Rockwater Brighton and Hove Review – what to expect

Hey Explorersaurs! Today’s post is all about a gorgeous new establishment close to home for me – Rockwater Hove. I’m letting you know what to expect from the Rockwater in Hove/Brighton, and reviewing all the areas. This gorgeous restaurant and bar is based on the Hove seafront, about a half hour beach-front stroll or 5 minute drive from Brighton. It’s a stand-alone building that has a complete waterfront view, and no other buildings in the vicinity. It opened up in May 2021 and already looking like a gorgeous little beacon, let’s chat about it!

First up, let’s chat about seating. There are three separate seating areas here at the Rockwater:

The Rooftop Terrace

The rooftop terrace, featuring a sliding roof that they can cover if it happens to rain, and glass walls all around that bifold to open up the whole area when it’s warm enough. This area is underfloor heated so should be pretty lovely even for wintery sunsets. You can’t input on whether the bifolds are open, so it’s worth bringing a jacket to keep on if it’s a bit nippy on top when the walls are open. If you’re coming for a celebration or event, I would recommend grabbing a table in the rooftop terrace. You’ll get gorgeous views of the sea here and it just feels incredibly boujie. It’s a really chilled vibe and the staff are super welcoming, but those views and decor make it a serious must-do. (Side note – if you’re like me and really hate the smell of fish – lels not the best place for this – ask for a table away from the kitchen! You won’t get such a strong scent in the downstairs restaurant and the decked beach area.)

The Beach Decking

The Rockwater also has a decked beach area, with a good sized chunk of decking featuring lots of wooden tables and booths. They also have a bunch of branded deck chairs out on the pebbles, which would be an epic place to guzzle some beers in summer. Here you can order with waiting staff or straight to your table via an app. You can order food from all the huts around, along with a variety of drinks. If you’re going for summer chill vibes, I’d recommend this decked beach area. This is available on a walk-up basis, and they don’t currently take bookings here. When we’ve been there hasn’t been much of a queue at all and you can pretty much be seated instantly, but in the peak of summer I’d say you’re likely to wait upwards of an hour. (Maybe they’ll have something in place by this point!) With that being said, the huts outside are available to all, so you can always grab a beer and chat in the queue as you wait.

The Restaurant

The last seating area is the indoor restaurant based on the first (ground) floor. The decor is absolutely beautiful here (as is the whole thing, let’s be honest!) but you won’t get the very best views of the sea here compared to the other two areas. The big bar also belongs here, and there are a bunch of board games lined along a shelf that people can play as they relax. I feel like this would be a super cosy area in winter to just catch up and chill.

Food

Ah the joys of life!! The food here varies hugely depending on what area you choose to sit in. You’ll only be able to order from the set menu inside the venue, and on the tables outside you get a choice from all the huts surrounding. I’ll start by saying the inside menu hasn’t got a huge amount of options. When the venue opened they included freshly-baked pizzas and a few extra options – which apparently had loads of people choosing pizzas. (I don’t blame them, we saw some come out and they looked seriously tasty!!) They couldn’t keep up with this demand by the sounds of it, and so now only let kids order the pizzas… We cry. The rest of the menu is far more boujie – we definitely did enjoy what we ate – but I’d say it’s a little better for more mature palettes up here. Outside the menu is more extensive and has something for everyone I’d say!

You can view all the menus here to get a rounded view!

Indoor food

Up in the restaurant and roof terrace, options include a lot of fish, and for us vegans and veggies you can get: tofu tacos, and aubergine-salad tofu medley thing, a watermelon steak, and a caprese-style salad. The banana-oat pancake stack for breakfast looks especially tasty! The cocktail menu is especially gorgeous with sooo many goodies to choose from – they are works of art. The kids menu includes pizza, burgers, mac and cheese, and a veggie-sausage roll platter. All the prices up here as as you’d expect – pretty pricey! Cocktails are around £12 each and small plates are around £10. They also do roast dinners on Sundays – we’ve yet to try this but the pictures look fab!

Outdoor food

When dining outside, the menu includes a ton of coffees, cakes, flapjacks, sweet bites, brownies and yoghurts. You can also get an array of savoury bakes like sausage rolls (vegan included,) breakfast muffins, tacos, hot dogs, bagels, and P.I.Z.Z.A (yaaaas!) – including vegan pizzas, also. What a time to be a alive. You can also get beers, cans, frozen cocktails, wines, and spirits and mixers. The outdoor area has a lot more variety, and is generally lots cheaper. (But of course you’re also paying for the ambience up in the terrace.)

Prices

I’ve slightly touched on the prices already, but really they’re what you would expect here. The whole place is a work of art, and obviously loads of planning and thought has gone into curating the meals and cocktail menu.

Indoors, cocktails are all upwards of £10 – averaging around £12 each. Small meals in the restaurant will set you back around £10. We had a good amount of food with a selection of small plates, and a cocktail each. For four people we ended up paying just over £100; £25ish each.

Outdoors, the cakes and bakes are around £3 each. Pizzas are £12 and other meals average around £7 – so much cheaper overall. Drinks will also be cheaper here – with less selection though. Beers are a fiver and a medium wine averages £6.

When to come

Already(!!) after visiting only two days since opening, bookings are bloody mental! If you’re looking for a weekend you’ll struggle to get a table in the roof terrace at all – any time, any sized group. Yikes! If anything, I think this shows how many people have fallen in love with the Rockwater. The best times to appreciate this place would be a breakfast overlooking the beach, or at sunset, enjoying a few cocktails.

You can stroll up to the beach decking at any time as they do not take bookings here. It looks like if you can head here just before midday you’ll get a much better wait time and get to enjoy the whole place more. I do think it would be worth queueing with a beer to enjoy a summer sunset though; you’ll just have a longer wait.

As you have to book the restaurant it’s really a case of when is free – I think it will be beautiful at any time so take what you can here! For the decking, I’d recommend heading here before 12 midday to grab some food and sunshiny beers.

Let me know if you check this place out and what your thoughts are – and enjoy!!

For more UK tips head to the UK section of Explorersaur here!

You can also check out my post on where to find unique UK stays, and get £50 off Airbnb by checking out this epic gypsy-esque cabin here.

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