Food with friends at Food for Friends

by Beena Nadeem - Wednesday May 3, 2017 12:05 pm

In Brighton, you can grab a vegan kebab in a pub, drink more artisan coffee than you can shake a bean at and feast on sourdough pizzas and gelato for a lifetime on the hips. 

Restaurants have really flourished here over the past few years, yet one old timer self-billed as ‘Brighton’s original veggie restaurant’ has thrived. Having gone through a metamorphosis from its birth in the early eighties when it appealed to students and hippies on a budget to an altogether more gourmet and grown-up offering, the food is progressive, stylish, clever and really blooming good.

Food for Friends transformed under the guise of former head chef Michael Bremner (formerly trained under Marco Pierre White) into a more mature offering and is now exceptional among existing steep competition in the UK’s vegetarian capital. 

Watch table side TV staring Brighton's nightlife 

It’s from our corner seat we gaze at the goings-on of Saturday night Brighton: from guided historical tours to a bride-to-be, gesticulating with a giant blow-up appendage at her fellow clucking hens. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a few audacious pre-dinner cocktails and we're soon in love with the place. It serves gourmet standard food – yet it’s incredibly reasonable –

Here you'll get gourmet standard food at with an incredibly reasonable price tag – around £14 for a main, which, considering the standard of food you get, is good. It’s a warm, elevating environment, with subdued lighting and bubbly staff, and it’s clear the pennies are spent not on white linen and silverware, but on quality ingredients and talent chefs.

To begin

Starters, of course, were beautifully done. Presented like small works in themselves deeply seasoned tastes which make me reassess the humble vegetable forever.

Mr F had goats’ curd, with onion gel and shards of tanned parsnip chips, roasted walnuts and it made for a happy, playful combination. A little pear took away any potential tartness to the goats’ cheese. I had golden parcels of sweet tofu, with stir-fried shiitake mushrooms, marinated pak choi and pickled ginger and wakame (seaweed) – I could have eaten this as a main: wonderfully crispy, moreish, with nods of Japanese cuisine.

Mains

Mr F has herb roasted Ravioli, with beetroot and butternut squash in Brighton-produced blue cheese sauce. I’ve only once tried something this good and that was in Italy some years ago – and we were convinced we’d never find it again, until now. I'm even more susprised as I'm not a fan of any mouldy blue cheese, yet this has me stealing from Mr F's plate again and again. In addition to his food, I had a playful dish of halloumi with avocado, slabs of mango, baby leaves, with the hit of wasabi-roasted cashews, which added a punch to the sweetness.

Desserts like home

Dessert was clementine ice cream, made with cardamom, which, reminded me of my mother’s earthy Pakistani cooking. Mr F had chocolate and coconut with his too, though I did have to remind him of that after further cocktails (tequila muddled avocado, organic pear, fresh juice, and agave syrup or try the Lychee rose, vodka, lychee liquor, rose syrup lychee juice, agave, lime juice), which he also opined, were very good. Can't take him anywhere. 

This place could convert even the most voracious of carnivores

This place should be tried. Vegetarians will love the variety and imagination of the menus, while meat lovers will question the need for meat in a three-course meal when the quality, taste and creativity presents is something that, in my mind, has elevated itself above the many other offerings in this crowded market. And the entertainment outside is gratis.

www.foodforfriends.com

Thanks to VisitBrighton

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