On Monday the 22nd of February BrewDog in Brighton hosted the inaugural “Brighton’s Best” restaurant awards. The aim of this new set of awards is to celebrate the top twenty restaurants that epitomise the city’s burgeoning restaurant scene. Co-founders Andy Lynes (food writer and author), Euan MacDonald (60 second reviews) and Patrick McGuigan (food writer) are passionate about the Brighton scene; and in creating these awards want to draw local and national attention to cement Brighton and Hove’s position on the culinary map.
The awards are unique in that they are voted for by the very same people that are a part of the food revolution. Local chefs, food writers, restaurateurs, business leaders, critics and gourmands were asked to vote for their top seven restaurants and points were allocated to each nomination. Awards were also awarded for top chef, top barkeep and top welcome.
The awards night was one to remember with the guests representing a who’s who of the Brighton food scene. BrewDog was full to breaking point with the bar staff working at maximum speed to keep this crowd of foodies well lubricated; Brighton Gin were also on hand for those seeking an alternate tipple.
The evening was hosted with great aplomb by co-founder Euan MacDonald who overcame technical difficulties to keep the raucous crowd entertained. He was ably assisted by Brighton favourites; comedian Dave Lamb, voice of TV’s “Come dine with me”; “Great British Bake Off” contestant and Brighton baker Kate Henry, plus founder of the Polpo group of restaurants Russell Norman.
The atmosphere was fantastic and every award was greeted with cheers from the enthusiastic and supportive crowd. First place, and so officially Brighton’s Best restaurant, went to Michael Bremner’s 64 Degrees, with Michael also taking the award for “Top Chef”. Michael was delighted and overwhelmed to have been named the number one restaurant in Brighton; “My team work so hard to give our customers the best dining experience possible, so to win Best Restaurant is just amazing. I’m over the moon.” He said.
Bremner’s menu of innovative small plates puts a focus on fresh, local produce, and was recently awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin inspectors. The Chilli Pickle, The Salt Room, The Set and Silo completed the top five.
On a personal note I was really pleased to see a couple of Brighton’s most exciting young chefs recognized with Isaac At and Flank coming in at number 20 and 18 respectively. Tom Griffiths, head chef and owner of Flank, told me that he will be taking over the kitchen at Silo for one night on the 20th March. He will be showcasing an eight course tasting menu celebrating the sustainable and innovative dishes that Flank has become known for.
The Gingerman group were well represented with the Ginger Pig at number 11 and The Gingerman at 7; and some great results for The Little Fish Market at 9; Semolina at 12; and Fatto a Mano, the only pizzeria on the list, coming in at number 19.
In the other awards given on the night, Rob Smith of The Little Fish Market was a very popular winner of the “Top Welcome” award given for excellent front of house service; and Johan Claesson of Plateau was recognised as “Top Barkeep”.
Co-organiser of the awards and celebrated food critic Andy Lynes said the following: “I was delighted to see 64 Degrees top the list. Chef and owner Michael Bremner and his team helped kick-start the current restaurant renaissance in Brighton, so it’s great to see them recognised by the city’s food fraternity.”
“Brighton is now a serious restaurant destination, but the rest of the country hasn’t quite yet cottoned on to the fact and that’s why we launched the awards,’ says Lynes.
These awards really were a celebration of everything that is positive in the Brighton food scene at the moment. There is an excellent community of chefs, staff and restaurateurs who are pushing each other to new heights and things can only go from strength to strength.
To take a look at the full awards list and view a profile and short video review of each of the winners head over to http://www.brightonsbestrestaurants.com/ and get inspired to try them all.