Remember that super-hot summer of 2018? You know, the one that went on and on and was gloriously sunny every day? Yeah, us too. But we managed to head to Brighton on that one day of biblical rain. Thankfully we were staying in the uber swish Artist Residence Hotel so used the shit weather to our advantage and basically didn’t leave our glorious room.
Situated on Regency Square, our suite (room 25 if you’re interested) overlooked the burnt down Brighton Pier (more romantic than it sounds) and British Airways i360 (essentially a lift, on steroids). We dumped our car in the car park conveniently located directly opposite and made the short dash for cover, towards the pink neon beacon. Our room wasn’t quite ready when we arrived which gave us the perfect opportunity to check out their restaurant – The Set.
Split into two sections, turn right at the bar for head chef Dan Kenny’s modern British tasting menus, offered alongside wine flights or left for sea-view wooden tables serving chilled out tapas. Being lunch we went for the latter and feasted on the likes of croquettes, griddled asparagus and creamy burrata served with shockingly green pea puree and peach slices. The black squid bun with wild garlic aioli is a must-order for seafood lovers. Breakfast isn’t included in the room rate but if you do get up early enough, this is where it will be served.
You can’t visit Brighton without a wander around the laines, rain or no rain. The North Laines gets our vote for its vintage shops full of antique furniture, clothes and obligatory selfie booth. We picked up cute prints of Havana and Copenhagen by artist Claire Leina at interiors shop Abode and browsed the record shops for new vinyl. Stop for a scoop of inventive flavoured ice cream at Brass Monkey – the honey & lavender paired with salted caramel is utterly divine.
Rain not subsiding anytime soon, we returned back to base to check out our pimping pad for the weekend. The suite we were staying in is one of just 12 rooms within Artist Residence, with each individually decorated (that would be a nice job wouldn’t it, choosing all the furniture for each room). Ours had reclaimed wooden planks as a feature wall, horse inspired artwork on the walls and of course, the pièce de résistance – a roll top tub in the bedroom (as well as a separate shower room if you need your privacy). There’s no room service as such but a fully stocked fridge should keep you going with premium snacks including rococo organic milk chocolate honeycomb crunch pieces (essentially, a posh crunchie bar) which we’d highly recommend eating in the bath for the ultimate indulgence.
Mod cons include a red Nespresso machine, mini Smeg fridge for keeping the champers cool, Dyson fan (not that we’d be needing that unfortunately), and a generous selection of Bramley bath products, which we used – liberally. The British brand uses only natural ingredients and Artist Residence had supplied full size bottles for us to scrub up with. Geranium, lavender and sweet orange bubbles for the bath and lemon, mandarin and rosemary for the hair, we were as shiny as a couple could be when we ventured out for dinner that evening. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans.
STILL raining, we get a call from SILO, the zero-waste restaurant that’s loved by critics and restaurateurs alike. It had rained SO MUCH at this point that they’d had a flood and were having to cancel all their bookings on this heaving Friday night. Eeeek! So not wanting the night to be over before it had even begun, we turned our attention to the Brighton Best Restaurant Awards top 20 list (which both The Set and Silo feature on) and found Plateau, a buzzy little wine bar with a biodynamic, organic and natural wine list. We feasted on Sardinian charcuterie and three varieties of locally caught fish, served simply to showcase the beautiful produce, alongside crispy new potatoes. If you’re into your wine, prepare to geek out. There are some real beauts on the list, and staff will happily talk through the more unusual bottles, with your budget in mind.
We’re never very good at calling it a night, but luckily we didn’t need to as back at the hotel, cocktail bar The Fix, was still in full swing. Channelling our inner pirate, we sunk a couple of rum based concoctions, mixed with seasonal ingredients before getting our shut eye.
The next morning we woke to a whole different story. The sun had come out, the sky was blue as can be and the sea front beckoned. With just enough time for another dip in the bath, we bypassed brekkie and headed straight to Russell Norman’s Polpo for lunch. Ok, so we know there’s a few in London (five actually – Chelsea, Soho, Smithfield, Notting Hill and Covent Garden) but it’s always so utterly delicious, so why not? We sat outside to soak up the new rays, making our way through little plates of Venetian snacks, washed down with Polpo Bellini’s. We honestly could not have been happier with our pea, basil and robiola arancini, or with our deep fried olives, stuffed with anchovies and lemon. They’ve even made double carbs totally acceptable, with their perfectly portioned pizzette’s (try the gorgonzola, walnut & salsa verde one) and the holiday vibe-evoking crab & chilli linguine. It really is the most joyous food.
With no time to waste we whizz around the South Laines, stocking up on our favourite scandi brands at Our Daily Edit (which stocks both Mens and Womenswear), eyd up some artwork we like at Art Republic (anything from Bonnie & Clyde if you’re buying, thanks!) and check out the seriously spruced up seafront before grabbing our bags for the short drive home.
And that my friends is how you do a smile-inducing 24-hours in Brighton.