Despite three new entries and five climbers, Meeting House Lane’s 64 Degrees held on to its place at the top of Brighton’s restaurant scene for a second year last night, as the Brighton’s Best Restaurants awards announced its new Top 20.
Reflecting the dynamism and diversity of Brighton's thriving restaurant scene, Brighton’s Best Restaurants award’s Top 20 saw a lot of action at last night’s awards, held at Brewdog on Grand Parade. As the official media partners for the event, we were there to watch the evening unfold and end in triumph for 64 Degrees (pictured above).
L-R: Patrick McGuigan, Sam Lambert, Michael Bremner and Euan MacDonald
“I'm totally blown away,” said 64 Degrees chef and owner Michael Bremner (pictured above with his head chef Sam Lambert and Brighton’s Best Restaurants founders Patrick McGuigan and Euan MacDonald) after receiving the top award. “I really didn't expect it again because Brighton has so many good chefs and restaurants. We eat out in this town all the time and we're constantly impressed with what everyone else is doing.” In our own list of the top 100 restaurants outside of London, 64 Degrees is currently the highest-placed Brighton restaurant.
L-R: Cin Cin owner David Toscano with the restaurant's general manager Fabrizio Manconi and chef Jamie Halsall
Bincho Yakitori, the hugely popular Japanese grill restaurant on Preston Street, leapt eleven places to take the number two spot, while Vine Street’s recently opened casual Italian Cin Cin was the highest new entry (pictured above), landing at number six. Fine dining also got the thumbs up from the awards' 150-strong panel of experts and enthusiasts, as Isaac At on Gloucester Street moved from 20 to 14, and chef Duncan Ray (formerly at The Fat Duck) entered the top five for the first time, as his tiny Upper Market Street bolthole The Little Fish Market climbed to number four.
L-R: Award sponsor Enotria & Coe's Paul Milne, Bincho Yakitori chef/owner Dave Miney and Euan MacDonald
Commenting on Bincho Yakitori's meteoric rise, chef and owner Dave Miney put it down to Brighton diners' appreciation of bold flavours. “We are no frills, but people don't care,” he said. “They're not interested in the weight of the cutlery or having table clothes. They just want good food.”
Squaremeal's editor Ben McCormack was also on hand to present the first award of the night to Fourth & Church, at number 20 on the list.
Here’s the 2017 Top 20 in full:
1) 64 Degrees (above)
2) Bincho Yakitori
3) The Chilli Pickle
4) The Little Fish Market
5) The Set
6) Cin Cin
8) The Salt Room
11) The Gingerman (above)
12) Terre à Terre
13) Curry Leaf Café
14) Isaac At
15) The Ginger Pig
16) Fatto a Mano
17) The Urchin
18) The Coal Shed
19) Riddle & Finns
20) Fourth & Church
The awards also recognise achievements with an array of categories, which this year included Best Sunday Roast and Best OctoberBEST Dish for the first time. Check out the winners for each category below:
Best Sunday Roast: Dizzy Gull at The Brighton Beer Dispensary
Best OctoberBEST Dish: The Chilli Pickle, for its crispy pork knuckle vindaloo – this award recognises the best dish served during the OctoberBEST restaurant festival, also organised by Brighton’s Best Restaurants
Best Chef: Michael Bremner at 64 Degrees
Best Barkeep: Matt Ottley at The Salt Room
Best Welcome: Cin Cin
Rising Star: Bincho Yakitori
Highest New Entry: Cin Cin
Brighton’s Best Restaurants is the work of Andy Lynes, Euan MacDonald and Patrick McGuigan. Andy is a freelance food, drink and travel journalist and author and he’s part of the 60 Second Reviews team. Euan is co-founder of 60 Second Reviews, while Pat is a food journalist who writes for Squaremeal, The Telegraph, The Financial Times and Restaurant, among others.
“We’re delighted that the new Top 20 reflects Brighton’s always-improving, dynamic and fast-moving restaurant scene,” says Andy Lynes. “It confirms Brighton as one of the best dining destinations outside London, and one that can stand side by side with cities like Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester. There’s something for everyone from innovative small plates to fabulous pizzas and of course lots of great seafood.”
The awards are voted for by a panel of experts, including food writers, chefs, restaurateurs, business leaders, critics and gourmands, all of whom boast an intimate knowledge of the Brighton and Hove restaurant landscape. Votes are hand-counted by the organisers and carefully monitored so that panel members cannot vote for any restaurants they own or invest in, ensuring the list’s integrity.
Discover Squaremeal's full UK top 100 restaurants here
Event imagery courtesy of Roarke Pearce. This article was published 21 February 2017.