Thursday, 18 August 2016

Brighton 2016


Brighton is one of those rare places that I can just keep on going back to and I never get bored. Amongst a hundred other things including incredible shopping and your usual fun seaside attractions, it also just so happens to be amazing for vegetarian and vegan food. 


You may remember that it was around this time last year that I spent a night there and fed back all of my vegan findings in my Brighton post. Ever since then I have been plotting my return and along the way I have heard of some interesting new vegan friendly places popping up which I was keen to explore for myself on this visit. 

One place that continued to be mentioned to me over and over again was the new plant based pizzeria Purezza. This was firmly penned down on the top of my list of places to visit and it ended up being the first place we grabbed some lunch after checking into our Air BnB


I had no idea what to expect from Purezza and I didn't do any research into it before arriving which is probably a first for me but it's also a testament to just how many people recommended it to me. I knew it had to be good and fortunately we weren't disappointed. 

The menu was impressive with a wide selection of innovative and delicious sounding vegan pizzas and calzones. It was also good to see that all pizzas could be made gluten free or stuffed crust if you wanted them to be. 


For our starters we opted for a simple garlic bread to share and i'm glad we did as it was so tasty especially with some accompanying chilli oil. 


For our mains I went in for the 'Pesto' classic pizza which included the toppings pesto, courgette, red onion, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts. Enjoying pesto on a pizza was a first for me and I really loved all the Italian flavours. My husband was slightly more adventurous and he went for a 'Vulcano' stuffed crust pizza which included the toppings sweetcorn, peppers, aubergine, red onion and jalapeños. The waitress informed us that the stuffed crust contained coconut cheese which I have to say was a little sickly for our liking, but the rest of the pizza was fantastic! 


On the whole we were really impressed by our first visit to Purezza and it's definitely somewhere I would recommend you all to try. I liked the fact that they weren't what I call 'in your face vegan'. The whole plant based concept of this restaurant is quite understated, so much so that we witnessed people ordering who had no idea it was a vegan eatery! I also recently read within a Facebook group that children can eat free here so it's a great choice for families too. 

We were so lucky with the weather in Brighton for this visit, it was scorching hot the whole time we were there. It was almost too hot for me at some points which is a first as it's normally pretty chilly and windy when I have visited in the past. But with hot weather comes hordes of peoples and it was so busy everywhere. I think next time we visit we'll probably opt for a time outside of the school holidays. 


The next place on my hit list was Wai Kika Moo Kau. I have walked past this place so many times in the past but for some reason I have overlooked it. It could be because its on a busy part of the North Laine area and therefore always packed. But this time I was determined to get inside and sample some of their food and in particular their stack of vegan pancakes which I'd heard on the grapevine are excellent and not to be missed. 


The first morning we arrived here we were a little late at 11:30am and they had stopped serving breakfast. I was so disappointed but as we were there we decided to stop and have a drink whilst we decided where to go next. I chose to try one of their vegan berry smoothies which was so amazing on the boiling hot morning that it was. If you can get a seat outside this is a great place to just sit back, relax and people watch. 


Having failed to try the pancakes the first time around we went back even more determined and earlier the next morning and thankfully the pancakes were on the menu. When they were presented to me I think my words were 'WOW'..... these looked and tasted beyond amazing! I've never before tried such thick and fluffy vegan pancakes and the cherry compote topping was equally as delicious. I haven't stopped thinking about these since being home, they were that good! 


The menu at Wai Kika Moo Kau looked very good all round. My husband enjoyed a vegetarian breakfast which he gave a big thumbs up to. There was also a vegan breakfast option which looked very good. I think if we had been in Brighton for longer we would have liked to have gone back here in the evening to try out some of their main meals which all sounded really inviting. If you've never visited before this place really is a must! 


Walking through the North Laine area I spotted that Gelato Gusto now offer vegan ice cream flavours which was really great to see. I popped my head inside briefly to see what the flavours were and they were all of a sorbetto consistency and mostly fruit flavoured but all looked really colourful and inviting.  



