Last month, Billy and I went to the Brighton & Hove food and drink festival on Hove Lawns. We have been before and love the relaxed atmosphere and the wide range of food on offer. The weather held out with no rain (miracle on bank holiday weekend!) and we ate our way through stalls and demonstrations hosted by Andrew Kay.
First things first, we hunted down the Gin…
We wanted to eat everything, far too many choices to decide! I went for a seitan pulled pork burger from a great vegan stall run by Earthlings Edibles. Billy opted for a Lamb flatbread with, literally, everything in it made by Space and Thyme who make delicious healthy kebabs.
*I couldn’t wait to eat it, excuse the bite marks! I cant rave enough about this burger, Im not a big meat alternative fan and as tend to opt for options with vegetables instead – this was one of the best I have eaten, had great texture and the spicy sauce was so tasty. As you can see, Billy was starving too!
We had a walk around staring at other peoples food (and the 100’s of cute sausage dogs that took over Brighton that weekend) We grabbed another drink from the Blackdown stall which was a summery Gin cup full of fruit and definitely full of alcohol.
Suitably full and a bit tipsy, we decided to watch some demonstrations in the tent with Andrew Kay. Started off with Matt Gillan from Pike & Pine, who made new season lamb with strawberries and samphire and charcoal hollandaise; it looked amazing and smelled great (I didnt eat it as I’m Pescatarian but watching Matt create this dish was a treat)
Next up was Dan Cotton from Market restaurant, who was getting ready to prepare a mouth watering dish of confit tuna, compressed watermelon and wasabi; it tasted as incredible as it sounds, all of my favourite things on one plate. It was so good that we forgot to take a photograph!
Once we had tried and tested almost everything and made the most of the festival, we walked to the Cocktail Shack which is part of the Artist Residence hotel. The atmosphere in this place makes it feel like summer, the bartenders are wearing Hawaiian shirts with matching decor and light flooding through the bay windows.
We had a Brighton cocktail week wristband and made the most of the special weekend cocktail offers on the menu. Billy went for a Truffle Shuffle – Havana 3 year old, banana, truffle honey, ginger and lime (plus, who doesn’t love the Goonies?)
I opted for the Keffir and Loathing – Casabel Tequila, Montolobos Mezcal, Campari, Pineapple, Agave, Lime and Keffir leaf. It was delicious, I love Tequila anyway but this was really fresh and zesty.
We stayed at the Grand Hotel for the night, again deciding to try out their cocktails on offer for the Cocktail week. We both went for the Espresso Martini which came served in dry ice. The drink itself tasted perfect and did the job at waking us up and giving us both an energy boost ready for dinner.
Dinner was booked at 64 Degrees, somewhere I had been dying to try for months after it had won so many awards. When we walked it, the Chefs pass was full with people eating and drinking, watching the theatre of making the dishes. Billy and I decided on a table when booking as we wanted more time to enjoy the evening. Sitting down and looking around, the restaurant is tiny and only seats under 20 guests, so booking is vital.
As soon as we took our coats off, water was bought over and we ordered a bottle of wine which came in minutes served on ice. Once we had ordered our dishes (we ordered a lot, and it took a while to decide but the waitress wasn’t pushy)
We were presented with homemade dark rye bread rolls, which came with marmite butter; was the nicest combination, so much so we asked for more.
When you order, they tell you that the chef will decide which dishes he wants to send out to the table first so that he can make the tasting experience work as best as possible. Each dish came out one by one, in the middle of the table, with sharing plates. The first dish was the grey mullet, red pepper and mussels. The fish was cooked perfectly with a crispy skin and crunchy seasoning, it was sitting on a bed of red pepper puree, pepper and herb oil and steamed mussels.
After a short break and some chilled wine, the next dish arrived – this was the asparagus, grapefruit and brown butter. I couldn’t shut up about how tasty this was, the asparagus was al dente and salty surrounded but a caramalised butter crumb which gave amazing texture but the crowning glory had to be the pool of rich hollandaise next to it – beautiful!
Following this, came the jerk trout, avocado and pineapple. Usually I order spicy food and don’t feel the heat, and end up being disappointing but this had a real kick! The fish was served as a ceviche with the spiced pasted around the fillet, blobs of avocado puree, red chilies and pineapple cubes. Was full of flavour, didn’t want to share it with Billy!
Next was another of the vegetable dishes, the pressed potato, parsley and baby gem; again the title of the dish allows for a little surprise once it arrives. This came as a stack of potato, crispy, full of leeks and butter served with a grilled gem lettuce and herb puree. I loved the contrast between the bitter lettuce and almost creamy potato.
Lastly from the savoury dishes to some to the table was; cauliflower, pangritata and grape. Beautifully roasted vegetables, against the sweet dried fruit.
We were SO full but had to try out the desserts. I chose the rum bear, which was a grown up giant gummy bear full of alcohol and sour with sherbet – so nice! Billy had chosen a ridiculously huge coffee, caramel and chocolate dessert with malted ice cream and so many textures I had to steal some. Overall, 64 Degrees was one of the most down to earth and relaxed places to eat, some of the most experimental and delicious food which makes the most of minimal ingredients. Ten out of ten.
The next morning, before we drove back home, we had to grab an ice cream and take a nap on the beach. We tried some lovely favours from Boho Geleto – Vegan custard cream and salted caramel.