FROM Rye to Arundel, the hospitality industry of East and West Sussex has had a bumper year in this year’s annual printed guide produced by Waitrose, with more entries in the 2020 book than any previous year. The city of Brighton and Hove alone has 23 entries in the renowned guide.

As one of the most influential food guides in the UK, featured restaurants in the Good Food Guide are nominated by the public then verified by a team of respected editors who then visit the most voted for to verify the results and give a final score of between one and ten. Scores represent the entire restaurant experience including both the quality of the cooking and the wider dining experience.

In Brighton and Hove, 64 Degrees, Etch and The Little Fish Market all picked up an impressive score of five each, with guide newcomers including Chard – located above the Igigi Store on Western Road in Hove – and the recently opened Flint House by the Gingerman Group in Hannington Lane.

The guide rated critically-acclaimed restaurant 64 Degrees on Meeting House Lane a five, demonstrating exact cooking techniques, balance and depth of flavour alongside a degree of ambition.

“The small-ish plates menu divides neatly into plant, marine and meat items”, writes the guide. “There’s hardly a dish that isn’t bursting with clever counterpoints of intensity”.

Michael Bremner, chef patron, was overjoyed. He said: “I’m over the moon that 64 Degrees scored a five this year in the Good Food Guide. It’s one score higher than last year”.

“It’s not something we actively push for or think about, but it’s always great to get recognition in guides such as this”.

Michael’s other restaurant Murmur – located in the seafront King’s Road Arches – received a score of three.

The guide comments about Murmur: “Casual and contemporary in looks and outlook, with a heated terrace and a kitchen that hitchhikes around the globe for ideas, picking up everything from grilled squid with kimchi and black sesame seeds to jerk squash”.

Newcomers Wild Flor, who opened on Church Road in Hove in late spring are ecstatic to be recognised by guests and the Good Food Guide in such a short time.

“We’re absolutely delighted”, said co-owner James Thomson, “We weren’t expecting to be scored so soon after opening. We’re also delighted for Chard and Flint House as fellow newcomers – the city’s food scene is looking really strong.”

Wild Flor had an impressive write-up in the guide: “The antithesis of style over substance, this newcomer on Hove’s main drag has dodged passing bandwagons to deliver a repertoire inspired by the classics that’s set to go the distance”.

The guide also gives a nod to eateries that have become staples of their local neighbourhoods. Fourth & Church on Church Road near Hove Town Hall received a particularly impressive review.

“It’s a casual space covering a lot of bases, even serving lunchtime sandwiches to savvy local workers, but it’s better known as a bottle shop and tapas restaurant. Racks of wines and spirits make for a tempting display, and a switched-on team delivers small plates made from first-rate ingredients”.

“Our inclusion in the Good Food Guide 2020 is wonderful news”, said head chef and co-owner Sam Pryor. “After nearly four years in business developing Fourth & Church into the unique Hove neighbourhood restaurant we both dreamt of, this is hugely exciting for our team and a celebration of what they have achieved. It really is perfect timing as we shortly start a refurbishment to match our social eating and drinking offering”.

Jeremy’s Restaurant near Haywards Heath also achieved a score of five. As the longest-established independent restaurateur in Sussex, Jeremy Ashpool has been in more food awards and guides than most.

The guide begins this year’s entry for Jeremy’s Restaurant with: “Jeremy Ashpool’s captivating restaurant. Overseen by head chef Jimmy Gray, the kitchen takes its cue from the seasons and makes full use of pickings from the Victorian walled garden, as well as tapping into the Sussex food network for South Downs lamb, south coast fish and local game. Expect bright, lively flavours and striking presentation”.

“We’ve been in every Good Food Guide since 1985”, said Jeremy. “Whilst it has become a little less elitist over the years, it is influential as it is based on genuine customer feedback alongside a team of serious food and drink reviewers”.

Meanwhile Flint House has been rewarded for its early success in Hanningtons Lane.

The business, run by Ben McKellar, opened in April and is already making waves in the local scene.

Ben, who already has three other restaurants in the guide, said: “It’s nice to be recognised so quickly. You always hope that will happen and it will be well received, it’s really nice to be recognised.

“It’s added to what we already do with The Gingerman group of restaurants.”

The Good Food Guide is available to buy from Waitrose, John Lewis and all good bookstores.