Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Veggie Delights On Sea

While my vegan marshmallows were failing to fluff, I went on a jaunt to Brighton. I was meeting Dogophile Vegan Nurse (whom I have promoted to Dogophile Vegan Super-Nurse as she’s been offered all of the new jobs she applied for), her mum and Munchkin Granny for a girls’ weekend. MG and I arrived early Saturday evening as I had to perform at a University open day in the afternoon, and while MG recovered from the drive at Granny T’s where we were staying, I headed off into town for a little light drooling with DVSN at the amazing international supermarket Raj (I can’t find a website, but it’s on Western Road). I used to love wandering around in there when we lived nearby, marvelling at all the exotic vegetables (four kinds of aubergines – FOUR!!) and unusual foods. We were relatively restrained in what we bought, since we were going on to a restaurant and didn’t want to look like mad bag ladies, but I picked up a few fun things, including some mini garlic poppadoms you can bake in the microwave. We tried them with dinner the next night, and they were fun (and tasty!).

I’d booked us a table at Food for Friends, one of Brighton’s two headline veggie restaurants. The other is Terre a Terre, which I’ve never been to, as I love F for F so much. I’ve been there four times with four different groups of people from vegans to very cautious omnivores (you know who you are, Munchkin Gramps. Or, you would if you remembered to look at my blog) and it’s always been a resounding success. They specialise in interesting dishes from a whole range of international cuisines, and what’s especially nice for veggies is that they’re not your usual cheese on pastry effort either. There are a lot of vegan dishes, and more that can be made vegan, but they’re not so *unusual* that they don’t appeal to even your most conservative of fathers. The Scientist likes their Mediterranean mezze platter, for example, and I think that Munchkin Gramps enjoyed a cheese-topped Portabello mushroom dish when we went with him. This time we ordered three main courses and a few starters and sides to share between all five of us (Granny T joined us too). We had two mushroom and cashew stir fries with noodles (which unexpectedly came sporting a nest of fried noodles on top), a cheese stuffed mushroom with sweet potato wedges and asparagus, some pitta and tahini dips, some vegan garlic bread, and some broccoli and samphire. It was all absolutely delicious. I particularly liked the stir fried veggies, which had a very tasty sauce, and were sitting on a sheet of nori which was interesting. The dips were also nice – I’m not too keen on the taste of tahini, personally, but they were flavoured with cinnamon, beetroot and chickpea, respectively, which made me happy. The mushroom was nicely flavoursome, and the extra veggies made a nice simple offering with an added saltiness in the samphire.

We polished all that off and managed four desserts between us, too: a vegan chocolate tart, some vegan ice creams, a chocolate fondant pudding, and some semi-freddo. Again, all were absolute winners – rich, luscious and very satisfying. Even with a bottle of wine and a couple of hot drinks thrown in it all came to about £20 per head, so it was very reasonable. I LOVE this restaurant and would recommend it to anyone except our friend Mike who doesn’t eat any vegetables. At all. We’re not quite sure how he’s still alive, and I’m really not convinced that strawberry Nesquick is an adequate nutritional supplement just because it’s brightly coloured.

DVSN's vegan chocolate tart

Munchkin Granny's semifreddo

We hadn’t finished with the eating yet though, because the next day we met for brunch at the Brighton branch of my beloved Bill’s. I was still full from the previous night, but DVSN pronounced her veggie breakfast to be the best she’d ever had. Her veggie guide to Brighton said that half the menu was vegetarian, and there are quite a few vegan options as well. Given that she had also managed to fit in a trip to the Vegetarian Shoe Shop on Saturday afternoon, the weekend was pretty much vegan bliss. I have to admit that although I visited all these places when we lived in Sussex it took this weekend (and six months of living somewhere else) to really realise how great Brighton is for veggies. Go there, everyone, and tell Bill we sent you.

By the way, the verdict on the equinox lemon drizzle cake from The Scientist and his gaming friends: top cake. It was extremely light and lemony, and was even preferred to the batch of Nigella brownies I’d sent along, too. A winning weekend all round.

1 comment:

Johanna said...

a piece of that cake for me please - looks delicious!