64 Degrees, restaurant review: Small plates, big ideas at Michael Bremner's Brighton venture

64 Degrees, 53 Meeting House Lane, Brighton Tel: 01273 770 115

I'm thinking of rebranding my kitchen table. The wonky Bargain Corner number will be replaced with a counter at which guests (my husband and teenage children) can sit and watch me make their dinner. It won't include putting a microherb garnish on top of a cumin-infused cube of monkfish, but apart from that…

Visible chefs have been with us for an age, of course, but with the grumbling about Chiltern Firehouse's kitchen-facing counter (is it the hot seat or social Siberia?) and speculation about the Duchess of Cambridge's two kitchens, chefs' tables are back on the, er, table.

Anyway. At 64 Degrees in Brighton, chef/owner Michael Bremner's team is at the centre, as the kitchen is a large percentage of the space. It's a sliver of a place, open since October, tucked away in the Lanes and as different as can be from the tourist traps and discount-beer man-caves around it.

That's not to say it's entirely comfortable. You can either perch on a stool at the counter, or on a wooden cube at one of the four small, rough-wood tables. Then there's the music, which is L-O-U-D. This might suit chef and the Brighton blowhards – many of whom are in this Tuesday night, bellowing about property deals and wearing sunglasses indoors – but I'm finding it difficult to concentrate.

The four-meat, four-fish, four-veg menu doesn't take long to read, to be fair. 64 Degrees wants to showcase the quality of its produce and the technical skill of its small team with its sharing-plate menu. We order six dishes, two from each section, to do just that.

First up, an amuse-bouche – a chicken heart in a potato spiral case with pomegranates. This sets a rather thrilling tone: the food here will be brave. Next, scallops with miso, lemon grass and land cress, which is splendid: plumped, burnished beauties slicked with an intense, savoury gloss. Sea bream with samphire, granola and parsley is no oil painting (someone describes it on Instagram as looking like a squashed chameleon) but it's full of flavour – muted samphire adds tang and an earthy granola with crushed pumpkin and sunflower seeds balances but doesn't nuke the fish.

We move on to veg. Firm asparagus with some moussey hollandaise and crushed hazelnuts is a bit scrappy, but I like this addition of nuts hither and thither. Then a "house egg, cucumber, goat's cheese", which, according to my notes, is "bogging". It is the least successful dish – I suppose the kitchen wanted to showcase how to deep-fry cucumber chunks (why?) and the slow-cooked egg is no worse than any other I've had of this slimy flavour-of-the-month, but there's a troubling oily/watery dampness to the plate.

A sidenote: we've had the same cutlery and plates throughout. And when Mr M placed his plate on a finished dish, the waitress carefully took it off and put back on the table, with its now-dirty base. This lackadaisical approach should be fixed, assuming it's not a one-off.

Yet all is redeemed by "meat". Out come very tender, faintly Asian discs of pork with crushed walnuts, pickled and baby carrots and sweet, smooth sweetcorn purée; walnut crumbs add texture. It looks adorable, all pastel shades, and is harmonious to eat, a chef's fine balancing act to allow the pork's delicate flavour through the bells and whistles.

Then comes the show stopper.

"Short rib, Yukon, shallot, greens". The brevity of the name is a sin. It's beef that has been lovingly attended to over many hours, mash that elevates the potato to hero status, an almost caramelised giant of a shallot with its sting softened by earlier braising, perhaps, and a tangle of shredded cabbage. The last of this is a tad dull, but it does suit the meat-and-two-vegness. I could have eaten just the scallops (£9.25) and this (£12.50) and been utterly satisfied.

A dotty "textures of chocolate" thing follows. There's a cup of hot chocolate with parfait wodge inside, a plate with crunchier crumbles, a dark-choc truffle cube and wobbly white-choc quenelle – all scintillating if you're eating sugar (I'm not). Mr M nibbles some of the nubbins but that's all.

Small plates, big ideas. Not all work, but the journey through 64 Degree's imagination is not unlike walking round the Lanes – worth it to discover some treasures. Stop press: just heard Bremner will open a second restaurant in London later this year…

8/10

64 Degrees, 53 Meeting House Lane, Brighton Tel: 01273 770 115. £80 for two, with drinks

Four more foodie notes from the week

MeatLiquor

New-menu tasting at burger paradise (tough job!). Terrific spicy lamb chops, bourbon onion snacks, boozy trifle and lots more.

Grange St Paul's

The IoS held a party at this venue and the canapés – sushi, wontons and more – were fantastic (not always true of hotel snacks).

Hawksmoor

It's not cheap, but the steak at the newest (Knightsbridge) branch is worth it. Plus, a generous, delicious crab salad.

Diana Henry

Devouring her new book, A Change of Appetite, full of summer inspiration – healthy definitely doesn't mean worthy.

News
Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
people
News
Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
News
Actor Burt Reynolds last year
people
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager - Bristol

    £31000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the UK, the major project fo...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Executive - Meetings & Events (MICE) - £40,000 OTE

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you a high achieving...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Account Executive - Hotel Reservation Software - £40,000 OTE

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: A rapidly growing Hotel ...

    Recruitment Genius: Tyre Technician / Mechanic

    £15000 - £16800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Tyre Technician / Mechanic is...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game