Whether you’re heading to Brighton for VegFest or just fancy a foodie weekend by the sea, no trip would be complete without a tour of the city’s top vegan spots. Chloe Hay is your guide…
Published on 10 Apr 2018
Where to eat
We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to incredible vegan eateries in Brighton. From budget-friendly speedy lunches to splash-the-cash celebratory dinners and everything in between – you won’t find yourself miserably ordering a Portobello mushroom in a bun (too often the only vegan option) in this city.
A great one to take non-vegan friends to, Food for Friends prides itself on showing meat-eaters that veggie food is anything but boring! The award-winning restaurant uses unusual ingredients to create exciting, colourful and absolutely delicious starters, mains and desserts. All the dishes are homemade using fresh and (where possible) local ingredients. Go for the Sunday roast and order an English Garden cocktail – you won’t regret it.
Purezza is the UK’s first plant-based pizzeria! And I’ll let you in on a secret – it’s incredible. Wholegrain sourdough, hemp flour and gluten-free bases are topped with a fresh artisan mozzarella made from Italian brown rice milk. There’s so many innovative pizza toppings to choose from (roasted purple sweet potato and pineapple anyone?) but I can’t get enough of the simple but delicious ‘Cheesus’ – a four cheese pizza made from almond, rice, coconut and soya milks. And if it’s a sunny day you can grab a takeaway and enjoy it on the beach – just keep an eye on the seagulls.
Best for brunch, go for the large vegan breakfast: scrambled tofu, toasted polenta, roast tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, potato and spinach sautee, homemade sausage, tempeh bacon and toast – you won’t be disappointed! This cafe is always busy, but if you’re not much of a people watcher and you’re dining alone, you’ll appreciate all the books that are available to flick through while you wait for your food. Check out the daily specials too and, if you’re there for lunch, the Buddha bowl is one of the best.
Known for its pun-filled menu, this is another great option for special occasion meals or for showing friends just how indulgent and delicious vegan food can be. My favourites are the KFC (that’s Korean fried cauliflower, FYI) and Aloo Sailor – the best spiced potato rosti you’ve ever had, served with Tandoori smoked tofu. Yum. Terre à Terre also serves afternoon tea daily but don’t worry, it’s not the cucumber sandwich and cheese scone spread you’re imagining – think Szechuan marinated tofu in steamed rice buns instead. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, make sure you leave room for dessert.
With tables spilling out onto the street and a display of epic all-vegan cakes, Wai Kika Moo Kau is a popular spot for enjoying a vegan milkshake or herbal tea mid-afternoon, but it also serves delicious breakfast and lunch options. Share the Moo Kau mezze (grilled tofu, sweet potato burgers, bean chilli nachos, beetroot and horseradish salsa, houmous, salad and pitta) or tuck into one of their all-day breakfasts, wraps, pittas or bagels. There’s even mini versions of some dishes for people with a smaller appetite.
Afternoon Tea at The Grand Hotel on Kings Road
A high tea with a seaside view is what this traditionally stunning hotel has to offer. On entering The Grand you will be greeted by friendly staff in bowler hats and tartan trousers then walked through the elegant lobby into a sun-filled, modern tea room overlooking Brighton beach. Sit back and unwind in the beautiful emerald arm chairs and treat yourself to a plethora of teas followed by an amazing selection of finger sandwiches. There’s also scones accompanied with dairy-free butter and jam and, lastly, a gorgeous array of vegan cakes such as rose & pistachio and lemon polenta. Make sure you request your afternoon tea is vegan when booking.
The Prince George on Trafalgar Street is a lively and atmospheric pub serving up a creative vegan and vegetarian menu with a focus on British and Mexican street food which even the most dedicated of carnivores would enjoy. They also do great Veggie Sunday Roasts too!
Happy Maki is all about sushi rolled fresh to order. Bursting with fusion fillings, their maki rolls are super addictive and healthy too! Oh and if you’re wondering … Why no fish? Well sushi actually means “seasoned rice” anyway!
