Brighton is pretty much the veggie capital of Britain, if not the world! Not only are there several excellent vegetarian restaurants and cafes, but it is also home to Vegetarian Shoes, a must-visit shop for anyone who doesn’t wear leather. So when I visited the city last week I bought some veggie boots and had a slap-up veggie meal.
Food For Friends has been a popular spot for nearly 30 years and shamefully I had never been. So I was delighted to finally put that right last week. Over the years the restaurant has progressed from a hippyish counter service cafe to a more sophisticated and contemporary table service affair. It remains friendly and relaxed however, catering for vegan and gluten free diets with the same passion and flair as all the other dishes. The style is light and healthy with a good range of local food and a fusion of flavours. Their main influences are Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean.
To start we had the Mediterranean sharing Mezze, which included a couple of shot glasses of chilled gazpacho soup, spinach, caramelised onion and feta rolls, a stack of char-grilled aubergine, courgette and peppers, served with a fennel and carrot salad. The spinach, onion and feta rolls were a perfect combination of a light crisp pastry with a creamy, flavourful filling. The remainder of the dish seemed to complement the rolls rather than stand out on their own, although I enjoyed the unusual touch of the gazpacho.
For a main course we both had the Spicy Rosti, a lovely carrot and parsnip cake spiced with Piri Piri, or bird’s eye chilli, which was served on a bed of roasted vegetables, spiced hummus, Greek feta and rocket with a fresh avocado and tomato salsa. The fusion of flavours really worked here, with the rosti nicely spiced rather than searingly hot, but cooled down beautifully by the hummous and feta. The salsa was also an excellent addition.
This was one of those meals which left you feeling full, but lightly and healthily so, as though the combinations had all been just right. We moved on the shopping for those veggie boots without trying dessert, but I’m plotting to return as I spied on the menu the wonderful-sounding gluten-free Molten Chocolate Pudding…
Food for Friends
17-18 Prince Albert Street
The Lanes, Brighton BN1 1HF
Tel: 01273 202310