Meet Restaurants Brighton Reviewer & Writer: Emma Pryke
Beginning my first part-time job in an Italian restaurant at the tender age of 15 opened my eyes to the weird and wonderful world of the hospitality industry.
Working alongside Italians for two years taught me a lot about food, wine, Italian expletives and extravagant hand gestures. It was bags of fun and inspired me to head off to university to study International Hospitality Management with the view to run my own restaurant one day in the future.
During those three years I worked in kitchens, bars, as a waitress in a pub and a fine dining restaurant, and a pot washer. I studied the science of wine, cocktails, and visited local Sussex vineyards in the name of ‘research’.
After graduating I managed a deli in Hove and then moved on to working for the Jamie Oliver group at their cookery school/café venture in Brighton and London before taking a complete career switch into marketing within the Travel Industry. I now am freelance, writing content about all sorts of topics, including food and restaurants in Brighton!
I’m lucky to live in one of the best cities in the UK for eating out, and it’s exciting to see so many new ventures pop up alongside the golden oldies.
Favourite restaurant in Brighton?
It’s a tough choice, but I’d have to say Bincho Yakitori in Preston Street.
I first visited Bincho at their flagship venue in Soho and was thrilled when they opened in Brighton. The menu is centred around the traditional Yakatori joints in Japan where grilled meat and fish is cooked on bamboo skewers over a flaming hot grill fired by charcoal.
I love sitting at the counter and watching the chefs work through the many orders with super-cool efficiency!
Can I have a favourite dining pub too? It would most certainly be the Lion and Lobster, tucked away on Sillwood St.
It’s my all-time favourite winter destination – their coq au vin is my perfect comfort food.
Which is your favourite genre of cuisine and why?
Italian or Thai, Italian or Thai… Ok ok I’m going Italian. Proper Italian, with glugs of olive oil, piles of prosciutto and a glass of Gavi to boot.
On my latest trip to Italy I took the phrase ‘when in Rome’ perhaps a little too literally and started a prosecco breakfast ritual, which sadly did not continue back in the UK.
My favourite Italian spot in Brighton? It’s got to be Cin Cin.
What’s important to you when you visit a restaurant?
Service – I can forgive a lot of restaurant sins, but bad service is not one of them. Working in a small country hotel in the US opened my eyes to what great restaurant service should be, and what an art it is to be a talented waiter or host.
A friendly welcome, taking a few minutes to chat at the table and clearing plates promptly will please me no end!
What has inspired you to become a food reviewer?
I was lucky enough to be pals with some veteran Restaurants Brighton reviewers, who kindly invited me to come along to a couple of restaurants that they were going to check out.
It quickly dawned on me that joining the Restaurants Brighton team would be a great opportunity to combine two of my passions, food and writing! I feel that working in the industry for almost a decade has given me a good idea of what makes a great dining experience and I really respect the hard work and training that goes into producing beautiful food and great service.