V.I.P. is little, family-run Italian specialising authentic Neapolitan Pizza, made with homemade sourdough and cooked in a 100% traditional wood burning pizza oven. The restaurant is just across from the Old Stein, next to the takeaway chain Subway. It’s the sort of place you could quite easily walk past and miss if you didn’t know it’s there.
I recently introduced my parents to it and it went down a treat. They have quite high standards with regards to eating out and have visited Italy many times (mainly for the gastronomy), so the seal of approval from them cemented my decision to recommend the spot.
I’ve visited V.I.P a total of three times now so I can give you a thorough review of the food and the service at different times of the day.
So the positives: Really fresh, high-quality ingredients, cooked simply (the Italian way), with authentic topping combinations, in a lively central spot with friendly staff. Also very reasonably priced, so great value for money when you considered the ingredients come from their farm in Naples!
Things to be aware of: Food service can be slow if you’re dining on a weekend or at the height of lunchtime, but if you’re not in a hurry don’t let this put you off as the food is more than worth the wait. The pizzas can also be on the salty side. I find a lot of restaurants are over-salting food these days and it’s a bit of a bug-bear of mine.
I’d really recommend ordering the TAVOLA DI PESCE (seafood platter) – £15 for 2 people – if you’re popping in for a proper sit-down meal (they do take away by the way). The seafood element changes slightly each time I visit, but the selection is always mouthwatering. Last week the platter included smoked salmon on a bed of rocket, calamari, whitebait, tempura prawns, smoked mackerel, tuna, anchovies, cherry tomato, lemon, tartar sauce. Deeeelish!
I’ve also tried three different pizzas on my visits:
- The VEGETARIAN (£7.50) with mozzarella, tomato and a mix of homemade vegetables – I found the selection on vegetables a little lacking colour and variety. It’s the Italian way to keep things simple, but with a vegetable pizza you need a bit of more pizzazz to compensate for the lack of fish/meat. Not one I’d recommend.
- The POLPETTA (£9.50) with mozzarella, tomato meat sauce and meatballs – this I found a bit salty and the meatballs didn’t really have much depth to their flavour.
- The MONTANARA (£9.50) with mozzarella, roast ham, mascarpone, mushroom and walnuts – this was to-die-for. The mascarpone was deliciously creamy and went excellently with the earthy mushrooms and buttery walnuts. My favourite pizza ever!
PRICE: £7-12 for a pizza
In summary, this place is a Brighton gem and is a lovely spot to head to for relaxed, quality dining. Grab a bottle of their Prosecco if you want to push the boat out too, it’s the perfect fizz to complement the Tavola de Pesce.
P.S. V.I.P has just last month opened another restaurant over in Saltdean so you non-townies can now go Italian too.