THE Michelin Guide UK and Ireland 2020 has been published with 27 restaurants across Sussex featuring, writes Nick Mosley.

The guide originated in 1900 when French car tyre manufacturers Édouard and André Michelin published a guide for French motorists, providing maps alongside a listing of hotels, restaurants and car mechanics.

Despite the plethora of food guides released each year, the Michelin Guide remains the ultimate bible of the best restaurants. “In terms of recognition it’s a name that everyone relates to, whether they are a foodie or not,” said Steven Edwards of Etch in Church Road, Hove, which has retained its Michelin Plate that recognises a quality restaurant that “simply serves good food”.

Today, from Rio de Janeiro to Tokyo, Michelin continues to be the bible of culinary quality and talent. In the 1960s, famed French nouvelle cuisine chef Paul Bocuse called it “the only guide that counts” and that reputation remains with chefs and gourmet diners across the globe.

“Michelin is the accolade that means the most to a lot of chefs,” said Dan Kenny of The Set in Regency Square, Brighton, which this year achieved a Bib Gourmand recognising exceptional food at accessible prices. “The Michelin Guide has such great history and is well respected all over the world.” Michelin inspectors do not announce their presence when scoring a restaurant. The process is anonymous and the cost of the meal is paid for by Michelin. Inspectors are forbidden to disclose their participation in the grading, even to close friends and family. Final gradings are corroborated at confidential meetings of inspectors in advance of the publication of the annual guide.

“Michelin is the biggest name for sure,” said James Thomson of Wild Flor in Church Road.

“I’m not sure anyone understands exactly how or why the stars are or aren’t awarded. But the guide as a whole is to me a really good reflection of quality within specific areas, particularly as ingredient sourcing is such a high priority to Michelin so it’s nice to be highlighted accordingly as a restaurant.”

The highest acclaim available is three Michelin stars, and this year only five UK restaurants attained the accolade, led by the likes of household name chefs Gordon Ramsey, Alain Ducasse and Heston Blumenthal. Sussex has achieved a bumper year in this year’s guide, with three restaurants attaining one Michelin star including a new entry from a recently opened venue, Interlude, at Leonardslee Gardens in Lower Beeding.

The guide says of Interlude: “The team hail from South Africa but the two surprise tasting menus keep their focus firmly on the local area. Skilfully crafted dishes show good balance in their textures and flavours, and have a creative, original style.”

“The Michelin guide is very influential,” said Interlude’s head chef Jean Delport.

“Every chef aspires to a Michelin star. It is the Academy Award of the culinary world. You have to work incredibly hard and consistently to win and hold a star, so it really is an assurance of superb quality for any diner.”

Gravetye Manor retained its one star for what the guide says its use of “local and garden produce [that] informs the vibrantly flavoured, highly visual dishes”.

“The whole team benefits as it will always be on their CV,” said Gravetye’s head chef George Blogg.

“No matter what anyone’s opinions on guides are, they represent benchmarks in quality, and this improves recruitment, retention and the job satisfaction of all involved.”

Another recently opened restaurant is Wild Flor, which has achieved a Michelin Plate within its first year of opening. The guide says: “Four friends have realised their ambition at this appealingly relaxed neighbourhood restaurant. Three of them work out front and their pride is palpable. The fourth skilfully prepares dishes with great depth of flavour and an unfussy style.”

“It’s absolutely marvellous,” said Wild Flor’s co-owner James Thomson. “You get one swing at these things and if the inspector had come in and not been a fan, that would have been that. Of course it’s fantastic for the guys in the kitchen and huge for Ollie Darby – in his first head chef job – to get this recognition we know they deserve. It’s now all about staying in the guide, or looking for more going forward.” With so many food guides in the market, does the Michelin Guide genuinely deliver footfall and spend to restaurants?

“We’ve definitely had a surge in bookings since we were awarded a Bib on Friday,” said Dan Kenny of The Set. “We are hoping this continues as it is national exposure which we haven’t had before. Fingers crossed we’ll continue to get new faces in the restaurant who like what we do.”

Both Michael Bremner’s Brighton venues appear in the guide with Murmur taking a Plate, and 64 Degrees holding on to its Bib Gourmand.

“It’s amazing to have both 64 and Murmur in the guide,” said Michael. “It’s nice to be recognised for all the hard work the whole team puts in.”

Four out of the Gingerman group’s restaurants appear in the year’s guide – The Gingerman, The Ginger Pig, The Ginger Dog and The Ginger Fox. “We are really pleased to have four sites included this year’s guide,” said proprietor and executive chef Ben Mckellar.

“The Michelin guide has long been respected and valued by customers and chefs alike.”

Jeremy Ashpool runs the longest established independent restaurant in Sussex – Jeremy’s Restaurant at Borde Hill which retained a Michelin Plate – and has a professional overview of how the restaurant industry has developed in the past three decades. He said: “The county is getting stronger all the time. We have at least three excellent new establishments here on our doorstep serving terrific food. The new openings and coverage in the Michelin Guide is good for the region and makes Sussex a true dining destination.”

How they ranked


Defined by Michelin as “a very good restaurant in its category” there are three starred restaurants across Sussex.

They are: Gravetye Manor, Gravetye; Interlude, Leonardslee Gardens, Lower Beeding; Restaurant Tristan, Horsham.


These are restaurants offering “exceptionally good food at moderate prices” based on local economic standards. That means a restaurant offering a three course menu for £28 or less. There were four across Sussex - including three in Brighton.

They are: 64 Degrees, The Chilli Pickle, and The Set, in Brighton and The Cat Inn, West Hoathly;


These are restaurants rated by the inspectors as quality food and a high level of comfort.

They are: Chequers Inn, Horsham; Cin Cin, Brighton; Crab Tree, Lower Beeding; Earl of March, Chichester; Etch, Hove; The George, Burpham; The Gingerman, Brighton; The Ginger Fox, Albourne; The Ginger Pig, Hove; Isaac At, Brighton; Jeremy’s Restaurant, Borde Hill; Lickfold Inn, Lickfold; The Little Fish Market, Hove; Murmur, Brighton; Noah’s Ark Inn, Lurgashall; Parsons Table, Arundel; Queen’s Room, Amberley; Tasting Room, Alfriston; Terre à Terre, Brighton; Tom Kemble at The Pass, Lower Beeding; Town House, Arundel; Wild Flor, Hove.