64 Degrees: Acutely Just Right
It is faster for me to travel to Brighton than it is to East London. A mere 45 minute train ride from Clapham Junction, what’s not to love!? We’re headed to the Foodies Festival over the May Bank Holiday (more on that later), and stumble upon a few hot places to eat, drink and be merry along the way; the best of the bunch being 64 Degrees.
Located in the hard-to-swing-a-cat-in Lanes, this small place is making big waves in the Brighton foodie scene. The spotlight is on the open kitchen where Chef Patron Michael Bremner and Head Chef Sam Lambert are on a mission to produce beautifully authentic dishes. We rock up at prime time on a Saturday night and the place is rammers. We’re seated at the counter top, around which there can’t be more than 10 seats, shaggy-haired Sam gives us a big warm smile, we feel at home.
Two glasses of flat Ridgeview Fitzrovia are promptly replaced with a much more sparkly version; salmon pink in colour and delicate to taste, it’s up there with the perfect start to an evening, for me. The clipboard menu is split into three sections; meat, fish and veg respectively, and with only four options in each section, dishes are constantly changing – reason enough for me to go back again, and again. Winning.
As we chow down on the naughty umami-kicking amuse, I am whisked off my feet by the small but cleverly crafted wine list. There are some cracking options by the glass, and we are such big fans of the Castel de Bouza Albarino, that we order a bottle; what a beautiful-looking (as well as tasting) bottle it is!Most dishes can be tweaked to make gluten-free so my choice is in no way restricted. The ‘house egg’ served with tenderstem succeeds in making broccoli more moreish than you could ever imagine. Potato Knödel reminds me of a hearty dumpling dishes I’ve enjoyed in Austrian Alms; the bitter leaves are balanced by a smoked butter. Whilst it may be a tad too heavy for this time of year; I can’t fault the comforting flavours. Black bream with the crispiest skin on sharp fennel slaw is as light and satisfying as scallops with miso (not gluten free) and lemongrass are indulgent. The juiciest pork is served with beets two ways, crispy sage and crunchy walnuts. In awe, we watch Sam plate up asparagus with hollandaise foam and toasted nuts, and with eyes bigger than our tummies, we order one. He looks at us like we actually are nuts, but we just can’t resist. Then the piece de resistance (short rib baby!) lands in front of us, which is on the dry side, but upon mentioning this, it’s replaced in a few swift movements with what appears to be a totally different-looking dish. This was a first class move; short rib number two is on the money, perfected with velvety mash, crunchy chard and sweet shallots. Braised to perfection, it doesn’t get much more melt-in-your-mouth than this kids. To my disbelief, Darty is entertaining the thought of dessert! Naturally, he goes for the sickliest option, which seems to be chocolate seven ways. I manage to wangle a few tastes and must admit it is something special, although an espresso martini is more up my street for this moment in time. To cap it all off, petit fours are kicked to the curb when a jelly Care Bear arrives with the bill! If owner Michael Bremner’s mission is to create cutting-edge beautifully authentic dishes, then it’s mission accomplished, and I am already hungry for more.
Five Very Kerri things about 64 Degrees
- Small bespoke menu
- Wines to order another bottle of
- Beautifully sourced ingredients
- The genuinely charming team
- Counter top dining
P.S. Other places we dig in Brighton are Riddle & Fins, the Chilli Pickle, Plateau, Ten Green Bottles. Shout if you know somewhere else as I’ll be going back soon for more 64 Degrees action.