Like most people this is probably my favourite area of Brighton. I love exploring all the little boutiques and antique shops. The streets around here look so pretty all lined with colourful bunting and it really is just a feel good place. There are also so many vegan options in this area so it's really worth exploring. And, if like me, you like your art I would recommend walking a little off the beaten track and around the back streets as there is some really impressive graffiti and street art to admire. This dog wall mural was my favourite, i'm so glad we stumbled across it! 


Another morning during our stay we decided to head away from the main town and out to the outskirts of Brighton to Stanmer Park. This is a country house estate which has some beautiful surrounding grounds to explore. It's also very dog friendly so it was perfect for us as we had all three of our little ones in tow with us. Surprisingly we found that many parks in central Brighton didn't allow dogs so allowing them to have a decent walk and stretch was really difficult. Stanmer Park was the perfect place for us to enjoy a leisurely Sunday morning and the dogs were able to run free across fields which they loved. 


Inside the main country house there is a restaurant which is dog friendly both inside and out. We decided to sit in the garden area and ordered ourselves the veggie breakfast. 

As much as i'd love to rave about it here this breakfast was a little on the disappointing side. One mushroom seemed pretty stingy and I had asked for some spinach as an extra which arrived very dry and uncooked. They even forgot our beans which eventually arrived later on in a tiny little pot. We did leave feeling a bit hard done by especially as we had paid above the odds for this breakfast. 

All in all it's good to know that they have veg friendly options available here and if you are travelling with dogs the park is definitely worth a visit and a welcomed escape from the hustle and bustle of the main town. 


Another place we made a little pit stop at during our shopping trip was V Bites. I have been to V Bites before a couple of years ago when VegFest was on and so I knew that they were an ideal place to stop for a bit of tea and cake in the afternoon. 


The V Bites menu is really extensive and they have some amazing vegan options available along with a small shop where you can pick up some different food items. This was only a short stop for us so I went in for one of their chocolate coconut cupcakes and a can of lemony lemonade. This really helped me to recharge from wall the walking we had been doing and the cake was as yummy as it looks! 


No trip to Brighton is complete without stopping at Boho Gelato who are famous for their amazing ice cream flavours and vegan options. 


I thought we would be best to check out their new second shop but on arrival we found the selection to be significantly smaller than the main shop. We were advised that if we wanted vegan flavours we would be best visiting the main shop so we didn't stop here long. On reflection I wondered what the point of this second store was because the queue at the main shop was so long. In my opinion it would maybe make more sense to make the new shop for vegan customers only and separate the two? But anyway we queued up for ages around the corner but it was definitely worth the wait. 


Overall there were about 7 excellent vegan flavours to choose from and these flavours all change on a regular basis. In the past I have always opted for mint chocolate but this time I was a little more adventurous and I went for the cherry chocolate. I would go as far to say that this was the best vegan ice cream and flavour I have tried for such a long time, if not ever! It was a lot like black forest gateau which I adore. It was SO good! 


And what better way to enjoy some tasty vegan ice cream in the glorious heat and sunshine of Brighton! 


I think out of our entire stay in Brighton we definitely saved the best for last and that was a visit to the much heard about Rootcandi. I lost count of how many people told me to go here so I knew it had to be good. Coincidentally it just so happened to be a couple of streets away from where we were staying and so it made a great choice for us for our last night in Brighton. 


If you didn't already know, Rootcandi is in essence a plant based tapas style restaurant which encourages you to share your food and experience with others. The main menu was split into three main genres of food - Pan Asian, South American and Modern European and you are given the choice of whether to order the set menu within each genre, or you are welcome to mix and match. So many of the dishes sounded delicious I was initially tempted to mix and match but in the back of my mind I wondered if that would be a mistake so we jointly decided to opt for the Pan Asian set menu with a side of the zucchini fries which looked too good to pass up. 


