Brighton is our happy place. We find ourselves mooching through the lanes whenever we have a birthday to celebrate or an anniversary to acknowledge. It’s so easy to get to from London and it’s always charming, whatever the weather (which for us on this occasion mainly consisted of gale-force winds).
So after a blustery walk along the seafront (you just can’t beat that salty fresh air), we took shelter at 64 Degrees – something of a Brighton institution since it opened back in 2013. It’s a postage-stamp-sized restaurant with tiny tables of two nudging up against each other and a few bar stools set around the open plan kitchen. There are only 20 seats in total though, so be sure to book ahead.
The chef’s selection included seven dishes for £62 each, with almost every dish designed to be shared between two, in order of light to richest. The ‘standard’ wine pairing will set you back £36 or £50 for the prestige version.
They start by winning our trust with fluffy, herby homemade focaccia and salty whipped butter before bringing out a crown-like construction of beef tartare, dotted with seaweed salad cream, sesame and horseradish which had just the slightest whiff of a Big Mac about it. Although we’ve never enjoyed a Maccy D’s with a sparkling Sussex rose (perhaps we should try it!).
We weren’t expecting to see a deep fried red prawn with head still on to be poking out of our tacos but what a brilliantly unexpected way to present them! More dots decorated this dish, avocado this time, along with pickled red onions, coriander and chipotle and despite looking fiddly, the chef’s had done all the hard work and it was a joy to eat. A fresh medley of red & yellow tomatoes sat on top of a vibrant green courgette and basil puree – a very tangy, vinegary dish, topped with crumbs both of which were enjoyed with a full bodied Croatian white wine.
A show-stopping sculptural black crisp added height to our halibut but not much flavour (tasting slightly burnt if anything) but the buttery tarragon sauce more than made up for that. As did the crisp, dry, veltliner from Austria.
The restaurant takes its name – 64 Degrees – from the exact temperature at which the chefs sous-vide their “signature egg” – in this case, served nestled under tagliatelle, mushrooms and a decadent coating of parmesan which popped its creamy orange yolk upon contact. If only we could get our poachies so perfect.
The only dish served as an individual plate was the pink-in-the-middle strip of sirloin with a wedge of turnip and blob of aubergine puree. A heavenly chocolate olive oil ganache served with miso caramel and crumbs instead of hazelnuts (Andy’s allergic) left us in a slightly euphoric state.
We posted a few snaps of our meal on Instagram and had the most overwhelming number of people slide into our DM’s – just to tell us they loved the place. We can see why.