The pricey but amazing seaside fish restaurant worth driving from Surrey – Xenia Huntley

Imagine reflecting on the day while watching a deep orange sun disappear over the horizon with the meditative sounds of the waves moving your senses to the next level. The shimmering sea – a captivating moving image – the perfect backdrop as you sip your perfectly crisp white wine while your fresh fish is cooked to perfection.

It sounds like the narration of a daydream belonging to someone who really needs a vacation, but hasn’t been abroad for a long time. Although the description sounds more continental, in fact, you don’t even have to fly to experience it.

Recently I was told of a seafood restaurant in Brighton that was worth a visit, so I went to check if there really was a holiday vibe within an hour’s drive of Dorking.

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Murmur is a seaside restaurant in an absolutely idyllic location. Hidden under the arches of Kings Road, its outdoor seating proudly overlooks the skeletal remains of Hove’s West Pier which stands with lapping waves in a state of spectacular artistic decay.

Named after the majestic murmurs of starlings that provide awe-inspiring aerial displays in the fall, Murmur is the brainchild of award-winning chef Michael Bremner, who also owns 64 Degrees – another concept restaurant in Brighton.

Knowing that the main man had worked under chef Marco Pierre White in London, I had high expectations.

Murmur’s menu, as you might expect, has a big lean towards fish. However, there were also British classics such as rump beef and twisted vegetarian dishes such as jerk butternut squash. The menus change daily and the specialties are presented on a giant blackboard which is positioned (a little intimidating in my opinion) near your table.

What I tried:


Oysters (£3.25 each)

These arrived beautifully presented on a plate of pebbles and were an absolutely stunning example of how delicious oysters can be. Fresh, meaty and with a unique citrus pickle to drizzle – I highly recommend trying these for starters.

Dried monkfish (£11)

This deliciously dense dried monkfish almost tasted like it had been seared in citrus like sushi. The passion fruit juice and the perfectly round pruned grapes showed that the chef had not only thought about flavors, but also about texture and pairings.

Amazingly presented dried monkfish starter in Murmur, Brighton.


Catch of the Day – Plaice (£17)

This main course was a sensation with the perfect amount of crispiness around the edges. The delicate white meat was as exquisite as the fine French lace. However, the main course didn’t come with any extras, so I ordered asparagus, which at 6.50 seemed like an extravagance, although they were deliciously cooked.


Although the desserts all looked amazing, I couldn’t help glancing at the chocolate torte on the next table. I couldn’t really justify spending an extra £10 for dessert. In retrospect, this was probably a very bad idea, as the audible delight from neighboring tables was hard to ignore.

Would I go there again?

I would definitely go again, but not if I was very hungry or waiting for payday. The food was absolutely delicious but the portions were conservative and the entrees were expensive.

The super trendy polished concrete and Copenhagen style interior and beachfront location made the dining experience truly unique and memorable and the service felt friendly and genuine.

The quality of the food coming out of the small open kitchen was remarkable. I felt more like I had been invited into the open kitchen-dining room of a great chef than into a restaurant. This was perhaps due to the natural way the head chef and his waitress partner work together, seamlessly (as they did when working together at Rathfinny Vineyard in Alfriston.) Next time I’ll be sure to order dessert.

Murmurs is less than an hour’s drive from Dorking and is located on the seafront, just off the West Pier.

  • Address: Kings Road Arches, Brighton, BN1 2FN. To book, call 01273 711900.

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