The restaurant itself is very nicely designed whilst being both cosy and comfortable. It was perfect for an evening meal for the two of us but I also imagined it being a great place to bring a party of people. It has a really lovely earthy and welcoming atmosphere which immediately puts you at ease.  


But the real wow factor is of course the food! When our little tree of dishes was presented to us it really did look so beautiful and like a work of art. Already I was starting to understand why this place is so popular with so many of you! 


One of my favourite dishes from the Pan Asian menu was the vegetable tempura, it was divine! 


The zucchini fries from the South American menu were also a big hit with us and the perfect dupe for french fries. I was amazed by how good the garlic aioli tasted! 


This meal was a couple of days ago as I write this and I haven't been able to stop thinking about the mock duck pancake rolls. I'm not usually a fan of fake meat style meals but those pancake rolls were the best vegan thing I have ever tasted. Absolutely mind blowing! The crispy tofu with broccoli dish was also incredible and that's coming from someone who doesn't usually enjoy tofu. I don't often like to use fancy terminology when doing reviews but this meal really was an exciting gastronomical experience! 


And of course we wasn't going to leave without sampling the desserts! I had a chocolate, salted caramel & date concoction which was the perfect end to an already amazing meal. My husband went in for the strawberry brûlée which was an inventive take on a creme brûlée. 


At the end of the meal and when we asked for the bill we were then presented with a couple of petit fours - the perfect finishing touch!   


Rootcandi was one of my all time favourite experiences of eating out vegan and it's somewhere I would urge you all to visit at your earliest opportunity. It needs to be experienced to be believed and trust me - you won't be disappointed.


Aside from all the eating we also booked a trip on the new British Airways i360 which takes you up 450 feet into the air to offer 360 degree views of the surrounding areas up to 26 miles away. 

There's no getting away from the sight of Brighton's newest skyline addition and I think there's something quite breathtaking about it's futuristic presence on Brighton's front promenade.    


We enjoyed the i360 ride and found it to be a good overall experience. It's just a shame the glass was so reflective making it impossible to take good photos whilst up there. We were lucky to enjoy the view on a clear day but I could imagine this being an even better experience if you were to go at sunset.


Writing this post I am sad it's all over again! But I know I will be back soon with a new hit list of places to visit whilst I am there. I was disappointed to not get a chance to squeeze in a visit to Terre Terre and The Almond Tree this time so they will have to wait until the next time. Brighton just seems to be getting better and better for vegan eats and for me it firmly remains in top spot as being the vegan capital of the UK. I'm not sure if anywhere else will ever compare!? 

Have you been to Brighton recently? 
Where do you love to eat vegan in Brighton?
Give me some recommendations for my next visit by commenting below!
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6 comments

  1. Well done!

    Great pictures, and just enough info to make me drool - must go back to Brighton!

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  2. I love Brighton and all the vegan places! I actually visited a couple of weeks! :) - Becky x

    www.wanderergirl.com

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  3. I love Brighton so much! I've been going with my fam since forever, though I've never tried anywhere vegan! I must go again soon and make it my mission to try these food places, it all looks delicious!

    Amber Love Blog

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  4. Such great Brighton pictures! I always miss it when I see people posting about it whilst I'm travelling but luckily I'm going to be back there tomorrow! You can bet I'll be visiting Boho especially if the weather is anything like today and I'm going to need to get some pizza from Purezza too.

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  5. :0 I neeeeed to go to Brighton! The more I see and read about the more I wanna go! The ice cream looked amazing (I've heard of it thanks to Zoe sugg talking about it a lot) your garlic bread nom nom! Thanks for an awesome post :) xo

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  6. Hi Sarah,

    Great review. My wife and I were there last week for the Viva festival. So many places to visit, but hey we must try them all!

    Please could you let me know which Air bnb you were at? We have two small dogs (chugs) that will be with us and I have struggled to find anywhere to stay.

    Many thanks

    Dan

    ReplyDelete

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