boti eats | etch

Located in Hove, Etch by Steven Edwards is anything but your standard British seaside restaurant.

Firstly, the restaurant serves only a five-, seven-, or nine-course tasting menu; secondly, there’s not a battered fish in sight; and thirdly, it’s headed up by one of the youngest winners of MasterChef: The Professionals, Steven Edwards.

The restaurant is housed in an old bank building and features a light-filled dining room above and intimate basement bar, Ink, below – it used to be a tattoo parlour. We’d highly recommending start or ending the meal here, to check out some of the very creative cocktails on offer.

Etch had a makeover in 2021 and its understated deep blue and orange colour palate is the perfect foil to the artwork on display.

We visited on a Sunday lunchtime and after a softener below went all-in on the epic nine-course menu. By the way, that’s nine courses plus extra snacks including parmesan biscuits and mushroom and truffle choux buns, plus THAT famous marmite brioche bread, which we’ll guarantee you’ll love, served alongside seaweed butter. It’s famous for a very good reason! Delicious as it is, though, you’ll want to pace yourself and not overindulge on the delicious bread as you’ll want to savour the rest of the courses, too.

Whilst the cooking displays serious skill, the menu doesn’t take itself too seriously, with fun takes on recognisable classics. Take, for example, the dippy eggs, a gooey duck egg yolk cooked at the optimal temperature with a couple of chips (hey, this is the seaside!) and some brioche toast soldiers served alongside it, or the cheese course with pear ice cream and petit fours of negroni-flavour chocolate skulls to end.

Other highlights in our menu (it changes monthly) included a beautiful crab salad topped with a thin onion jelly; celeriac soup that was like a bowl of warming foam, managing to be super rich yet fluffy and light at the same time; and the duck served alongside a liver parfait filled crunchy pastry shell.

Wines come from around the globe but there’s also a good selection from Blighty too, including crisp Sussex Nyetimber bubbles and some interesting natural wines from Westwell wines. With faultless dishes and amazing service from a team who have largely been there since opening in 2017 (which is clearly a testament to the way Steven runs his shop), Etch is always worth a visit. Yes, it’s expensive, but you’re paying for top-notch produce, superb skill and great service. So, if you can stretch your wallet to it, it’s well worth it for a real foodie experience or a special occasion. Prices start at £65 for five courses.

214 – 216 Church Rd, Hove, BN3 2DJ