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THE popular Ginger Dog serves the best pub food in the city.

That is the verdict after it won the award in the Best Food Pub category at last night's Brighton and Hove Food and Drink Awards ahead of its sister pub The Ginger Pig - which came second.

Both belong to The Gingerman Group which was founded in 1998 by chef Ben McKellar together with wife and business partner Pamela.

Their flagship is The Gingerman restaurant in Norfolk Square and they now have four venues locally including the Ginger Dog in College Place and The Ginger Pig in Hove Street.

The Ginger Dog is riding high at the moment as its head chef James Villiers has made it through to the knock-out stages of top cookery show Masterchef: The Professionals.

The food awards are the annual celebration of the very best of food and hospitality and are co-ordinated by the Brighton and Hove Food and Drink Festival team.

The public was invited to nominate their favourites in 17 categories before the top three in each section were subject to secret shopping and/or interviews.

Only businesses with a food hygiene rating of four or more were allowed through to the finals

The judges were comprised of media and business people passionate about both food and drink, and representatives from the food festival.

The awards were hosted at My Brighton hotel on Jubilee Street last night.

Festival director Nick Mosley said: "To get into the top three is a huge achievement, and every single business and individual who made the top three in each category really is at the top of their game.

"Brighton and Hove truly punches above its weight when it comes to restaurants, bars, pubs, cafés, hotels and – increasingly – food and drink production.

"Whilst we can’t lay claim to a Michelin-starred restaurant, we do have an incredibly broad range of hospitality businesses from fine dining and bistro to back street boozers and street food style outlets.

"For a city of our size, we have a hospitality sector that is unmatched in the UK, and is the envy of towns and cities across the country."

AND THE FABULOUS FOODIE WINNERS ARE... THE 2016 RESULTS IN FULL

Best food/drink producer Sponsored by Wobblegate apple juice and cider

Gold: Brighton Bier

Joint Silver: Boho Gelato

Joint Silver: Brighton Gin

Best family dining Sponsored by Whizz Bang Pop

Gold: Food for Friends

Silver: Terre à Terre

Bronze: Curry Leaf Café

Best burger Sponsored by Griffith Smith Farrington Webb LLP solicitors

Gold: Burger Brothers

Silver: Coggings & Co

Bronze: The Troll’s Pantry

Best café Sponsored by Brighton & Hove Radio Cabs 204060

Gold: Egg & Spoon

Silver: V&H Café

Bronze: Joe’s Café

Sustainable food business Sponsored by Style accountants

Gold: Infinity Foods

Silver: hiSbe

Bronze: Silo

Best food/drink shop Sponsored by Hilton Brighton Metropole

Gold: Butler’s Wine Cellar

Silver: hiSbe

Bronze: Infinity Foods

Best food pub Sponsored by Cardens accountants

Gold: The Ginger Dog

Silver: The Ginger Pig

Bronze: The Earth & Stars

Best Sunday lunch Sponsored by Yelo architects

Gold: The Earth & Stars

Silver: Breeze Brasserie

Bronze: The Basketmakers Arms

Best place to sleep Sponsored by Midnight

Gold: Artist Residence

Silver: Drakes of Brighton

Bronze: My Brighton

Best pub Sponsored by The Beer Collective

Gold: The Basketmakers Arms

Silver: The Lion & Lobster

Bronze: Brewdog

Best place to do business Sponsored by Cobb Digital

Gold: Curry Leaf Café

Silver: Artist Residence

Bronze: Hotel du Vin

Best newcomer Sponsored by Hensby Law

Gold: Egg & Spoon

Silver: Purezza

Bronze: Fourth & Church

Best international cuisine Sponsored by Baobab developments

Gold: The Chilli Pickle

Silver: Planet India

Bronze: Curry Leaf Café

Food hero Sponsored by Mayo Wynne Baxter solicitors

Gold: Kanthi Kiran Thamma, Curry Leaf Café

Silver: Henry Butler, Butler’s Wine Cellar

Bronze: Richard Humphries, Polygon Pop Up

Best cocktail bar Sponsored by Blackdown Artisan Spirits

Gold: The Cocktail Shack

Silver: The Plotting Parlour

Bronze: Twisted Lemon

Young chef of the year Sponsored by BrightonAndHoveJobs.com

Winner: Roman Mikulica, Curry Leaf Café

Runner-ups: Liam Thorpe, Terre à Terre; George Thomas, Isaac At; Rafe Po.

The Set Best restaurant Sponsored by Ridgeview Wine Estate

Gold: The Set

Silver: Terre à Terre

Bronze: Food for Friends

Special recognition Sponsored by Deliveroo:

Michael Bremner, 64 Degrees