From ruling the waves to running a Brunch Empire

When owner Tony Marks, Juice FM DJ, decided to change careers, he sat down and asked himself “what am I good at?”

The answer he came up with was, quite simply, “brunch”.

He wasn’t wrong.

Owner, Tony at Starfish and Coffee, Brighton

If you want proof, head over to his new venue, Starfish & Coffee, named after the 1987 Prince song.

Perched on the corner of Queen’s Park road, and directly opposite the entrance to the park itself, Starfish & Coffee is far enough away from the main Kemptown drag to feel quiet and independent, but close enough to make it a fantastic breakfast or brunch option if you’re in the area.

Exterior at Starfish and Coffee, Brighton

The menu is simple and delicious, with an emphasis on good quality local ingredients.

Tried and tested

There are a few little variations on classic brunch and breakfast items (I’ll get onto the chorizo eggs benedict shortly), but the general theme seems to be tried and tested combinations, executed with obvious passion and skill.

Menu at Starfish and Coffee, Brighton

The space inside is light, bright and airy. And just like the food, the décor has a local theme, with all the fixtures and fittings installed by tradespeople from the area. Even the contemporary illustrative mural (based on the chorus of the aforementioned Prince track) was created by a local artist.

As for the food itself, the focus on local Sussex produce in no way detracts from the choice or the quality.

The chorizo eggs benedict were delicious – the hollandaise had just the right ping of acidity and was beautifully balanced by the saltiness and mild spice of the meat. The eggs themselves were perfectly poached, allowing the yolks to ooze delightfully onto the rest of the dish.

Chorizo benedict at Starfish and Coffee, Brighton

Fantastic vegetarian options

My wife, a vegetarian, went for the veggie full English – though there were plenty more options for her to choose from, had she fancied something else – including smashed avocado on toast, granola trifle and pancakes (more of that in a moment).

Vegetarian breakfasts can be a disappointing affair if not given due attention. But at Starfish & Coffee you get the impression they care every bit as much about their veggie options as they do about anything else – and rightly so. Every element on the plate tasted great in isolation, and came together to create a satisfying brunch that I’d challenge anyone – veggie or full-blown carnivore – not to enjoy.

Vegetarian Brunch at Starfish and Coffee, Brighton

Usually when reviewing, we have three courses to get through, so as this particular venue focuses solely on brunch, we thought it a little rude not to try something else– not because we’re greedy, you understand – just for the sake of accurate representation.

Triple stacked pancakes

We decided on the pancake stack with Nutella, bananas and blueberries. Some might say you can’t go too far wrong with pancakes, but I’ve had some pretty limp and uninteresting offerings in the past. Not so at Starfish & Coffee however – the triple stack was thick, fluffy and buttery with plenty of indulgent topping. I’m not sure you can ask for much more than that when it comes to pancakes.

Pancakes at Starfish and Coffee, Brighton

Locally roasted coffee

As well as the full brunch menu and some well-thought-out kids’ options, there’s also a good range of pastries, a smoothie menu, some interesting soft drink choices, loose leaf teas and caffeine fixes from Coffee at 33 – one of Brighton’s best-loved and tastiest roasteries.

Pastries at Starfish and Coffee, Brighton

There’s very little to groan about here. It’s feel-good food, simply but brilliantly executed and served up with a smile and plenty of charm. Highly recommended for breakfast or brunch if you’re in the Hanover or Kemptown area – and with £1 an hour parking nearby, worth a trip from further afield, too.

See the listing for Starfish and Coffee Brighton