We've decided to get to know some of our local business partners a bit better - and today we speak to Madeleine co-founder of Dilsk, the new restaurant at Drakes.

Dilsk is a modern fine-dining restaurant with a focus on sustainable food, sourced from ethical growers and local producers. It is the first joint venture from chef Tom Stephens and front of house manager Madeleine Riches.

Please tell us about your business and what you offer to visitors coming to Brighton

Dilsk is a relaxed fine dining restaurant, offering 2 tasting menus and a set lunch. Our aim is to showcase meticulously sourced ingredients, presented in a way which appears deceptively simple and clean, using restrained techniques both old and new to achieve the very best of each ingredient. We strive to be very low waste and utilise every part of our produce, whether this is through side dishes or cocktails, nothing goes to waste.

Offering a variety of menus also allows us to be accessible to everyone. The set lunch menu is £35 pp for 3 courses and our bread course, so is outstanding value. The shorter tasting menu is £55 pp and allows guests to have a fine dining experience, at an affordable price, or for those with a smaller appetite. While our full tasting menu is a culinary journey, for a celebration or for foodies wanting to go the whole distance.

Both tasting menus are paired with an optional wine flight, which is there to heighten the dining experience.

What do you like most about what you do?

Having both worked in hospitality for 20 years, we are passionate about what we do both back and front of house. The skills and knowledge mean that we can offer the best dining experience to our guests. We take such pride in every element of the restaurant, from our suppliers, dishes, wines, all the way through to our cutlery, everything is there to guarantee that our diners have an experience to remember. This is what we care most about what we do.

What inspired you to start your business?

Having worked together for over 4 years, we knew that we would make a great team when it came to opening our own restaurant, something both of us aspired to do in the future. The opportunity to take on the dining space at the well-known Drakes hotel was the perfect platform for us to do just that in April 2023.

What is the best thing about your work?

When the restaurant is full with diners that are having a wonderful dining experience has to be the best thing about our jobs. Knowing that we have successfully transferred what we love about food, wine and service to our guests is when we know we have achieved what we have set out to do.

What is your average day like, or is it never average?

Everyday with a new restaurant is different. New challenges, new dishes, meeting new suppliers are all part of the mix, but on quieter days it is about prep for the service ahead. We are always looking forward so dish development is also a big part.

What would you like to be doing as an alternative career?

Having both always worked in hospitality it is hard to imagine doing anything else. For me, it would have to be something to do with wine, maybe just drinking it while living in the South of France! And for Tom, a DJ, in fact his vinyl collection would suggest he still thinks that’s an option.

What is next for you and your business?

We are still a very new business, at this stage it is still about getting our name out there so we can keep growing. We have a private dining space which will hopefully be ready by the end of this year, and will offer the perfect space for groups wanting to have a more intermate experience. We are always pushing to be better, so being recognised by the Michelin guide would obviously be somewhere we would like to be.

What do you like most about Brighton and what is the best thing you like to do in the city?

Brighton has to be one of the best places to be in the UK. It has everything you need from a city, including a beach! The restaurant scene is also on the up and the number of independent restaurants makes it an exciting destination for people wanting to enjoy a culinary break. As a Brightonian, I am still amazed at how many things there are to discover, like the Secret Garden in Kemptown or the Regency Town House. At the moment I am loving discovering East Brighton, using the Volk's Railway to go along to Sea Lanes is the current Sunday tradition.

Thank you!


Food at Dilsk

Dilsk is a modern fine-dining restaurant with a focus on sustainable food, sourced from ethical growers and local producers.

Drakes Hotel
Drakes Hotel - bedroom

Drakes is an original Brighton boutique hotel that perfectly captures the essence of seaside living. With spectacular views of the English Channel and prime location by the beach, it is hard to think of a more glorious setting on the UK’s south coast. Set right on the seafront in the heart of Brighton, Drakes is a quintessential British seaside hotel, set in two spectacular 19th century mansions, and home to a cocktail bar and Dilsk restaurant.



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