The Little Fish Market takes top spot at Brighton’s Best Restaurants 2018

Duncan Ray

Duncan Ray

Other 28th February 2018

The Little Fish Market takes top spot at Brighton’s Best Restaurants 2018

The strength and depth of Brighton and Hove's dining scene was celebrated in raucous fashion at the third Brighton's Best Restaurant Awards last night (26.02.18) with The Little Fish Market taking top spot, plus the appearance of several other new entries on the influential Top 20 list.

Special guest Simon Rogan, chef-patron of the two-Michelin-starred L'Enclume in Cumbria, presented The Little Fish Market with the prestigious Best Restaurant award at a packed event at the Komedia, attended by the cream of the city's restaurant industry. Chef Duncan Ray, who set up the Hove seafood restaurant in 2013, did the double by also being named Best Chef at the annual awards.

“It was quite surreal hearing hundred of people cheering so loudly when we won,” said a delighted Ray after collecting the trophy. “These awards are really special because they are voted for by my peers. To win both Best Chef and Best Restaurant means so much.”

Simon Rogan, who used to live in Sussex and is a regular visitor to Brighton, revealed he almost opened a restaurant in the city in 2001 before he went on to set up L'Enclume. “I've always loved Brighton and really enjoy coming back. It's great to see so many amazing restaurants here,” he said.

The dynamism of Brighton's dining scene was reflected by a host of new names in this year's Top 20 list, which is voted for by almost 200 local experts. Petit Pois, Murmur, 1909 and Pike & Pine all made it on to the list for the first time, as did critically acclaimed Pascere, which also won the Best Wine List award. Hove fine dining destination Etch, from Masterchef winner Steven Edwards, took the Highest New Entry award finishing seventh on the Top 20 list.

It wasn't just new names that caught the eye. More established restaurants also did well with Bincho Yakitori, the popular Japanese grill, holding onto second place, while last year's number one 64 Degrees took third place. Hove gastropub The Ginger Pig won the Rising Star award, leaping five places from last year to number 10. The pub's sister restaurant Gingerman also made the list 20 years after it was first opened by Ben and Pamela McKellar. The couple's influence and achievements in the city's restaurant industry were recognised with an Outstanding Contribution Award, presented by Simon Rogan.

“We really weren't expecting that at all,” said a visibly moved Ben McKellar. “We love what we do, but to be recognised by a room full of fellow chefs like this is really very special. The Brighton restaurant scene has changed a lot since we first started. Competition is strong, but that's good for everyone - a rising tide raises all boats. Brighton is now a seriously good dining destination and more people are visiting just for the food.” [continues]

Other award winners on the night included Jake Goldstein, bar manager at the Plotting Parlour, who won Best Barkeep; and Cin Cin owner David Toscano, who scooped the Best Welcome award for the second year in a row.

The Best Sunday Lunch category was won by the Dizzy Gull at the Brighton Beer Dispensary pub, while The Chilli Pickle's fragrant Keralan platter, Al and D's Toddy Shop, created for the OctoberBest restaurant festival, was named Best OctoberBest Dish.

The awards are voted for by experts including food writers, chefs, restaurateurs and business leaders, all of whom boast an intimate knowledge of the city's 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.

Full list of winners
The Top 20, in order, are as follows:
1) The Little Fish Market
2) Bincho Yakitori
3) 64 Degrees
4) Cin Cin
5) The Set
6) The Chilli Pickle
7) Etch
8) Pascere
9) The Salt Room
10) The Ginger Pig
11) Silo
12) Isaac At
13) Plateau
14) Red Roaster/Pike & Pine
15) Fatto a Mano
16) 1909
17) Fourth & Church
18) Murmur
19) Petit Pois
20) The Gingerman

Category winners:
Outstanding Contribution
Ben and Pamela McKellar, Ginger Restaurants
Best Chef, sponsored by BNFS
Duncan Ray, The Little Fish Markert
Best Barkeep, sponsored by Ridgeview
Jake Goldstein, Plotting Parlour
Best Welcome, sponsored by DesignLSM
David Toscano, Cin Cin

Best Wine List, sponsored by The Brighton Wine Co
Best Sunday Lunch, sponsored by The Lifestyle Agency
Dizzy Gull at the Brighton Beer Dispensary
Rising Star, sponsored by Enotria&Coe
The Ginger Pig
Highest New Entry, sponsored by Bibendum
Best OctoberBEST Dish, sponsored by We Are Spectacular
Al and D's Toddy Shop, The Chilli Pickle

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