As part of my last little series for ‘Veganuary,’ I headed out to find some of the best Vegan eateries, as recommended by a friend. As you can imagine Vegan spots were not too difficult to come by in one of the U.K’s plant-based capitals. I was actually really interested to expand my horizons into a community that has always been right under my nose but that I had not yet had the chance to explore, and even more-so now that I have recently converted to a vegetarian diet. Another great recommendation suggested by my lovely vegan friend Immie, is the app Happy Cow. Essentially it allows you to find all the best vegan/ vegetarian spots near you- a great place to start if you’re new to this, or a great way to get acquainted if you’re already plant-based and stuck for a little food-spiration.
8 Pool Valley
I started off my research at a very healthy equivalent of a ‘fast food’ joint- the totally vegan Sushi stop- Happy Maki. I’ve always enjoyed sushi- but strictly the vegetarian type so I was super excited to try these giant burrito-style sushi rolls. They offer a selection of 7 types of roll, as well as drinks and sides- available to eat-in, take-away or enjoy in the comfort of your won home via Deliveroo! I chose the Sweet Chilli Chick roll- pieces of a very realistic chicken substitute with avocado, cucumber, red pepper, basil and sweet chilli sauce. I also ordered a berry smoothie which was great along with the sides of popcorn cauliflower and sweet potato fries which were just as tasty- seasoned perfectly and incredible alternatives to other fast food options.
My brother ordered the Beet And Basil Satay; grated raw beetroot, crunchy peanuts, avocado, cucumber, red peppers, basil and satay sauce, with added ‘chicken’ pieces. Joe, who is now wanting to continue his vegan diet beyond January, concluded that he would also definitely return here. It’s a little hidden treasure trove in the centre of town, just off of East Street, with cozy seating downstairs and a totally guilt-free menu- in every sense . I didn’t feel as though I was missing out in any way, especially as I’ve only ever eaten vegetarian sushi, I can imagine this is a real gem for sushi/ clean food lovers.
25 Ditchling Road
A little outwards from Brighton town centre, I discovered this vegan donut haven on Instagram. I picked up several donuts to take-out so that I could try a variety of options. Now, while it may be true that vegan donut options can be found in supermarkets, I think it’s becoming seemingly more important to support smaller, local businesses- plus you get more of an authentic artisanal feel and taste when buying local. Raspberry & Coconut, ‘Notella,’ Oreo and Biscoff- it’s fair to say that while they were all delicious the favourite had to be the Biscoff by a mile, with all that cinnamon-y spiced goodness.
I can imagine that the only draw-back- at least for me personally- is that this cafe is slightly outside of my usual circles, which is a shame because I’ve really developed a taste (more like a continuous craving) for glazed donuts! If you follow these guys on Instagram you’ll see they’re always trying out new flavours and combinations, and I must say that I am a little curious to try their pizza donut- anything with cheese/vegan cheese, I’m there for.
12 Saint James’s Street
This is another totally plant-based restaurant, and let’s just be honest here- this is one of the best pizza’s I’ve ever had, and god knows I’ve had a few. Again upon recommendation I ordered the Pesto Manifesto along with the cheesy dough balls as a side, and I was so, so impressed- along with a cheeky glass of Aperol Spritz- plum infused- I believe, it just topped it all off perfectly. The melted vegan cheese inside the dough balls was a very realistic, convincing alternative to mozzarella. On the pizza, the flavours of the pesto along with the courgettes and caramelised onions on the sourdough base, were just a dream- I’m a huge fan of sweet mixed with savoury flavours.
I enjoyed the quality of the ingredients, the way in which the pizza was cooked and the atmosphere of the place itself- in the heart of St. James’s Street. I’ll be completely honest, I have since returned and ordered the Margherita, which I didn’t enjoy as much- maybe just a little plain for me? On the same day I also tried some of the Season.4. Pizza.1 which again, topped with a beautiful array of fresh ingredients; artichokes, olives, mushrooms, smoked beetroot and micro-herbs, I found much more enjoyable and would definitely order again. On both occasions I also ordered the salted caramel brownie, with vegan vanilla ice-cream- simply sublime. I’m sure most people would have absolutely no idea any of the above delights are plant based- the flavour and authenticity is there on every level.
There are so many other options on the menu that I’d love to try; the macaroni and cheese, the garlic bread, the sweet Oreo pizza … This is definitely going to be one of my go-to places for take-out because as you can imagine, being Italian we are very fussy about our pizza! It’s so nice to find an option where we can either head out and enjoy inside or order and collect- if you’re central to Brighton, delivery options are available too.
I think it’s wonderful to live in a city where you have the option to explore different diets and lifestyles in such an eclectic way. For any sceptics and/or ride-or-die meat/dairy lovers, It’s becoming clear that vegan options can be just as flavoursome and delicious as any other foods, I really believe that people just have to open their minds to the possibility of this, rather than assuming that ‘vegan food is rabbit food’– this is a huge misconception. You don’t have to be a radical vegan to enjoy plant-based food, but supporting a community which encourages ethical treatment of animals, as well as the planet, can only be a good thing- even if you’re not willing to convert fully to the vegan lifestyle. We’re so lucky to now live in a time where there is such a vast spectrum of food options available (2 years ago when I was dairy & gluten-free these options were almost non-existent,) and while I accredit this largely to living in such a cosmopolitan, diverse city, I think there is also huge movement towards living more conscious lifestyles worldwide; this can be seen not only in food industries, but also beauty, fashion, travel…
Of course there are so many more incredible plant-based spots in Brighton, these are simply a few I tried, other recommendations, which I am yet to try, include: Loving Hut, Modelo Lounge, Food For Friends, Infinity Foods Kitchen… the list goes on! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found some sort of food-spiration, and even though you may not be local to Brighton I’m sure there are such like communities popping up all over the world- it’s simply about expanding your horizons and/or embracing the idea of positive change.