Smart modern cooking with tip-top local ingredients and an intriguing drinks list are the key draws at this south-coast star
On the site of a former curry house – apparently the ticket machine was still spewing out takeaway orders the day chef-patron Steven Edwards got the keys – Etch is an ambitious tasting menu-only restaurant and one of the leading lights of Brighton & Hove’s increasingly vaunted food and drink scene.
A small space with a bar and a fully open kitchen down one side, Etch has a modern look and feel with its modish dark blue walls that make the brightly upholstered seating and modern art pop.
Edwards is the winner of the 2013 series of Masterchef: The Professionals and has been cooking for a living since he was 16 (most notably at Horsham hotel South Lodge). His considerable experience is evident throughout the operation. The place may have a stripped back and relaxed feel but it runs like clockwork with Edwards a regular presence at the pass.
Edwards has taken the trend for brief menu descriptions to the extreme with dishes including ‘crab, squid’; and ‘coffee, goat’s milk’. While diners can’t normally work out exactly what they’re going to get, they’re guaranteed smart modern cooking based on tip-top local ingredients. While you’d struggle to find an ambitious restaurant in the locale that doesn’t claim to be a tireless champion of local produce, Edwards follows through with pretty much every named ingredient on his weekly-changing menu sourced from nearby.
As well as offering a short but well thought-out wine list, the bar team is unusually inventive, its most recent creation being Marmite-infused sherry.