Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Food for Friends, Brighton

17-18 Prince Albert Street
The Lanes, Brighton BN1 1HF


Having been recommended the veggie roast at Food for Friends by my acupuncturist, we decided that, despite being on a New Year diet a visit to Brighton for Sunday lunch was in order.
So, at high noon, we turned up at the restaurant just as they were turning the sign from "Closed" to "Open". Food for Friends doesn't take bookings at weekends so we thought we'd get there early. As it was, there were another two parties that entered with us, which isn't bad for a vegetarian restaurant on a cold Sunday in January.

Food For Friends is often thought of as Brighton's "other" vegetarian restaurant after Terre a Terre. However, as the website points out, Food for Friends is Brighton's original vegetarian restaurant and was established in 1981. I've been past it a few times before in years past and have never been tempted by the menu as it always seemed to be part of the "nuts and lentils" side of veggie food.

Not any more, however. The menu is much more up to date, with many Asian influences apparent.

So, what of the meal?

I decided to go with the Sunday lunch special. For starters I had a Curry coconut soup. It was very pleasant, not too spicy, very much in the standard pumpkin/carrot and coriander mould. My wife decided to go for something off of the a la carte menu and chose Hot and Spicy Tom-Ka, which was a hot lemongrass infused tom-ka soup with chestnut mushrooms and shredded spring onions served with steamed jasmine rice. I had a taste and it was great! Nicely spiced without overwhelming the Asian spices.

For main course my wife decided to stay with the Asian theme and ordered a dish called flash in the pan which was shitaki and cashew nuts stir-fried with garlic, ginger and shallot, sweet potato and mixed vegetables served on nori with a crispy vermicelli nest and rice noodles. There was a lot of it and after eating about half of it she said she was now bored as the whole dish tasted the same. I had a taste, and it was nice but I can imagine that without any variation in flavours it would become quite boring to eat after a while.

I decided to have the roast. I had a choice of a Mushroom and Cashewnut roast or Butternut squash spinach Brazil nut and mixed mushroom strudel. Both were served with roast potatoes, glazed parsnips, red cabbage, swede and carrot mash, broccoli, yorkshire pudding red wine and date gravy.

I decided on the strudel. Again, there was plenty of it. And very tasty it was too. The red cabbage was especially nice - it had a sort of Chinese five-spice flavour to it. The mash was really smooth and the strudel was very nice indeed and had a nice texture, with pumpkin seeds giving a nice crunch to it now and again. The gravy was quite sweet, but very nice and theroast potatoes mopped it all up nicely.

By now, we were both too full for dessert. The bill came to forty-four quid for the two of us, including drinks (a couple of non alcoholic cocktails and a coke) and tip. The service was good, the only complaint I had was the screaming kids with the diners next to us. We will be going back sometime to try other dishes on the menu, possibly in the evening when the kids should be in bed...

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