MyBrighton: Ben Mckellar, Gingerman Group

MyBrighton is a regular feature profiling interesting Brighton residents, finding out where they go to relax, eat, drink and shop. Its aim is to uncover secret hideouts and hidden gems that every Brightonian should know about.

Ben Mckellar and his wife Pamela own The Gingerman Group of restaurants, an independently owned pub and restaurant business based in and around Brighton. The group was founded in 1998 with The Gingerman restaurant and now has four sites.

MyBrighton: Ben Mckellar, Gingerman Group

How did you end up in Brighton and how long have you lived here?
I was born in Brighton in 1973 and stayed until I was 18. I left to work in other parts of the UK and abroad, with stints in France and New York. I returned in 1997 to open a business here.

What is your favourite place in Brighton?
Hove lawns on a sunny, wind-free day with the calm sea as a backdrop – I like watching people having fun, going about their business.

What is your least-favourite place in Brighton?
There’s not really a part of Brighton I don’t like, but I feel there are a few areas in need of regeneration. London Road would be one of those areas.

When you’re not working, how do you relax?
Relaxation is very important in my line of business. I enjoy having friends over for lunch with the kids – a few bottles of wine and good company is a great tonic to the stresses of work.

What is the best restaurant in Brighton and why?
It’s difficult to say, but I find myself going to the Chilli Pickle, China Garden and Moshi Moshi more than any other restaurants.

What is the best pub in Brighton and why?
I really like Ten Green Bottles for a night out; a nice bottle of wine pre-dinner is great.

What is the best shop in Brighton and why?
I’m not really a shopper, but my wife Pamela seems to spend most of her time in the Lavender/room on Bond Street.

What annoys you most about Brighton?
I love living in Brighton and think great leaps have been made to make it a really exciting city, but I do find it a little dirty sometimes. Whether the seagulls are to blame or not is not for me to say.

What’s your idea of the perfect weekend?
My perfect weekend would be taking the kids to the rock pools in Rottingdean, followed by an early dinner and glass of wine.

Best piece of advice for people visiting Brighton?
I think people arriving by train should head straight to the North Laine to browse around all the independent shops. Then they should head to the seafront – no trip to Brighton is complete without seeing the sea.

If you were escaping Brighton for the day where would you go and why?
I love going to London for the day or a night out with friends. If I was taking the kids, I’d go to Cuckmere Haven and walk down to the sea with a picnic and the dog.

Name one thing you couldn’t live without in Brighton?
I couldn’t live without my managers, head chefs and staff who make running my business much easier than it would be without them.

Describe Brighton in three words …
Cool, fun and funky.

For more information about The Gingerman Group, go to www.gingermanrestaurants.com.

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