The Set has long been one of my favourite restaurants in Brighton. As both an adventurous eater and traveller, I’ve always loved discovering unusual ingredients and new flavour combinations, then finding ways to add them to familiar dishes. Fortunately, the menu at this award-winning restaurant takes a similar approach – though chef and owner Dan Kenny’s culinary creations are obviously far more distinguished than my own.
Anyway, while I’ve dined here numerous times in the evening, I’d never been for brunch – until last weekend. As it’s situated inside the boutique Artist Residence hotel in Brighton’s Regency Square, The Set’s breakfast offering is one of the earliest in the city (starting at 8am each day and finishing at 11.30am), and therefore requires a certain level of commitment when planning a visit. However, as my dining partner and I found out this Sunday morning, not only is it absolutely possible to show up bright and early (I KNOW!), but it’s also completely worth it.
I’ll get on to the menu in a sec, but first I should mention the interiors. While The Set continuously achieves Top 5 status when it comes to quality eateries in the city, it eschews pretension in a manner that is so quintessentially Brighton, it retains a warm welcome to all who visit. Rustic in nature, the space is cosy and casual: the perfect spot to impress anyone without coming across a bit of a wanker. What’s more, it has an unparalleled view of the West Pier from the front, while the back of the restaurant benefits from a wide view of the pass (which I’ve always seen as sort of built-in entertainment when dining). Ideal, no?
We took the round table in the back room and began by ordering our coffees (supplied by Coffee@33: a favourite of mine). As we’d both worked up a bit of an appetite walking that morning, we opted for three dishes between us (an easy solution for decision anxiety): the veggie breakfast (£10.50), merguez sausage and eggs (£8), and potato cake (£8).
True to my prior experiences of The Set, all three were amazing. The homemade beans on the veggie breakfast were a pleasant surprise, their smoky barbecue flavour battering traditional Heinz. I was really happy to see Lewes’ Flint Owl Bakery supplying the bread too, which tasted sublime with pesto and avocado on top. A fried egg also took pride of place on the plate – a total win in my book, as though I do love a poached egg at brunch, sometimes it’s not quite the right dish.
While my dining companion had only compliments for the merguez sausage and eggs dish (as I likely would have too, if I ate meat), our joint favourite dish of the morning was the potato cake. Both golden and purple varieties of beetroot are served up with the centrepiece of potatoey goodness, which has an unexpected sweetness that is in turn beautifully offset by the miso mayonnaise. The walnuts delivering additional texture complete the perfect formula for a dish, which is one I would not just go back for but could probably have eaten twice in one sitting.
They call breakfast the most important meal of the day, and with dishes like these we were fully sorted for the remainder of our weekend. Between its menu, the casual rustic setting and lovely service, The Set offers a great start to the day. I don’t know about you, but I’ll definitely be going back.
The Set Veggie Breakfast, £10.50
Mushroom, slow roast tomato, spinach, avocado, halloumi, homemade beans, green pesto, fried egg, Flint Owl sourdough
Merguez Sausage and Eggs, £8
Merguez sausages, poached eggs, herb yoghurt, piquillo peppers, chilli sauce, Flint Owl sourdough
Potato Cake, £8
Potato cake, beetroot, spinach, miso mayonnaise, walnut, sesame
Coffees: Coffee@33 (americano; flat white)
The Set is at 33 Regency Square, Brighton, BN1 2GG.
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