Tuesday, 15 May 2018

6 Secret Restaurants in Brighton

Seeing as I'm partial to hunting out little-known places and have written a Secret Brighton guidebook (out soon I promise!), this post is well overdue. So, here are six secret restaurants
in Brighton I highly recommend for your next clandestine catch up...

1. Cosy cafe above a bohemian home design shop

People come to Brighton just to visit the iGiGi General Store, a beautiful design shop filled with rustic curios. Get too distracted by it all, though, and you'll miss the tasty secret hiding upstairs – a light and airy cafe open for a delicious breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. The coffee is great and all the food homemade to order (try the dippy eggs or granola for breakfast and homemade fishcakes for lunch, yum!).

Find the iGiGi cafe above the iGiGi General Store at 31 Western Road.

2. A Thai cafe inside a supermarket

It might look like an ordinary Thai supermarket on a busy main street in Brighton and Hove, but the Unithai Oriental Market is actually hiding a secret no-frills Thai restaurant out back – seriously you feel like you've walked into someone's home in Thailand. The service is fast and no-nonsense and the food absolutely delicious (my favourites are the pad Thai, chicken with ginger and mushrooms, Massaman curry and morning glory stir fried in garlic, er basically everything!). It's also BYO so come prepared with your favourite cheap wine or maybe even a Brighton Gin!

Find Unithai at 10 Church Road, Hove. 

3. Cocktails in a smugglers' tunnel

Hidden underneath Brighton's oldest hotel, The Old Ship, is the setting for a clandestine cocktail party, wine tasting session or candlelit dinner. Known as the Cellar Bar and Dining Room, this subterranean venue is located in what is thought to have once been used by smugglers' tunnel. It's mostly used for private events, but occasionally opens to the public as the Cellar Cocktail Bar, details of which it posts on its Facebook page. 

Find the Old Ship Hotel at King's Road.

4. Japanese food above an oriental market

It's easy to miss the doorway to this Japanese restaurant above the Yum Yum Oriental Market on Sydney Street in the North Laine. Go in and head up the stairs and you'll find a spacious canteen-style noodle house and open kitchen. It’s old fashioned in its décor, but that adds to its charm. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for lunch and dinner it serves up the most amazing steaming hot big bowls of ramen, as well as delicious sushi and dumplings.

Find E Kagen Japanese Noodle House inside Yum Yum at 22-23 Sydney Street. 

5. 'Fine dining' in a college restaurant

This could well be Brighton's best-kept secret restaurant – seriously, I only just found out about it despite living here for 15 years! Hidden inside the Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, The Gallery Restaurant serves inexpensive bistro lunches and creative 'fine dining' dishes for dinner, all cooked and served by students training to be chefs and learning the front of house ropes. They also collaborate with some of Brighton's best restaurants, like Isaac AT, to name a few. 

Find The Gallery Restaurant inside Greater Brighton Metropolitan College at Whitecross Street.

6. Dinner in an 'abandoned' deli

Hidden in plain sight in Preston Circus is this mysterious restaurant which I've just decided to name 'Brighton's mysterious secret restaurant'. You only really hear about it from word of mouth - you don't easily notice it if you walk past since the restaurant has a kind of 'closed down' look about it, plus it's not open during the day. But… come Friday and Saturday nights, it throws open its blinds and comes to life as one of Brighton's most romantic restaurants serving up delicious and inexpensive platefuls of homemade Sicilian food

Find Mediterraneo Deli at 2 Clyde Road. 

More places to eat in Brighton: 9 tiny romantic restaurants, a secret cocktail bar, Brighton's most Instagrammable restaurants and honest food gems.

(Old Ship Hotel wine cellar photos by Emma Croman)

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