What: A relaxed, all-day restaurant in the newly renovated arches on Brighton beach, close to the i360 observation tower. Murmur takes its name from the flocks of starlings - murmurations - that can often be seen gliding over the remains of the West Pier, which it overlooks.
Who: Murmur is Michael Bremner and Carla Grassy’s follow-up to 64 Degrees, which is a regular on Restaurant magazine’s list of the top 100 places to eat in the UK. The project is something of a homecoming for the Scottish-born Bremner, who, prior to opening 64 Degrees in Brighton’s The Lanes area, was the head chef at Due South, which was also located in the arches that run underneath King’s Road (it’s now seafood restaurant Riddle & Finns). Murmur's head chef is former 64 Degrees sous chef Josh Kitson.
The vibe: The pair clearly haven’t thrown money at the project - Tolix metal chairs, tables from the online furniture retailer Made.com - but the 40-cover space is attractive with grey walls and teal banquettes. Murmur’s straightforward interior lets the view do the talking. The restaurant is directly in front of a new installation of rusty columns salvaged from the West Pier, which are illuminated at night, and the space outside is also a gathering point for locals, not least a troupe of ghetto-blaster-wielding rollerbladers.
The food: Murmur is a potentially tricky second album for Bremner and Grassy. With its small plates, chef-chosen music playlist and laid back atmosphere 64 Degrees is Brighton & Hove’s most influential restaurant. New entrants to the city’s now booming restaurant market have borrowed ideas from the diminutive venue. To create a point of difference to their flagship and other restaurants in the city the pair have ditched small plates and gone for a traditional a la carte menu with six starters, six mains and four sweets. The food is creative but necessarily more restrained than 64 Degrees with a number of more crowd-pleasing dishes to pull in less adventurous customers. Starters are between £8 and £10 and mains range from £12.50 to £18.
On the menu: Starters include fish soup with garlic toast; short rib beef skewers with sriracha mayonnaise, dressed cucumber and walnut crumb; and fresh tagliatelle with shaved truffle, egg yolk and parmesan. Mains take in glazed ox tongue with smoked bone marrow mash, pickled shallots, parsley and rocket salad; roast cod with steamed mussels braised butter beans and a parsley and dill beurre blanc; and a market-priced fish of the day served with dressed ratte potatoes and herb salad. The dessert menu, meanwhile, includes the likes of glazed lemon tart with crème fraîche sorbet; and chocolate raspberry pudding with vanilla ice cream.
Murmur's short rib beef skewers with sriracha mayonnaise, dressed cucumber and walnut crumb
And another thing: The 64 Degrees team's plans to oversee the food at upcoming seafront pub The Bison Arms has unfortunately hit the skids. Craft beer shop Bison Beer completed a £150,000 crowdfunding campaign to open a pub on East Street but has had to hand back the cash and abandon the project due to delays apparently caused by the landlord and the site’s managing agent. Bremner and Grassy did a significant amount of development work on The Bison Arms project and may use it to open a pub in the city independently.
91-96 Kings Road Arches, Brighton, East Sussex