At first glance, comparing a Great British seaside town to the golden coasts of California seems like chalk and cheese. Where they have celebs and haute cuisine, we have fish and chips and Fatboy Slim, and where they have famous Route 66, we have the A23 turnoff. But under the surface lies a connection stronger than you might think.
Brighton, as we know and love it, is one of the most iconic places in the UK. From the rusting trusses of the West Pier to the cobbled street of the lanes, and not to mention a few eclectic characters, Brighton is truly unique. Well, so we thought. Santa Monica is, for many, the jewel in the crown of LA. Despite the greater Los Angeles area being made up of 88 different cities, Santa Monica reigns supreme as one of the most iconic and well-visited spots.
So what makes these two very unique places the same? Well, it’s the people.
Brighton and Santa Monica have long been celebrated for their bright lights and culture – food, nightlife, entertainment, talent, events – which is well deserved, but it’s the people within the local communities that keep the cities thriving. If you think about it a bit more on the nose, both cities have a pier, both of which are older than 100 years, which is where the official Santa Monica x Brighton partnership is centred around.
The cities have been officially linked in a new partnership that will promote a “cultural understanding between their citizens, and offer an exchange of ideas and activities through school curriculums, events series, and in-market tourism experiences on both sides of the Atlantic.” This partnership has kickstarted a chain of celebrations throughout Brighton to commemorate the beginning of culture swapping.
We checked out a very special menu at Brighton’s celebrated restaurant, The Set, which boats Michelin stars alongside its impressive local accolades.
Behind the pass was Santa Monica’s very own Chef Josiah Citrin – a culinary expert and veteran of Los Angeles’ gourmet dining scene, with more than 25 years’ experience (and two Michelin stars) under his belt. His successes include LA staples such as Mélisse, Charcoal Venice, Openaire situated at the LINE LA in Koreatown, and Dave’s Doghouse in Downtown Los Angeles.
Chef Josiah whipped up a simple 14-courses of LA’s finest, but with a British twist using some of Sussex’s finest ingredients, with some even being foraged for. Some standouts were the Scallop Tikka Masala, Beef Béarnaise (which if you’re ever lucky enough to try, make sure you eat down in one) and the Pork Ssam – washed down with, most surprisingly, a cheeky half of Newcastle Brown.
Words By Sam Johnson