A unique, diverse and exciting new eating experience awaits residents and visitors to Brighton & Hove’s seafront next summer, as the new Shelter Hall tenants prepare to sign their leases.
The historic Shelter Hall, which has been completely rebuilt and is due to be completed early next year, will be home to the city’s first food hall, with up to ten independent Brighton & Hove food businesses offering a wide range of cuisine.
The multi-million pound project to re-build the Shelter Hall and strengthen the seafront arches, which started in 2017, provided a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ business opportunity on the city’s world famous seafront.
The council, in conjunction with commercial property agent Savills, invited businesses to submit food and drink proposals for the two properties earlier this summer.
Restaurants and street food
The new food hall will be run by Sessions Market, a new ethically driven company bringing together experienced business operators from the restaurant and design worlds. Sessions Market is backed by Imbiba and local designers 'We Like Today'.
The hall will include up to ten independent Brighton & Hove based operators including restaurants, top street food vendors and up-and-coming chefs from the city, seeking an opportunity to start a food business.
All vendors will be encouraged to source ingredients from Sussex producers. There will be seating for over 250 diners. There will also be two bars on the upper and lower levels, run by the Sessions team and serving locally brewed beer.
The project is expected to create over 100 new full-time jobs for local people and vendors will be encouraged to offer apprenticeships.
Plans also incorporate a space designed for local initiatives and activities within the city such as local music, art groups and film screenings.
Creating community wealth
Council leader Nancy Platts said: “We are really excited about this project which reflects our commitment to community wealth building - creating opportunities for independent local businesses, jobs for residents and ensuring that money spent in the city stays in the city.
“We also welcome the commitment from Sessions to using locally-sourced produce and working closely with many local groups including the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership and food waste company Karma, along with its support for our Living Wage campaign.
“Residents and visitors can look forward to enjoying the very best of Brighton & Hove’s diverse food offering, knowing that they are helping to support the local economy.”
Sessions Market is led by CEO Dan Warne, previously managing director at Deliveroo, and its chair is restaurant veteran Graham Turner.
Dan said: “We're incredibly excited to be chosen to deliver our ethically-driven, immersive, food hall concept to the much anticipated Shelter Hall seafront development.
"Sessions’ world-class vision combines the best food, drink and entertainment from the top and emerging food offers across Brighton & Hove. And we already have a number of the city’s favourite independent restaurants supporting our plans and ready to join us.
"Sustainability, community and local philanthropy are at the centre of our business model. With a local team on board, community partnerships already in place and a financial model set to give back to the community, we say roll on 2020!"
Kieron Sherlock, Property Director at Imbiba, investors for Sessions Market, said: “We’re delighted to be backing the new Food Hall for Sessions Market Ltd on Brighton’s famous seafront, Shelter Hall is an iconic venue which will showcase the very best of Brighton & Hove’s exciting food scene all under one roof.
“It’s a new dining concept for the city which meets the demands from modern diners to have great experiences in beautiful places.”
The Rotunda, on the street level, will be the new beach location for Riddle & Finns, the champagne and oyster bar which has been a prominent name in the city for nearly 14 years.
Its food philosophy combines traditional English seafood dishes with international influences. With a true emphasis on quality local ingredients and respect for provenance Riddle & Finns has become renowned for its high standard of dishes, its convivial atmosphere, and exceptional service.
The building boasts spectacular panoramic views and will be a great asset to the city’s visitors and seafood lovers.
Rob Shenton, director and proprietor, said: “We are delighted to bring the Riddle & Finns experience to this new exciting venue for Brighton and Hove. The restoration of the Shelter Hall and Rotunda has been an ambitious project and we are very impressed with the building.
“Having been a business on the beach for 14 years with Due South previously we are pleased to be involved with this incredible improvement to our much loved beach. We are also excited to be able to offer a truly incredible view for every customer!”
The Shelter Hall project is part of the council’s Seafront Investment Programme, funded from government grants including a £9 million investment award from the Department for Transport’s Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund, borrowing and council money.
The scheme also includes public toilets located on the lower promenade, with a new walkway and sea wall. The busy West Street junction is also being remodelled to help people and traffic flow more smoothly.