Secure a sea-facing room at The Artist Residence and you’ll have one of the best views in town, looking out over the old pier that rises from the sea like a sculpture. Look out for the pink neon sign on Regency Square to find this quirky boutique hotel. There are 23 bedrooms, each individually decorated with bespoke artwork and decked out with Robert’s radios, mini Smeg fridges and Tunnock’s caramel bars for nostalgic snacking. Larger rooms have free-standing baths to relax in while you enjoy that view.
The breakfast menu is a concise list of the usual favourites done well but save space for lunch or dinner at The Set. The hotel’s intimate (20-seater) restaurant has a simple concept: three set, four-course menus with matching wines. In this small, somewhat rustic space, the best seats are at the pass, where you can watch the chefs work their magic.
Cooking here is solid, but has the tendency to overcomplicate dishes: mackerel with braised pig’s cheek and both pureed and spiralized summer squash works beautifully in flavour terms but the addition of pumpkin seed ‘granola’ is unnecessary. Fall-apart lamb with BBQ sweetcorn, a perfectly balanced spicy-sweet BBQ sauce and green tomato, didn’t need the cheesy croquette. Puddings are spot on, though; cereal milk, milk ice cream, homemade spelt sugar puffs is a comforting bowl that takes you back to childhood. Menus start from £32 and there are a few surprises thrown in (homemade chicken nuggets and ketchup, a bag of poshed-up sweets to take home), making it good value.
Hidden in the basement of The Artist Residence (next to the table tennis room if you’re feeling competitive), The Curious Mr Hanbury is the latest opening on Brighton’s cocktail scene. The room is small and moodily lit, with original artworks on the walls and a beautiful zinc bar counter. There’s no fixed menu – instead the team will chat to you about your spirit and flavour preferences, then create a bespoke drink. artistresidencebrighton.co.uk
Written by Sarah Kingsbury, August 2016