A new series looking at the best dining options within walking distance (1 mile) of city landmarks worldwide. Here we offer our 5 IDEAL restaurants close to the Brighton Pier.
A stroll along Brighton seafront, skimming pebbles and checking out cheesy souvenir shops, tub of pickled cockles in one hand, plastic pint of flat lager in the other and sand between the teeth; if there’s a more quintessential British day out, we haven’t found it. Neither have we looked very hard, as a day out at Brighton beach is too perfect to merit further exploration inland. This day of clichés should culminate in Brighton Pier, maybe on a fairground ride, maybe with a go on the teddy picker in the arcade.
We wouldn’t however, want this glorious day to be tainted by an overpriced hamburger, eaten on the hoof, or a meal of rock and candy floss, just for the sake of the memories. Nostalgic seasoning can only get you so far, for it is food confined to cliché for a reason. And, with Brighton now carving out its own food identity and staking a claim as one of South England’s finest dining destinations, there are restaurant options a plenty; varied, unique and, most importantly, downright delicious. Here are our 5 IDEAL restaurants close to Brighton Pier.
TERRE A TERRE (0.2 miles)
If the idea of fish’n’chips on the beach lacks the sophistication and lightness of touch you’re after, Terre a Terre may just be the place for you. This vegetarian restaurant, a Brighton institution which has been standing in the same spot for the best part of a quarter century, and the cooking has remained consistently fantastic for all of that time. Inspiration is drawn from all corners of the globe – there’s plenty of need for google (or a helpful, knowledgeable waiter) when perusing a menu utilising this many unheard of ingredients – but this makes the experience fun and exciting, which can’t always be said of meat free restaurants.
Address: 71 East St, Brighton BN1 1HQ
PIKE & PINE (0.2 miles) *now closed*
A new addition to the landscape here, from chef Matt Gillan, Pike and Pine is an evening only affair, with the daytime café Red Rooster metamorphising into its older, more foodie focused sibling each evening. The former should not be overlooked for a splendid morning coffee, but we’re here to talk dining, so Pike and Pine it is. Gillan has Michelin pedigree, and the dishes are borne out of a desire to deliver inventive, unique yet unfussy results from both modern cooking techniques and a respect for classical technique. A recent change to the menu concept has led to further intrigue, and once Pike and Pine has settled in to its natural rhythm, we can see recognition arriving in buckets and spades.
Address: 1D St James’s St, Brighton BN2 1RE
64 DEGREES (0.3 miles)
64 Degrees ticks all the boxes that a hip, seaside restaurant should, with a fantastic buzz any day of the week, an abundance of fresh seafood on the menu and booking an absolute must.
The restaurant is from chef Michael Bremner, who recently achieved success on the BBC’s The Great British Menu. To say that this brought more custom would be flippant and ill-informed though, as it was consistently rammed to the rafters before his two stints on prime time television, and remains just as much so after.
The space and menu are tiny, refined and sophisticated, with only 27 covers and 12 items respectively. The intricacy of the food explains both. The vibe is very much ‘small plates’ with an emphasis on freshness and invention, which the open kitchen helps to showcase – you can watch preparation of dishes from cosy bar seating as you imbibe. Each plate is thoughtfully composed, with exotic and unheard of ingredients jostling with the familiar. All end in beautiful friendship rather than ruckus.
Address: 53 Meeting House Lane, Brighton BN1 1HB
Read our full restaurant review of 64 Degrees here
THE CHILLI PICKLE (0.5 miles)
Not your average neighbourhood curry house, that’s for certain. The Chilli Pickle raises the bar so high on the cooking front that it’s almost unrecognisable from the Balti triangles and Curry miles of many cities of Brighton’s size. For a start, the colour scheme and décor is more reflective of a street side Bangkok eatery than anywhere on the Indian subcontinent, and certainly a long way from the opulent gold drapes and plush sofas of our Anglo-Indian renditions. The cooking is precise and assertive, with the manipulating of sharp notes (from, amongst others, the aforementioned pickle) bringing freshness and vivacity when all too often ‘curry’ translates as something sludgy and homogenous. We love this place, and judging by the queues, Brighton does too.
Address: 17 Jubilee St, Brighton BN1 1GE
THE SALT ROOM (0.6 miles)
The Salt Room is the kind of place that all seaside towns should have, but for some reason, rarely do. It’s a place of simple, respectful fish cooking of the freshest catch, but with that extra touch of flair and attention to detail to raise the level skyward. The fact they have their own Josper grill (an industrial indoor Barbie, in essence) certainly does them no harm, as this type of ingredients-led cooking responds very well to smoke and flames. This is the place we’ll keep coming back to, again and again, when we want to taste the sea.
Address: 106 King’s Rd, Brighton BN1 2FU