Last week I spent the day in sunny (but cold!) Brighton. I had been here before as a vegetarian, but was excited to experience my first visit as a vegan. I’d heard lots of good things about the wide selection of vegan restaurants, so was eager to try it out for myself. I’ve compiled my experience into a short do’s and don’t’s list for vegans. Please note that there are plenty more options for vegans in Brighton, but this is what I managed to cram into a day!
DO Experience Purezza – The UK’s Only Plant-Based Pizzeria
Purezza was the place I was most excited about visiting, and it was even more than I had hoped. The food was delicious – plenty of pizzas to chose from for those that like their fake meats, and those that prefer more of a vegetable based option. I went for the latter and chose the Funghi mushroom and rocket combination, everything on the menu looked amazing!
I was far too excited about the cheesy garlic bread too, as I hadn’t found a good replacement since ditching dairy over two years ago, and this really was perfect. The dairy-free cheese that was used on this and on the pizza was so nice, I’m fairly certain that plenty of people enter Purezza, enjoy their pizza, and leave without ever knowing that everything was plant-based.
I wish I could have stayed for desert but was conscious of all the other vegan places I wanted to try. With the added bonus of great customer service and a lovely restaurant to eat in, I would 100% recommend Purezza to anybody travelling to Brighton. I really felt like it gave me a glimpse of the future, hopefully this will be the domino that begins many more plant-based pizzerias!
DO Visit Infinity Foods Shop and Food Kitchen
This was the dark horse of the day for me as I had never even heard of Infinity Foods! It was only through passing that I saw the shop and thought it was just a health food shop that might be worth a look. It was actually more of a Whole Foods style supermarket with plenty of vegan options. I particularly liked the beauty section with an array of cruelty-free and vegan beauty products, I bought a couple of creams from a brand called Faith which I will be reviewing soon. The even better surprise was the food kitchen, which was just a few stores along.
Tempted in by the selection of cakes with the heavenly sign ‘vegan’, I decided to give this place a try. But it was only when I sat down that I realised how unique and delicious the food was. I tried the Vegan Snickers ‘Vickers’ bar and Ferroro Rocher slice, and aside from being unlike anything I’d tried before, they were delicious!
The even bigger bonus is this place doesn’t just stop with cake, there were plenty of meal options too, with a fantastic-looking chickpea and lentil curry and vegan lasagne available today. With the option to eat in or takeaway, the staff were really helpful, and more than happy to insist people try before they buy. They were proud of the nutritious and delicious food and wanted people to experience it. Next time I’m in Brighton I can’t wait to return here for a meal, I’m so happy I found this unique place!
DON’T Get Your Hopes Up With VBites
As much as I really love finding a new vegan restaurant, I’m always completely honest and if somewhere, although vegan, disappoints me – I’ll let people know. Sadly, this was the case with VBites. If you’re like me you may have heard about VBites, or be familiar with the brand for sale at your local Holland & Barrett store. Opened by Heather Mills, I read recently that the VBites cafe was something that would eventually be a vegan chain restaurant, and had hopes that it might have been something similar to Veggie Grill which I found on my trip to California. Sadly, if this restaurant in Brighton is anything to go by, don’t get your hopes up.
The menu is full of the VBites meat alternative, which I guess is good for those that have recently given up meat and really enjoy the taste. But I think a lot of vegans are on a journey, and the longer you’re on it, the more your eyes are opened to the world of healthy, natural, organic plant-based food instead of sticking with plant-based meat copies. Anyhow, I ordered the simplest thing I could find which was a VBites burger, and I guess the vegan version of a Big Mac.
Although this isn’t the most important thing, I must say I was instantly put off by the customer service. I found the employee at the counter to be rude, unhelpful, and just completely uninterested in the entire restaurant. I at least expected somebody that knew what the VBites meat was made out of, but couldn’t even be helped with this.
At dinner time, the restaurant was almost empty (tell-tale sign) and after sitting down in a cold dining room upstairs, our food arrived shortly after…and by shortly, I mean it took not even five minutes. A little baffled as to why the food arrived so quickly, I was then greeted with a cold burger, and bland fries. With no employee in sight to voice the issue, after a couple of bites I didn’t feel like eating anymore. It was only long after we had finished that the chef finally appeared, at which point I was offered a cup of tea on the house to make up for a cold meal that I didn’t eat…doesn’t seem like the best deal in the world to me.
I know that VBites only opened last year, so I’m going to be optimistic and say that hopefully they will be making a lot of changes. The competition for vegan eateries in Brighton is tough, and I hope VBites will rise to the occasion to add to the fantastic choice for vegans in Brighton.
DO See What Vegetarian Shoes Is All About
Okay, so not food but I had to give Vegetarian Shoes a mention! Since buying some vegan ‘Ugg’ boots from them a couple of years ago, I have loved this place and bought a second pair of boots online. Comfortable, long-lasting and unique shoes that are just as good as some of the top brands in footwear, but without the cruelty. Vegetarian Shoes is a must to check out in Brighton.
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting vegan Brighton experience. I hope this helps you with your tough decision on where to eat vegan during your next trip! What’s your favourite place to eat in Brighton? Any other restaurants I should try? 🙂