Tom Flint: There’s a lot to look forward to in 2017

A dish from The Little Fish Market
A dish from The Little Fish Market

As years go 2016 was a fairly interesting one, and that is putting it lightly. I will spare you yet another list of negative events that occurred, as I am sure you are all well aware of these, and instead I shall spend some time looking forward. Firstly, I want to say that 2016 was a fantastic year for the food community of Brighton and Hove and therefore the city as a whole.

Our wonderful city’s restaurants and chefs reached national acclaim. This was in part thanks to two superb TV appearances from 64 Degrees super chef Michael Bremner on The Great British Menu; and a determined showing on Masterchef: The Professionals by James “Big Jim” Villiers from The Ginger Dog. On top of that The Little Fish Market in Hove became the first restaurant in the city to be awarded three AA Rosettes; 64 Degrees came 16th in the National Restaurant Awards; and The Bull in Ditching won The Great British pub of the year.

As fantastic as 2016 was, the food world is one that is always looking forwards. With that in mind I will have a look at what we can look forward to this year; that is if the world doesn’t end on Friday the 20th of January.

To start with we have two of the country’s top chefs opening restaurants in Brighton. Former Masterchef: The Professionals winner Steven Edwards will finally be putting down roots and opening his first Etch. restaurant on Church Road in Hove. Steven has been perfecting the concept over the past year via a series of pop ups across Sussex and beyond and his interactive dining with a strong Sussex focus is sure to be a big hit.

Matt Gillan will be following up his recent run of pop ups at Lucky Beach with his restaurant, Pike and Pine, on the Red Rooster coffee house site at the bottom of St James Street. Matt brings a wealth of experience having headed up the Michelin starred, The Pass at South Lodge, which he left in April 2016. His focus on bringing the best out of simple ingredients and experimentation with textures, temperatures and flavours is sure to create a memorable dining experience.

In addition to these two top chefs, there will also be a new Curry Leaf Café in Kemptown, and I understand that Senor Buddha will be moving to a larger and more central location soon. There is also the Bison Arms to look forward to and the Brighton Bierhaus in Kemptown. I am also looking forward to seeing what chef Tom Griffiths does next following his hugely successful and impressive Flank venture.

With the second OctoberBest and OctoberFest events due to take place, The Brighton and Hove Food Awards and the new BRAVO food awards there will be plenty of opportunities to celebrate the local food scene. Finally, for lovers of all things gin there will be the first ever Mother’s Ruin gin festival to celebrate world gin day on the 10th June at Preston Manor.

As you drag yourself through January, a month of sobriety and credit card bills, I hope that these events give you something to look forward to.