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Fab food newsflash

Three major foodie happenings in Sussex and nearby with pop-ups, discounted menus and a famous London restaurant heading South

Well here’s one consolation for the end of summer, scoffing season is upon us! The restaurants and pop-ups know comfort eating is back and they are welcoming those of us who’ve been off having picnics and beach barbecues back into the fold. Here are three exciting ways to fill your plate coming up.


Lewes OctoberFest: 15 Sept – 8 Oct 

Despite the name, this starts mid Sept and there are all sorts of creative eating and learning experiences involved. Here are a few of the highlights I’ve picked out.

Depot Cinema has a Spaghetti Western Bonanza on Sun 17 Sept with screenings of Shane and a Fistful of Dollars accompanied by spaghetti dishes on the menu. On Wed 20 Sept its Houmous & Mint Tea evening will team Arab food, film and live music.  There’s more Arabic food at the atmospheric sounding Middle Eastern Feast meze by candlelight in Southover Church on Sat 7 Oct.

A host of exciting pop-up suppers include A Taste of Italy in Seaford on Sat 16 Sept and Sat 7 Oct;  and retro food, music and pina coladas food inspired by the disco era at the DishCo pop-up above Cliffe on Fri 29 and Sat 30 Sept.

Learn how to make sourdough bread on Sat 16 Sept at Lewes Community Kitchen. Enjoy a cookery demonstration and Feast from the Farm with home-reared meat at Bluebell Farmhouse Kitchen in Arlington. Drop in with children to cook cakes and brew tea over the fire at the Secret Woodland Cafe on Railway Land on Sat 30 Sept and learn some Thai Vegetarian Cookery on Thurs 28 Sept or North Indian Cookery on Thurs 5 Oct at Lewes Community Kitchen.

Among pubs and restaurants, Pelham Arms is having a Burgerfest and hosting a Plumpton Estate wine pairing, the Rights of Man is having a seafood festival and the King’s Head has a Caribbean feast with Reggae music.

Something to wash it all down? Sussex wine, gin and soft drink producers are gathering for the inaugral Sussex Gin & Fizz Festival in Southover Grange Gardens on Sat 30 Sept and you can get your own apples pressed into juice at Linklater pavilion on the Railway Land Sat 23 and Sun 24 Sept.

See the full line up at or grab a programme around town.


Ocotber Best, Brighton & Hove,  1 – 15 Oct

Another pun on Oktoberfest and this time it’s courtesy of Brighton and Hove where 20 of the city’s top restaurants are doing special deals and tasting menus. It’s a great time to try a new place, especially one of those usually up the treat end pricewise – No need to wait for your birthday!


Some faves of mine are taking part like Plateau (which I first discovered through October Best last year) Curry Leaf Cafe, The Set and Fatto a Mano and lots I’ve been dying to try but always seem to rock up to when they’re booked out (planning Debbie, planning…) like Cin Cin and Urchin.

Among highlights of this year’s October Best are Michael Bremner’s Great British Menu-winning dish ‘The Grass is Greener’ with a glass of Phantom red wine at 64 Degrees and a three-course menu with the likes of braised Ox cheek or roasted chestnuts and ricotta dumplings plus three matching wines at Fourth & Church. Or, skip straight to pudding at Isaac At where you can down two Brighton Gin cocktails and three Sussex-inspired desserts.

Most of the special menus, including the three above are £20 per person but there are restrictions on days of the week or times of day the deal is available so do read the small print and book ahead.

See the full line up at


The Ivy, Tunbridge Wells – opening November! 

I walked past the Ivy often when I lived in London and there was always a gaggle of paparazzi outside. The restaurant is best known for its famous clientele and for serving up simple quality comfort food. I remember some heavenly profiteroles with their own jug of chocolate sauce when I ate there myself (in a function room so I couldn’t rubberneck the celebs, pah). Now, the winning formula is coming just over the border to Tunbridge Wells and Ali at Muddy Kent has her ear to the ground on this one.  

The Ivy Royal Tunbridge Wells is opening this November – with the glamour of the original but an all-day casual dining concept serving meals from breakfast to dinner, including afternoon tea and light snacks. 

Above is an artist’s impression they’ve released of what it will look like inside. It’s set to move in to what was Jamie’s Italian on the High Street, a few minutes walk from the famous Pantiles.  The new restaurant will have space for 105 covers plus a bar serving up cocktails and Parisian-style alfresco seating for guests to enjoy throughout the year. 

The kitchen, overseen by executive chef Sean Burbidge, will serve modern British classics including the Ivy’s famous shepherd’s pie, eggs Benedict, brioche crumbled chicken Milanese and strawberry ice cream sundae with meringue and shortbread.

Get poised to book, before the celebs corner this one

Live Eastbourne way? Check out my recent post on Lerato’s African supper clubs and cooking lessons – there are several coming up. 

Find more ideas here

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