I’m Brighton born and bred and can’t imagine living anywhere else. We have such a diverse community, which in turn gives us an abundance of different experiences to enjoy. There are plenty of things for the visitor and a trip to Brighton Pier or the fabulous Royal Pavilion should be on everyone’s to-do, but once you’ve ticked them off, there is far more left to discover off the beaten track. Being FOR something is an attitude that can change the world. I am FOR Brighton so I’m proud to share my hometown discoveries with you.
Although incredibly laid back, Brighton never sits still. There is always something going on, a festival taking place or somewhere new to explore in every nook and cranny. It’s an impossible beast to keep on top of, which always keeps it interesting no matter how long you have lived here. And apparently it’s the happiest place in the country, and it shows!
Dine with a Brightonian in their home
The launch of website Tabl.com has been a brilliant tool in bringing the pop-up dining experience to a wider audience. The site lists both domestic cooks offering set menus in their (quite often incredible) homes to some of our local chefs going to town creatively without the style confines of their restaurant day jobs. Prices vary from just £20 up toward some very exclusive events and it’s a fantastic way to meet people whilst trying something new to eat. You are almost guaranteed a really fun night too.
Sample the most exquisite cakes this side of the Channel
Brighton is so lucky to have the talented Julien Plumart adopt us as his new home. Creating the most deliriously delicious and jewel-like fine patisserie, you could almost mistake his stylish shop for a jewellery boutique. From the rainbow rows of freshly made macaroon, to flakiest pastries and glossy cakes, you’ll have a really hard time choosing.
Julien Plumart Salon Du The
Join the Street Food revolution
Street Diner is a bi-weekly street food market, with plenty of interesting, quality fast food from different cultures. The menu changes weekly and there are guest pitches from visiting stalls. Some of my favourites are fresh Indian food from Ahimsa and Venezuelan arepas from Toston Tolon. Street Diner has even proved to be the springboard for some stallholders to open their own restaurants as well. A real asset to the city and guarantees you never have a boring lunch again.
Most inventive food in the city
64 Degrees has completely shaken up the local restaurant scene with their unusual small plates of creative food. From their tiny, but very cool restaurant, you can even bag a stool on the pass where you can catch the theatre of your dishes being created by the talented chefs. Booking is essential as this is one of the few local restaurants to have gained national attention. And make sure you try the house egg, cooked at 64 degrees, obviously.
The best fish restaurant in Brighton
Brighton historically was surprisingly lacking in really good fish restaurants but the Little Fish Market has rectified that problem. Chef Duncan Ray creates the most impeccable dishes in his small restaurant, like the Sea bass with Fennel and Grapefruit or Monkfish with Pork Belly and Carrot and Star Anise Puree. His desserts are as good as the fish courses too. Remember to book early as during some weekend sittings you may need around 6 weeks’ notice.
Little Fish Market
A bar away from the masses
If you want to beat the mainstream crowds then head to my favourite bar which is within Plateau’s restaurant. Their cocktail menu has some historic gems with a prohibition era feel using quality spirits and mixers. And if you get peckish, then you can grab something from their menu of fine small plate French food. Beats a packet of Ready Salted.
1 Bartholomews, Brighton BN1 1HG
Catch a film in the oldest cinema in Britain
Catch a movie at what is apparently the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain. Opened in 1910, the Duke of York’s Picture House near Preston Circus is cinema as it should be. Drink fine wines and sit back in sofas while you watch cult and independent films and special screenings, some in fancy dress!
Preston Rd, Brighton, BN1 4NA
Buy some original art
Ignore the tourist tat and kiss-me-quick hats. Bring home some original art or prints from my favourite gallery and shop, Castor & Pollux. The modern gallery is situated just to the right of Brighton Pier, under the arches in the artist’s quarter. They also have a good selection of contemporary art and design books as well as handmade jewellery and gifts.
Castor & Pollux
164-166 King's Road Arches, Lower Promenade, Brighton BN1 1NB,
The heart of Brighton is in the North Laine
Here you will find a jumble of boutiques, galleries, cafes and independent shops that are uniquely Brighton. Once you have shopped, grab a bite to eat or a coffee and people watch to your heart’s content. And Brighton people are worth watching! Also take a stroll along Kensington Street where the backs of buildings have been covered from top to bottom in vibrant, skilled graffiti.
Take a tour with a difference
Brighton is known for the unusual and there are some really quirky tours available which will make you see the city in an entirely different light. After dark, try one of the truly terrifying ghost tours available. There is also a saying; “only in Brighton” and a tour of that name will give you local insights and facts that even the truest of Brightonians may not even know about.