Prawns and pints combine perfectly to make this Hove backstreet pub a special location

15-17 Belfast Street

01273 241881

There’s a much revered seafood place in the unassuming backstreets of Hove called The Urchin Brighton. If the gastro aspect wasn’t lure enough, it just so happens it’s also a great little pub with it’s own microbrewery as well. Knowing how seafood and beer have made excellent foodie bedfellows over the centuries, this was a visit I was incredibly excited for.



From the outside the pub looks quite humble really, tasteful but certainly not embellished. As you enter from the corner door you are greeted by a similarly under-embellished, yet very contemporary and cool looking space. Dark reclaimed wood cladding frames the serving area which has a wide, solid metallic bar.  The brown of the wood and gold of the bar pops against the charcoal grey of the walls and ceiling. Any wood or metal on show has just the right amount of tarnish or wear and tear to make the space feel easy going and bedded in rather than posh.  The seating in this area is limited to a few high stools at high tables, but there is a good sized snug down the back.


Passing the shelves of beer and food awards you reach another room with much more in the way of low tables and seating, this feels more like a  dedicated dining area. The maritime theme is subtly carried through in ropes running up the walls and across the ceiling, but otherwise it’s a simple space with a mix of leather bench seating and chairs quite tightly packed in to allow for maximum covers.


There are a couple of small benches out front that will catch the afternoon sun and to the left of the pub is a really spacious outdoor seating area, enclosed with a roof and so safe from the elements, with heat lamps installed to make it comfortable in winter. For an outdoor space it’s a really good size. It’s made pleasant with some bushes and trees and the benches are pretty massive allowing for groups of up to 8 to get together. Given the calm, intimate nature of the space and small tables inside, this area feels like the one that can accomodate a large group out together to have fun socialising.



For once the food is trumping beer in the write-up running order and for good reason. As the name suggests, The Urchin Hove is a seafood obsessed gastropub. There are plenty of regular Menu favourites, such as; salt and pepper squid, scallops, oysters, crab and lobster. Then alongside that are the specials, these are usually a bit more experimental or diverse and can be seasonal or based on what’s been caught fresh locally. If you don’t fill up on the mains and sides, the desserts here are also incredible.
I love that on Sunday’s The Urchin Hove offers a really tempting alternative to a roast dinner in the form of a Spanish paella.

Prices are pretty premium, but for good reason, the shellfish is all sourced as fresh as possible from local suppliers. This perhaps make it more of a special occasion destination for most, and despite that location being a pub, it doesn’t feel any less special to be eating such wonderful fresh seafood served by some genuinely lovely people. I think the The Urchin Hove makes an excellent date night or birthday treat location.



The Urchin Hove have added another level of intrigue as they brew their own beers on the premises under the name Larrikin and they don’t hold back on variety. Styles rotate, and on my visit I tried them all; a sour, a lager, an oyster stout, an imperial stout and an oat cream IPA. My stand out beers of the visit were their 2 stouts and Sour. The lager was a little disappointing as I love a Czech style Pilsner and it didn’t really deliver that profile, luckily there is a dedicated tap for Budvar on the bar and that hit the lager spot. On the whole the beers were very good quality indeed and I look forward to trying more.

I got the feeling that the servers behind the bar weren’t really beer enthusiasts on the whole. More than once I was told that they hadn’t tried the beer so couldn’t offer an opinion and one chap didn’t know Budvar was a Czech pilsner. Given the incredible seafood and beer at their disposal, I think the Urchin are missing a trick not providing top-quality seafood and craft beer pairing advice. This could be done at specially held events with the brewers, or giving staff the knoweldge to offer confident pairing suggestions when taking food orders.



The Urchin Brighton’s reputation certainly precedes it as the gastropub for seafood in Brighton and Hove. If there’s another of similar reputation please comment as I’m a huge seafood fan!
I think what I loved most about my visit was how the place feels both special and casual at the same time. They’re not trying too hard, you don’t need to be dressed up to the nines to eat out here, the service is friendly and comforting and the space so small that staff have time to make you feel important. The craft beer element helps make this gastropub that little more interesting as well and for a beery person, this is the perfect special occasion location.