Review: The Set, Brighton

Earlier this month I ventured over to Regency Square to go and FINALLY check out The Set, one of Brighton’s favourite new openings. Tucked away and housed within the eccentric Artist Residence, The Set (and Set of Scales, the more casual daytime dining venue located at the front of the building) looks down past the Fringe Festival’s Roundabout and onto the iconic West Pier.

Ps. It would be rude not to mention their glorious neighbours, The Cocktail Shack but these guys deserve a separate mention elsewhere on the blog (soon to follow).

You feel as though you’re entering someone’s home. The friendly and knowledgeable team of waiters and waitresses are dressed in cool and casual overalls, each one totally clued up about wine choices and food recommendations. Like a lot of new venues popping up in London and now Brighton, The Set has an industrial, laid back and modern feel to it. Dark blues, lots of wood and copper finishes with old fashioned books that open up into menus – I had John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, taking me back to my school days!

The menus are brief but innovative and full of intriguing dishes. 3 set menu options with 4 courses each, plus, a few extra surprises along the way. The chefs are on view behind the pass, seating is available here however last time we sat at a pass we became too engrossed with the cooking, pretty much incapable of making conversation with each other! The set up of the whole experience is one that encourages you to ask questions and talk about what you’ve each been presented with. It makes for a very enjoyable evening and I will gladly return to eat it all over again.

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Chef/Owner Dan Kenny at the pass, The Set.

I chose Menu 1.

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1st Course – Veg – First on the menu, the Jersey jackets. Arrived in a tin foil parcel coated with plenty of garlic butter and a smooth and creamy blue cheese, Brighton Blue to be exact. I’m not the biggest potato fan but these were so tasty I finished the lot in about a minute. Must remember to share…

 2nd Course – Fish – Next on the menu was the Mullet. Insane. Beautifully presented with bursts of flavour dotted on the plate. I was a little unsure what ‘Oats and Beer’ would be but it was a crunchy crisp that added to the dish and nice to mix up textures. I definitely lean towards fish dishes on the menu and this did not disappoint. I’d say it was my favourite course.

 3rd Course – Meat – Next comes the Oxtail. Rich flavours but not too heavy. The portions were just right and again, the surprise flavours dotted on the plate went so well together. Mr. Baskets liked this one the most from my Menu 1.

 4th Course – Sweet – Usually I’m not a sweet fan however… the malteser mousse, brown butter, banana and malt dessert was AMAZING. It was sweet and gooey, with a good amount of crunch to it and the perfect end to the meal. Any bigger and it would have been too much and too sickly but this was just the right amount. My menu definitely won on the dessert front.

Final Say

To experience such intriguing dishes and fine dining in such a non-pretentious setting is what really sells The Set in my opinion. There aren’t lots of dishes to choose from but each of their set menus give you enough flavours to keep it interesting and are in keeping with the size of the venue. Compact, personal, creative and unique.

The presentation for every dish receives top marks. I can’t complain on the quality of any of the dishes that we were served. What I haven’t mentioned yet is that before any dish arrived we were served the ultimate posh chicken nugget with homemade red cabbage sauce. I wouldn’t have known it was necessarily chicken at first as it was so tasty – it didn’t stay on the plate for long.

Price wise, for four beautiful dishes, I thought it was good value for money. My menu was £31 and wine was around the £30 mark for a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. All in all, the bill came to around £100ish for 2 diners.

I’d definitely return as they regularly change the menu and mix things up. The expectations I had of The Set beforehand were definitely met and you can see there’s a lot of love for the food and customer experience. Highly recommend for ‘date-nights’ or small groups looking for a ‘dining experience’ meal.

Merci beaucoup.

Jess – The Hunger Laine

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