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There’s no brunch like Arcobaleno 

Somewhere over the rainbow, or perhaps just over the Old Steine depending on where you’re visiting from, you’ll find Arcobaleno (the Italian word for rainbow). Tucked in the heart of Kemptown village, this LGBTQ+ café, a gay bar and events space does a little bit of everything. So, if you’ve recently found yourself wondering where you can get brunch, 241 burgers and chess (the classic duo), Sunday Roasts, line dancing, tequila tasting (put 26 March in your diary) and hire a slick space downstairs for a private party, look no further. 

exterior shot of Arcobaleno

Home away from home

It seems rather fitting that my plus one on this occasion was my mom, because we were immediately greeted by the Arcobaleno family on arrival. The restaurant prides itself on its inclusivity and sense of community and, just from the short time we spent there, this was clear. Whether they were talking us through the menu and where their fresh, delicious ingredients are sourced, or chatting about the events, specials and activities on offer almost every day of the week, we felt like we’d been welcomed into a family home – in the best possible way. 

interior shot of the Arcobalno Brighton, people sitting in the venue enjoying their food and drinks

The outside area was not of interest just yet, as it doesn’t seem like the weather knows winter is supposed to be wrapping up, but I can’t wait to sit in their spacious garden with an Aperol in hand and a Maltese platter within reach. 

Home is where the coffee is

On a mission to see whether Maltese-inspired brunch is as good as it sounds (spoiler: it is), my mom and I ordered some coffee and suffered through the particularly difficult process of choosing what we wanted to eat. A friend (who lives really nearby) also joined us for a coffee and was blown away that this little gem was right on her doorstep the whole time! A new regular, no doubt. 

three flat white coffees on the colourful table at Arcobaleno

From the skillet

The daytime menu is served from Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 4pm and boasts a dozen incredible Maltese-inspired dishes. We decided it was only good and proper to go for one savoury, one sweet. For the former, we opted for the Maltese hash which came with Maltese sausage, new potato, poached egg, mixed Mediterranean vegetables and garlic yogurt in a tomato sauce (seasoned excellently), served with sourdough toast.

over head shot of the Arcobaleno brunch ordered by Megan

You know something’s good when you’re frantically calling someone over to ask them exactly what Maltese sausage is… and how I can ensure I eat them forever?! The answer is that this is a traditional family recipe. The team at Arcobaleno have them made specially by their butcher (the recipe shared in an envelope marked Top Secret, I hope). I’m obsessed. The garlic yoghurt gets its own sentence because it was an utterly essential element which tied the whole dish together with a burst of creamy, garlicky goodness.

… and the sweet spot

“Balance is key”, I tell myself repeatedly while eating a sugary mouthful of sugar-dusted French toast straight after a bite of yolk-dunked Maltese sausage on sourdough. Served with berries, banana, and Maltese honey, this is another winning order (though I strongly suspect you can’t go too wrong). 

over head shot of the Arcobaleno brunch, including French toast with raspberry jam and vanilla ice cream. Arco brunch

Every mouthful, featuring a lil bit o’ everything, was perfectly balanced with sweetness, freshness and tanginess. We felt the prices were very reasonable given the quality and generous portions.

The ones that got away

It seems a shame not to mention some other menu items that looked like they’d be totally delicious if only I had a second stomach, so consider this paragraph the “forthcoming attractions”. When I go back for brunch, I’ll be having the Maltese honey-marinated pork shoulder and the Agave-marinated smoked tofu, both served with Greek or vegan yoghurt respectively, mint, red pepper hummus, cherry tomatoes, chives, cucumber, lemon, piadina flatbread, oregano and couscous.

Megan and her friend enjoying their coffees at Arcobaleno. No Brunch like Arco

When I go back for dinner, I’ll be having the Maltese platter (no surprises, it has Maltese sausage on it) and their rainbow fries topped with peppers, cheese fondue, jalapeño, pickled red onion and pickled red cabbage. 

It’s Happy Hour somewhere

At about 11.59am (and a half), we decided that another coffee was not going to cut it. Or at least, not coffee without vodka. So out came a classic Espresso Martini (I was too afraid to order the banana liqueur one but trust me when I say I regret it in retrospect). Despite going for one from the classic cocktail list, instead of Arcobaleno’s “Iconic” cocktail list, we did order a shot of Bajtra, a Maltese digestif made from the prickly pear cactus. I now have it on good authority that Arcobaleno is the only place in the city where you’ll be able to enjoy this delicious, fruity liqueur (which you might’ve already guessed, I strongly suggest you do). 

espresso martini cocktail served on colorful table at Arcobaleno. Arco Brunch blog

“Happy” is possibly the best word to describe the Arcobaleno experience, but you don’t need to take my word for it, you can find out for yourself. It’s right there waiting for you.

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Getting there
Map for Arcobaleno Brighton
120 St George's Rd, Kemptown, Brighton BN2 1EA
Disabled access and wheelchair accessible toilet
Opening Hours

Monday Closed

Tuesday 9:00am11:00pm

Wednesday 9:00am11:00pm

Thursday 9:00am11:00pm

Friday 9:00am12:00am

Saturday 9:00am12:00am

Sunday 11:00am10:00pm