Place strategy

This place is contemporary, delicious and a must-visit destination for foodies

Burger by Chick Chick Crew

In just one year, Brighton’s Shelter Hall has established itself as one of the city’s must-visit destinations for foodies. Nick Mosley sits down and checks out the four new kitchens that opened this month.

With such a rich food and drink culture, it’s perhaps somewhat surprising that it’s taken until 2021 for Brighton and Hove to be on the page with the national – and international – food hall trend.

Sure, we’ve had farmers markets, more ‘street food’ restaurants than you can wave a proverbial stick at and a veritable plethora of food festivals – of varying quality and success I hasten to add – but, no doubt mainly due to a lack of vision and political navel-gazing rather than the availability of relevant and suitable spaces, the city by the sea seemed to have missed the food hall boat.

Fortunately, the entrepreneurial team at Sessions Markets saw the potential in the rebuilt Victorian Shelter Hall at the bottom of West Street and a year ago a whole new dynamic of food, drink and social joined Brighton’s hospitality range .

Thankfully, it hasn’t been a whirlwind ‘concept’ like so many other companies who think they know the Brighton market, but unfortunately find they’re somewhat off the mark when reality finally hits.

Shelter Hall looks effortlessly laid-back and sleazy, but it’s clear that a tremendous amount of thought and strategic planning has gone into every element of the design and day-to-day delivery. And it shows: reflection, effort and commitment clearly pay off.

There are seven cuisines to order, ranging from Italian and Vietnamese to decadent pastries and gourmet burgers.

On the latter, I hasten to add that while all the food is fast, it’s not your typical fast food. Chef Kenny Tutt – of renowned Masterchef and Pitch – has a new kitchen called Patty Guy and he’s spent months meticulously deconstructing the classic mid-20th century American burger to recreate what I can honestly say is epitome of perfection sassy, ​​marinated and juicy – ​​and, thankfully, not a brioche bun in sight.

Tom Samandi’s Lost Boys Chicken – which has featured in various guises in Shelter Hall’s kitchen lineup for the past year – is rocking it with its new Chick Chick Crew concept.

The Argus: a Chic Chick Crew burger

The Argus: a Chic Chick Crew burger

A Chic Chick Crew burger

Choose from perfectly cooked chicken breast and thigh burgers – or vegan alternatives – drenched in spicy sauces. It’s sloppy, it’s messy but, boy, does it hit (and my T-shirt).

By the way, that would absolutely be my definition of weekend hangover food to wipe out all the cobwebs.

My dining partner was particularly taken with new Korean cuisine Tiger and Rabbit from East London chef Jay Morjaria, whose culinary star is most certainly on the rise at the moment.

I have to admit that Korean food is one of my favorites. Although it plays second fiddle to so many other Asian countries, it is packed with mind-blowing ferments and spices.

Morjaria’s Shelter Hall concept kitchen certainly does not disappoint. Our Korean BBQ Chicken Bowl is packed with so many goodies – succulent meat, fried rice, veggie kimchi – that I think sublime is the only proper word to use.

The fourth new kitchen is Sear by Salt Shed, an open fire concept created by former University of Sussex students Frank Sweeney and Laurence Stevens, who have developed their unique style in London in recent years and are now happily back in Brighton.

The Argus: Prawns pil pil

The Argus: Prawns pil pil

King prawns with pil pil

I think these guys really take the idea of ​​street food to a whole new level. The pil pil grilled king prawns with garlic, citrus and chorizo, and the melt-in-the-mouth flank steak could easily accompany dishes at twice the price in some of Brighton’s top restaurants.

With the cost of living crisis looming on all of our minds, with all of the kitchen deals above, you can be more than full for around £10-12 plus drinks. Obviously, you can spend more, but a decent quality and filling lunch or dinner can be had for a very affordable price.

What’s striking about Shelter Hall is that it effortlessly does everything for everyone while connecting to guests as individuals – it’s service perfection.

Outside on the terrace, tourists soaked up the early evening sun over beers and snacks, parents kept their children quiet with an insanely delicious Nutella pizza from Amalfi’s kitchen on the table next to us, an elderly couple was enjoying coffee and pies with their dog dozing happily on the floor and throughout the room, millennials were quietly grazing and using the space to catch up with work, friends and social media.

In the meantime, we stuffed our faces and enjoyed some good old-fashioned catch-up on all things Brighton and Hove.

Shelter Hall is contemporary, delicious, and sharper in terms of offerings, prices, and customer experience than most restaurants in town.

For informal and affordable dining that’s fun and engaging, Shelter Hall is Brighton’s go-to.