I moved down to Sussex over 25 years ago from South London. My family viewed living by the sea as a dream goal. I still remember the day when we packed up and cavalcaded down to Worthing, a charming seaside town in West Sussex.
After the amazing experience of winning MasterChef, we opened our first restaurant Pitch in 2019 serving beautiful British inspired food from both the sea and the land. There has been a significant boom of food and café culture all around Sussex, and many areas such as Brighton and Worthing have flourished into destinations for those in search of culinary delights. Our second restaurant Bayside Social has capitalised on this foodie reputation. It's a beachside restaurant focusing on fresh small plates mainly inspired by the coast.
You really are spoilt for choice but here are a few places in and around Brighton that keep me coming back.
Bincho Yakitori, Brighton
Brighton’s worst kept secret, this Japanese style yakitori bar is as authentic as you're going to get outside of Tokyo. Such delights as quail eggs wrapped in bacon, sweet potato draped in miso butter and grilled chicken hearts all cooked over authentic binchotan coals make for an epic meal and of course don't forget to try the copious amounts of very good sake on offer.
South By West, West Worthing
It’s on my doorstep and on my route into Brighton whenever I head there. It’s a community led café that does two things really really well. Great coffee and homemade cinnamon rolls made fresh daily. Get there early enough to get one straight from the oven. It's the simple things in life; fresh cinnamon rolls and great coffee are just that.
The Strand Fish & Chips, Durrington, Worthing
Another Worthing favourite, this place is totally unassuming and always busy for a reason. The Strand Fish and Chips is run by chef and owner team, Nasser and Fahmy. Both lovely guys who understand the importance of great fish, crispy golden batter, and the perfect chippy chip. If you’re lucky, Nasser occasionally puts up some incredible Middle Eastern specials like homemade falafel and tahini sauce and probably the best tabbouleh salad I've had the pleasure of trying.
The Gorilla Kitchen, Various locations (Brighton every Friday)
I love this street-food kitchen. Roberto and Fiona make some of the finest pizzas I've tried, sourcing artisan produce from Calabria in Italy, as well as Sussex. There's always a big queue so be sure to get there early.
Plateau has a superb wine list especially focusing on natural wine and a very well stocked cocktail bar in Brighton's South Lanes. Serving seasonal small plates using fresh Sussex produce. This place is so real and does what it does consistently well.
Lickle More, Hove
Lickle More sells unreal Caribbean food at the bottom of Haddington Street, behind St Andrews Church in Hove. This really is some of the best jerk chicken and curried goat I’ve ever had. Make sure to grab a few beef patties and a good dosing of hot sauce on your jerk.
Murmur, Brighton Seafront
My mate Michael (Michael Bremner- Great British Menu Winner) has such a vast understanding and passion for food. The menu changes daily with a big focus on fresh fish. I love seeing the big ever changing black board which screams locality and seasonality. The lobster croquettes are always a winner.
Shelter Hall, Brighton
I am cheating a little with this recommendation as I’ve now started two of my restaurants here, Ox Block and, most recently, Patty Guy in 2022. I just love Shelter Hall though and think it’s a fantastic addition to the seafront – it’s relaxed, and you can pop by for a drink or choose from an exciting selection of restaurants too. Right now, I’m enjoying bagels from Bross Bagels, which is here for a summer residency.
And why Patty Guy? I've always been mad about a burger, and it would be my go-to treat. Patty Guy is my vision of what a burger should be, and is inspired by some of the greatest burger joints around the world. The best meat which is simply seasoned and cooked to order with the freshest garnish. I struggle to leave Brighton without a Green Chilli Cheeseburger and Jammie Dodger shake these days.