Little Fish Market is an independent, fine dining seafood restaurant, found in Sussex’s picturesque Hove. The brainchild of Chef Patron, Duncan Ray, the tasting menu-only restaurant has received critical acclaim for its ingredient-led, fish dishes since opening in 2013 receiving accolades such as 3 AA Rosettes, Harden’s Best Seafood Restaurant 2021 and National Restaurant Award top 100 four times.
Serving just 20 diners across Tuesday – Saturday evenings, the intimate restaurant, tucked away in a residential side street in Hove, sees Ray serve a seasonally-led, sustainable, eight-course menu, which is solely cooked by him each night. Each table receives their dishes at the same time, with the help of Ray’s talented General Manager, Nicky Hitchmough, leading to a convivial, supperclub-style atmosphere, heightened by the fact that the restaurant only offers one sitting each evening.
Ray opened Little Fish Market in 2013 following an impressive career history which includes a four year tenure at The Fat Duck. Working there between 1998 and 2002, he was part of the original, four-man brigade Heston Blumenthal curated, who worked towards The Fat Duck’s second Michelin star, before leaving to become Head Chef at Pennyhill Park. Following his leaving Pennyhill in 2006, Ray founded a successful bespoke home-dining experience company, Exquisite, which saw him transform customers’ kitchens into their own private restaurants.
Prior to his time with Blumenthal, Ray earned his stripes working under chefs such as Marco Pierre White and John Burton Race. At Little Fish Market he practices a minimalist and refined fish cookery style, letting his expertly and fairly sourced ingredients speak for themselves. Yet, touches of the innovative techniques he cultivated working at some of the country’s most renowned restaurants can still be found in the excellent execution of his dishes.
Ray is passionate about offering only the highest quality and freshest sustainable produce, as seen in how he only sources and serves entirely hand-caught fish from the British Isles. This commitment means that the menu is likely to change on a daily basis, taking into account what his suppliers, which include Brighton and Newhaven Fish Sales for Dayboat fish, Portland Shellfish for Crab, and Barfield Butchers for meat, may have in store. His dedication to being produce-led can be seen throughout Ray’s dishes, from working with primarily British suppliers and only accepting pre-bookings in order to avoid food waste, to regularly going line fishing for his own trout.
A small number of signature dishes, which have been perfected by Ray over the years, remain as a constant on the seasonally changing tasting menu. This includes the Wild Prawn and Eclair; two deceivingly simple amuse bouche which start the menu as well as the much-adored The Little Fish Market’s Egg & Soldiers, a deconstructed Clarence Court egg, filled with Jerusalem artichoke and smoked haddock and topped with a acidulated cream “white” and a passion fruit “yolk” as well as the Krabi. The latter sees white crab meat paired with Ray’s signature chilli-free Thai green curry sauce, with mango and peanut; a creation inspired from his years of travels. Alongside these signature dishes are daily-changing fish dishes, which could include Trout, Stone Bass or Turbot.
Wine is overseen by Keeling & Andrew and the team behind Noble Rot who work with Ray to create an elegant wine pairing to enjoy alongside the menu. Current highlights include Michel Gonet Les 3 Terroirs Champagne 2013 and David Duband Bourgogne Hautes Côtes De Nuit 2020.
Little Fish Market is found in Brighton’s charming sister town, Hove, minutes from the sea, from which Ray takes obvious inspiration, and is housed in what was originally a fish-mongers, with the building retaining the same name. The small but perfectly formed restaurant is double-aspect, ensuring the room is flooded with natural light. The interior, which was redesigned by Ray himself in 2020, is minimalistic but beautifully appointed, with scandi-inspired furnishings allowing the food to take centre stage. Adorning the restaurant walls are artworks by Giles Ward who is known for his natural sea-life focused paintings, which again call back to the restaurant’s surroundings.
The tasting menu at Little Fish is priced at £85 with a supplementary wine pairing at £50. Doors open at 6.45pm for a 7pm start with only one sitting per evening.
The Little Fish Market | 10 Upper Market St, Hove | BN3 1AS
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday