A NEW restaurant offering fresh local produce and "chef takeover" evenings has opened at Brighton Marina.

Taste Sussex opened for the first time yesterday in the Boardwalk, in the building which previously housed Frankie and Benny’s.

The chain's marina restaurant was among the 125 sites to close across the UK last year in a bid to cut costs amid Covid-19.

Chef Phil Bartley, who opened the Great British Charcuterie shop and cafe at the marina in 2016 and already runs four kitchens at pubs in Brighton, said he was excited to be launching a restaurant with business partner Steve Pineau.

Phil said: "We thought it would be fun to do a take on branded restaurants.

The Argus: Taste Sussex has opened in the Boardwalk at Brighton MarinaTaste Sussex has opened in the Boardwalk at Brighton Marina

"We want to keep the feel of a branded restaurant but spin the food a bit.

"Our job is to almost make the menu read what you would expect at a chain restaurant but elevate the food to a whole new level.

"Our goal is to work with all the local suppliers and farms to create top-notch delicious food but in the style of a branded restaurant.

"There will be no microwaves or frozen food.”

Taste Sussex will source all ingredients locally from farms through Brighton Food Factory, including tomatoes from Nutbourne Nurseries, salad from Fletching Little Nurseries and all potatoes from the Sussex-Kent border.

Also on the menu will be fresh, sustainably sourced a line caught fish.

The restaurant will be running cheese and charcuterie evenings and with guest chef takeovers, when "big name" chefs from the area will take over the kitchen and produce their own style of food.

The Argus: Chef Phil BartleyChef Phil Bartley

Menus will be released early so customers can take full advantage of sampling their favourite chef’s food.

Phil, who started his career in food at Brighton’s Metropole when he was just 14 doing work experience as a kitchen assistant, said he is delighted to at last be opening his own restaurant

He was previously head chef at Richards in Western Road for four years and also worked as a chef in Worthing at the age of 19.

Phil said: “For me personally I reached the point where I wanted a business but I did not have enough money to open my own restaurant.

"There was an offer of a franchise with the Golden Lion Group at The Cricketers Pub in Brighton, and after six months they offered me the opportunity to take over the kitchen at Hove Place - and I haven’t looked back.

The Argus: The team at Taste SussexThe team at Taste Sussex

"I am so excited to at last be opening my own restaurant at Brighton Marina, which is a fantastic location right on the Boardwalk.”

Due to Covid-19, Taste Sussex will not operate at full capacity initially and there is plenty of outdoor seating.

Kirsty Pollard, centre manager for Brighton Marina said: "Phil is a well-known figure at the marina, having set up The Great British Charcuterie here in 2016.

"The business was so successful it recently expanded exponentially, moving into larger premises.

"With many challenges faced by businesses during the pandemic, it is fantastic working on a new project.

"We can’t wait for Taste Sussex to open their doors on the Boardwalk."