig jumped five places from last year to break into the top half of our Top 20 list, earning it the coveted Rising Star Award in the process.

Its enduring popularity has much to do with the inventive modern European cooking of head chef Robin Koehorst and a drinks list that includes a superb range of sherries, excellent cocktails and eclectic wines, many by the glass.

But success is also testament to the drive and vision of Ben and Pamela McKellar, who were personally recognised with an Outstanding Contribution Award at this year’s ceremony. The couple, who have run restaurants in the city for 20 years, opened eleven ensuite boutique rooms and a swish private dining room at the pub last year, while a major refurbishment of the interior was undertaken early in 2018.

The Ginger Pig
3 Hove St, Hove BN3 2TR
01273 736123
thegingerpigpub.com

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Best OctoberBest Dish

The Chilli Pickle

A banana leaf-lined platter heaving with fresh fish, curries, snacks and a tender coconut brew … it’s little wonder that The Chilli Pickle’s OctoberBest offering – “Al ‘n’ D’s Toddy Shop” – won Best OctoberBest Dish for the second year running, following the trail blazed by that Pork Knuckle Vindaloo.

Chef Alun Sperring and wife Dawn were inspired to create the dish after travelling around Kerala, sampling the fiery, rustic food and potent home brews of Alleppey’s working man’s social shacks.

Keralan duck stew, Mussel chilli broth, Slip sole fry with curry leaf chutney, Tellicherry black pepper ribs, Peanut rice pawa, pomegranate salad and more – not too shabby for £20.

The Chilli Pickle
17 Jubilee Street, Brighton, BN1 1HB
01273 900 383
www.thechillipickle.com

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Highest New Entry 2018

Etch

There was huge anticipation ahead of the opening of Etch last year, partly because owner Steven Edwards is a former MasterChef: the Professionals winner.

The restaurant has more than lived up to expectation thanks to innovative tasting menus, superior wines and a chic interior design, which have propelled it to Number Seven on the Top 20 List.

The menus are sparse on detail, but what arrives is always a many-layered surprise that goes head-to-head with the best cooking in the UK.

It’s a destination restaurant, but one that locals have taken to their hearts.

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

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