vegan eats

It’s true: Brighton is the vegan capital of England


Between an ever-increasing number of deadlines to hit, and my own inability to forward plan, we ended up not booking any kind of holiday this year.

In a random twist, I ended up with a reservation to review a restaurant in Brighton over the bank holiday weekend, so we decided to make a staycation our of it, and booked our nice (but VERY expensive at this time of year…) hotel. We stayed at the Old Ship on the seafront, which is a good place. Excellent location, beautiful sea views, and a bed so huge we could lie across it and still fit.

I actually used to live in Brighton, I spent a year there studying after university, so I’m really fond of the place. That was some years ago though (about a decade), and as I wasn’t vegan at the time, I don’t know how much the plant-based scene has evolved. It has always been pretty veggie-friendly but now it is the best place for being vegan. In fact, there were so many places I wanted to try, we couldn’t actually fit them all in.

Our first night, we ate at vegan pizza place Purezza (which I wax lyrical about here).

The next day, we made do with a tasty soya latte, until lunchtime. As I sadly wasn’t in charge of picking this restaurant, we ate chips. You kind of have to do this at the beach though. Just make sure the chippie doesn’t use any animal fat in the fryer. Nothing much to add here, other than eating stodgy, fatty foods in direct sunlight shouldn’t work-but weirdly it works perfectly.

I have long heard about Boho Gelato, a tiny gelateria near the beach, which generally has a queue out the door. While it’s not a vegan establishment there are always some dairy-free options on offer. The day we went, there was a salted caramel peanut butter, chocolate rose, mojito, cucumber and rose, and a sadly sold-out strawberry, basil, and black pepper sorbet. Between us we tried the mojito, chocolate and rose, and peanut butter.

These were all as good as they sounded – with extra credit for deliciousness going to the salted caramel pb.

In the evening, we went to a very well-respected curry house, which I will be writing about in more detail in the future.

The next day, because we were leaving in the afternoon, we only had lunch to look forward to, meal-wise. I had read about, and seen pictures of, RootCandi, a cute establishment serving what it describes as ‘food made for sharing’. Inspired by the tapas concept-small sharing plates of lots of different dishes-the eatery serves (as its lunch options) three set sharing menus (pan Asian, Modern European, and Indian) as well as a number of other plates (the fresh mint, broad bean and cashew pate on toasted sourdough with pickled red onion being just one of them).

We went for the pan Asian option, which included a crispy tofu in a sesame and soy sauce (pictured), as well as carrot and quinoa-stuffed gyoza, steamed bok choi with Chinese mustard, and pancake rolls. This was really tasty. The dishes are presented in a sort of tower, with six small plates shooting out from a central stand. It’s a neat idea, meaning you can rotate the dishes as you sample them, and it also takes up less space on your table. This place is well worth a visit. The food is beautifully presented, and tapas-style dining means you get to try a whole host of different flavours, which is one of my favourite ways to eat.

Sadly, the length of our trip meant we didn’t have time to check out many other places, but we walked past so many vegan restaurants (old favourites like Loving Hut and VBites) and loads of other non plant-based places quick to advertise the availability of vegan options. I am would absolutely recommend the city for any vegan interested in trying lots of restaurants and loads of tasty grub. Brighton itself is a vibrant and engaging city, and an easy place to while away the hours, browsing the eccentric shopping lanes, enjoying the pier, or sitting on the beach. If you find yourself with some time on your hands, and the desire to enjoy a staycation, you could do a lot worse than visit this city by the sea.

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