Glazed Coffee 25 Ditchling Road
The best vegan doughnuts you will find in Brighton for sure, made fresh everyday, including indulgent flavours such as Lotus Biscoff, Vego (which is basically vegan Nutella) and even pizza doughnuts! There is an option for any mood and you havr to grab a cup of their coffee as well, it’s delicious.
Beelzebab at The Hope and Ruin 11-12 Queens Road
Beelzebab are serving up tofu hotdogs like you’ve never had before — covered in melty cheese and even plant-based kebab meat! If you’re in search of a vegan junk food fix then this is for you. Their caravan-enclosed kitchen is found in one the the coolest pubs in Brighton, and the décor belongs in a Stranger Things episode with mismatched furniture and neon lights. Don’t miss their crazy ‘Dog O’ The month’ which features innovative creations like ‘Kentucky fried doggo’ and the ‘Dog in the hole’ (a tofu weiner with mustard mash, deep fried in yorkshire pudding batter topped with gravy).
You could easily spend an entire day (or more!) browsing all of Brighton’s incredible shops, especially along The Lanes. But if you’ve only got a short time, these are the ones not to miss.
Infinity Foods Like a miniature version of Whole Foods, Infinity Foods is your one-stop shop for all your fresh produce, vegan essentials, eco-friendly cleaning products and freshly baked bread. Londoners will revel in the cheaper price tags and non-city dwellers will be in awe of the array of deliciousness on offer.
Vegetarian Shoes Its huge sign bearing a very happy cow wearing Dr Marten’s makes this shoe shop impossible to miss. There’s a wide range of men’s and women’s sandals, trainers, shoes and boots all made from animal-friendly materials. For anyone looking for a specialist shoe, they also stock hiking, steel toe, airseal and winter boots. Be sure to check out their range of vegan-leather satchels, belts and wallets too.
The Bluebird Tea Co. Super friendly staff will happily talk you through the dozens of unusual loose leaf teas on offer here, and there’s always two or three available for sampling too. Choose between flavours such as Moondrop Dreams (a rooibos), Nearly Nirvana (a white tea), Mocha Chai (a black tea), or my personal favourite Chinese Treasures (a green tea). Once you’ve sniffed and ogled your way around the whole store, pick your favourites and get them dispensed into a sealable paper bag or into your own reusable container.
Top five places to visit
- The beach Going to Brighton and not going to the beach? You just can’t do that. Even on a rainy day, it’s obligatory to take a stroll down to the water’s edge, stones crunching under foot, to dip your hand (or toes for the brave!) into the water and exclaim at how freezing cold the English Channel is. On warmer days, take a picnic blanket and sit for a while or grab a table at one of the pub benches lining the beach and enjoy a pint while gazing out to sea.
- The Lanes Reason enough to venture to Brighton, The Lanes are a real treasure trove of some of the most unusual and enticing shops. Even for someone like me, who’s not a big fan of shopping, an amble through the little bustling streets is a must. Go on a weekday if you can to avoid the worst of the crowds, but be prepared – these streets are always busy.
- Brighton Palace Pier Take a stroll out to the end of the pier with an ice cream (optional, but encouraged – Boho Gelato have lots of vegan options to choose from) and enjoy views back along the Brighton coastline.
- Royal Pavilion Inspired by Chinese and Indian architecture, the Royal Pavilion will stop you in your tracks as you’re walking around the – otherwise very British-looking – city. The interior is just as spectacular as the building itself, and well worth the £13 entry fee. Stop for a cup of tea in the gardens, or if you’re here in winter go for a skate on the ice.
- British Airways i360 If you’re a fan of heights and views, a ride up to the top of the British Airways i360 is a real treat on a clear day. For your £16 (£14.40 if you have pre-booked online) you are rewarded with an unbeatable 360° birds-eye view of the city and the surrounding countryside. If you can, go up once during the day and then again after dark, for different but equally mesmerising views of Brighton.
About the author
Chloe Hay is a writer, sub editor and yogi. When she’s not writing about food, travel or fitness, you can find her attempting to master headstands on her yoga mat or having yet another clear-out as she works towards nailing that zero-waste lifestyle. Instagram: @chloehay4