Chef Matt Gillan and local restaurateur Mike Palmer team up to make Brighton institution a world class venue.

Michelin awarded chef, Matt Gillan and local restaurateur Mike Palmer acquired Brighton’s pioneering Red Roaster Coffee in February 2016, with a view to transform this Brighton institution into a world class venue and rejuvenate this popular local cafe.

The brief for Australian designer Hana Hakim (World restaurant designer of the year 2015/16), was to retain Red Roaster’s status as a credit to the local community, but also to challenge what eating and drinking out means today. In particular, to reflect a new kind of ‘luxury’ often missing in everyday life; nature, sustainability and good health. Matt Gillan said “When we talk about this new luxury we are not talking about financial value, but more of wellness, health and relaxation. “As such natural textures, marble and plants feature heavily, offering guests a space of tranquility in a busy city.


Matt Gillan (1 Michelin star, 4 AA rosettes, BBC’s Great British Menu Winner 2015) will be based in the kitchen, offering a truly unique take on café food. “At the outset we set ourselves the goal of creating the best café in the World, and that principle has guided us ever since.” said Gillan. “For us, that starts with the quality of the coffee, and pretty much ends there as well.” The team have enlisted legendary espresso machinist Kees Van Der Westen to custom build their kit for them in Holland, and the beans are roasted daily in their own vintage Diedrich roaster. The cafe will open at 7am for breakfast through until 4pm, with the menu delivering the comforts of home but in a style and at a quality that can’t necessarily be achieved at home. The food will offer great value for money but also give a slight hint of what can be expected in the evening. Gillan said “Mike calls it ‘Michelin Star for a tenner’, but I prefer that we were known for food that you would be comfortable eating more than once a week, and which you would want to bring your friends back to share.”

Pike & Pine is the name for the evening offer, different because Matt felt it necessary to show the distinction between the daytime and evening offers. The evening experience will be very food centric, at a level that will bolster Brighton’s reputation as one of the most exciting up and coming food destinations. There are two dining options. The first is the main dining room where menus will feature a small plate a la carte menu alongside 6 and 8 course tasting menus. The second option will be to dine at the counter. Ten guests can be accommodated along an eight metre marble counter, and this will be where Matt and his team showcase 10 or more dishes in his signature style, and where guests can enjoy the energy of the kitchen and engage with the team, if they so wish.

Coffee will remain at the heart of the business, staying true to its roots. Red Roaster’s organic certified Roastery, further up the road in Kemptown, will continue to supply the cafe with its 6 single origin coffees and signature blends, and provides roasted beans for many Brighton businesses as well as some of the World’s finest restaurants. The Roastery has also seen a significant investment and re-branding by Melbourne (Aus) based award-winning agency Pop & Pac, and the team will be launching its full range at the London Coffee Festival in Spring 2017. Mike Palmer said of the ‘new’ roastery business “The idea has always been to take the incredible level of expertise that previous owner Tim Hume embedded in the business, and invest in new kit and packaging so that we can showcase what to many has always been the best coffee in the UK. This year the team at the roastery have been busy in Africa and Colombia sourcing the best beans you can buy. In particular, the farmers in Rwanda have been great, and we have returned some of the trust they placed in us by using the sales of the beans to build three additional classrooms for the school in Musenyi, Rwanda”.