Review: Brighton’s Best Cookbook

Have you ever left a restaurant and enjoyed a dish so much you have tried to recreate it at home? I know I have. Being inspired by a great meal is something that I love about eating at restaurants. Often my attempts fall very short, and understandably so, but it is fun trying. Chefs put a lot of time and effort into creating the dishes that we love, putting their experience and character into each one. Now they have shared that knowledge with the rest of us thanks to the new Brighton’s Best Cookbook.

The Brighton’s Best Cookbook has been created by Andy Lynes, one of the team behind the superb Brighton’s Best food awards and OctoberBEST food festival. Andy has worked with the Top 20 restaurants from this year’s awards to bring you a selection of recipes from each venue. The book is a celebration of the quality and diversity of the city’s top chefs and the food that they create. I was given a copy to look at ahead of its launch on the 22nd June.

Chilli Pickle Brightons Best

Andy is an established writer and journalist who has been championing the Brighton food scene in the national press. His knowledge of the food and drink industry is evident throughout the book. From the introduction to the book, and in each of the restaurant introductions, Andy shares his insight into the city’s food landscape. His passion for the city and the restaurants featured is conveyed in a thoughtful and engaging way. Add to this the beautiful photography and presentation and you have a book that is pleasant to leaf through and is more than just a reference book.

The recipes featured take the reader through the entire culinary landscape. As you work through the book you traverse fine dining, seafood, curry, vegetarian, Italian, Japanese and innovative modern British cuisine. On nearly every page you encounter a dish that you’ve either eaten or seen on a local menu. As a local food enthusiast that makes for an exciting read. What I also enjoy is that you get a real sense of the identity of the chefs and restaurants through the recipes included.

Fourth and Church Brightons Best

Having come from professional chefs you would be forgiven into thinking that the recipes are going to be extremely technical and require a lot of equipment. This is not the case. There are plenty of achievable dishes throughout, from quick bites to those that will require a little more time and effort. The recipes highlight the care and attention that go into creating restaurant quality food. The skills and techniques used are not beyond the grasp of the home cook. The chefs show us how to use these to make the most of the ingredients, and this is the real insight I took from book.

The Set Brightons Best

The Brighton’s Best Cookbook is a fantastic snapshot of Brighton and Hove’s current food scene. Few other books feature recipes from so many top chefs, names such as Michael Bremner, Duncan Ray and Douglas McMaster, who are gaining national acclaim and recognition. It is a celebration of the inclusive food community, with high end restaurants such as The Set, Isaac At and The Gingerman placed on an equal setting with informal eateries such as Fourth and Church, Bincho Yakitori, Fatto a Mano and Semolina. If you are a fan of the local food scene and want to understand it on a whole new level then I would highly recommend picking up a copy of this book.

The Brighton’s Best Cookbook costs £25 and is available from all the featured restaurants, City Books in Hove or at

Little Fish Brightons Best

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