Steven Edwards won MasterChef: The Professionals in 2013, but the Sussex chef hasn't let celebrity go to his head. Rather than a glitzy city-centre location, his first restaurant is a small, intimate affair in the outer reaches of Hove. It's worth the schlep because Edwards has elevated the area’s already thriving restaurant scene to new levels with a mix of technically accomplished cooking and friendly service, a combination of which has earned him a place on the Michelin guide as well as three AA Rosettes. It's fine dining without the fuss.
As with many of the country’s best chefs, Edwards insists the food on offer at his restaurant changes with the months, to reflect what’s in season or available locally. The line-up changes on the first Monday of every month and his five-, seven- or nine-course tasting menus explore just a handful of ingredients – think charred mackerel pierced by the racy acidity of greengages (pickled and sorbet) or a sweet scallop seduced by the dark side of salty cuttlefish orzo. There's plenty of cheffy technique too – from sous vide to hay-smoking – but Edwards knows how to keep it simple when required: his 24-hour pork belly comes with proper crackling, while his Marmite brioche with whipped seaweed butter is some of the best bread south of the M25. For those with a sweet tooth it’s good news, as the larger tasting menus include both a chocolate and fruit dessert. Recent examples of puds have included a dark chocolate mousse with chocolate jelly and coriander ice cream, and a cherry Bakewell tart with crème fraiche sorbet, cherry gel and fresh cherries
The drinks list is all-encompassing, offering something for everyone with a good selection of Sussex wines, locally-brewed beers, a concise cocktail list and a whole host of soft options. In fact, tasting menus can be paired with both wine flights and soda ones (although you do have to pre-order if you’d like the latter). Chatty staff, comfy seats and Japanese loos that (unnervingly) wash and blow-dry at the touch of a button all add to the etch. experience.