Wagamama Brighton: New Vegan options

Wagamama is always a go to when it comes to eating dinner out with my friends because be it options for vegans, veggie, fussy eaters or carnivores, it’s one of the few places that is guaranteed to suit us all.

Yesterday was a rarity because me and my best friends were not only all back in Brighton at the same time but we also managed to coordinate a free evening so we decided to celebrate with a dinner trip to yours truly.

When it comes to eating I usually try to support independent businesses but I make an exception for Wagamama because its fusion Asian menu never fails to disappoint and in all honesty, I’m a little stumped when it comes to finding independent restaurants that are open for dinner in Brighton as most of my go-tos are brunch/ lunch places.

While I have my firm favourite dishes (the Raisukaree curry and the Yasai Yaki Soba noodles) I’ve made it my mission to work my way through the menu and when I was agonising over my options last night, what really stood out was the huge selection of vegan options on the menu.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
New vegan Cookmama

Wagamama has always had its fair share of veggie/vegan dishes; the Yasai Yaki Soba noodles, the Yasai Katsu Curry and the Kare Burosu Ramen but now on the Brighton menu are three new options.

The Cookmama

The dish that I was really drawn to was the Cookmama. Consisting of curried Udon noodles, with shichimi-coated tofu (oh wow) and crispy coconut ‘bacon’ (double wow) served with broccoli, cauliflower and shiitake mushrooms, the Cookmama was absolutely incredible and totally vegan. Apparently the dish is a product of a collaboration with king cook of the vegan restaurant, CookDaily in London so it was highlighted on the menu with a little star making it seem extra special.  For £9.50 the Cookmama is really good value and with the crispy tofu, it doesn’t ‘taste vegan’ so even the most carnivorous of people would love it. If you’re not a fan of spicy food then ask for it to be made a little milder as it is quite hot.

The Vegatsu

Also new to the menu is the vegatsu, a vegan Katsu curry which uses seitan ( like tofu) coated in crispy panco breadcrumbs and topped with the Katsu sauce so unlike the Yasai version which is based on fried aubergines and sweet potato, it’s a lot closer to the traditional chicken dish.  Personally I’ve never fancied the Katsu but I really appreciate that the restaurant has worked so hard to get an authentic vegan version of one of their most iconic dishes. This dish costs £10.75. 

The Harusame Glass Noodle Salad

If the hot weather has you wanting something a little lighter then Wagamama’s other new vegan dish, the harusame glass noodle salad might be for you. I first discovered glass noddle salads in Thailand in which thread thin rice noodles are mixed with fresh vegetables, sauces and served cold making for a really refreshing dish. The Wagamama  version is mixed with tofu, kale, edamame, adzuki beans, mange tout and carrots which looked really good and is definitely next on my list. This dish cost a reasonable £9.50

Overall I was really impressed with the new veggie/vegan options on the Brighton menu. Of course I can only vouch for the Cookmama (I had to fill out a little form after I  my meal and it was all 5/5s for me) so If  you’ve tried one of the other two options then let me know your thoughts.

Brighton Budget Restaurants: Where To Get Lunch For Less Than £5

A locals guide to cheap eats in Brighton: Food for less than a fiver 

As much as I LOVE going out to eat in Brighton, one thing that really gets me down is spending a lot of money on food. There are so many fantastic brunch and lunch places to choose from in the city but most of them usually set me back at least £10 if not more and that means that going out to eat with friends is becoming an expensive habit.

Recently I’ve been really working on finding cheap eats in Brighton: Places where I can get food for under £5 so that I have money left for more important things like travelling.

Here are a few of my favourites.

We Love Falafel

37 Sydney Street, Brighton, BN1 4EP

One place that I’ve been meaning to go to for years in We Love Falafel on Sydney Street in the North Laine. This cheap eats falafel place has been in Brighton for as long as I can remember and one thing that’s always guaranteed is a queue out the door so I figured it had to be quite good. This week I joined the queue and found another food favourite to add to my list and the best thing is, you can get lunch for less than £5.

44A309EB-3710-4A95-AC38-B00B9FC0C997.JPG

00DA8678-045B-47BC-A1D5-CC8DA7D9601D.JPG
Sweet potato falafel wrap for just £3.90

I can’t explain just how good the homemade falafel is at this all vegetarian cafe and with prices starting from just £3.90 it’s the ideal place to grab lunch when out and about in Brighton.

There’s quite a few options to choose from, most of them falafel based (surprise surprise) like the falafel box or melt wrap with cheese.  I decided to go for the  falafel salad wrap with vegan yoghurt. This substantial wrap came with falafel, houmous, red cabbage, carrot, gherkins, chilli sauce and yoghurt garlic sauce and what’s best was it only set me back £3.90. If that’s not a good excuse to go there twice as much then I don’t know what is.

There are four different types of falafel to choose from; Original, beetroot, sweet potato and the special of the day. I really wanted to try them all but I figured I should start with the original.

Since I first went I’ve been back and have tried both the beetroot and the sweet potato (although the original still gets my vote as number one!)  Absolutely everything looked fantastic from the falafel boxes to the melt wrap with cheese ( both £4.50).

836CAEFB-5AAA-4656-B4B5-4C6BB9AA46A6.JPG

Jack and Linda’s Brighton Smokehouse

197 Kings Road Arches, Brighton, BN1 1NB

When I was younger my parents use to take me to Jack and Lindas’s smokehouse for a treat in the summer holidays. Even now I think it’s hard to beat the enjoyment that I get from biting into a hot buttered roll with smoked kippers and lemon juice in.

I don’t think that this place, located right by the sea, would have changed much since it first opened 20 years ago as it still serves good, wholesome and cheap food today with lunch prices around £3-£5. Granted it’s not very vegan friendly but if you’re after nothing more than some fresh seafood that won’t cost a fortune then this is the place for you.

A8112DED-A7F5-465C-A836-2FED52B92376.jpg
Falafel pitta at Wai Kika Moo Kau

Wai Kika Moo Kau

11A Kensington Gardens, Brighton, BN1 4AL

Ok not everything in this vegetarian restaurantt is super cheap but it’s fairly affordable and there are quite a few lunch options costing less than a fiver. I’d recommend the bang bang tofu vegan wrap which consists of tofu, peanut, sweet chilli, coriander and red onion, the falafel and houmous pitta/ wrap or the halloumi pitta/ wrap, all of which come in at just £4.95.

A1DF9F7D-AD3D-4FA0-B513-A5C231229ABF.JPG

V.I.P Pizza

19 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1EL

I actually find that one thing we lack in Brighton are authentic independent Italian restaurants however V.I.P pizza is one of the exceptions. Tucked away near the pavilion V.I.P (Very Italian Pizza) has not only some of the best artisan pizzas in Brighton but also some of the best fresh pasta dishes that I’ve had outside of Italy.

With sourdough pizza bases made out of extra virgin olive oil and 00 flour cooked in a wood burning oven, the pizzas in this place are only what I can describe as a taste sensation. Whole pizzas and pasta dishes start from £6 however you can grab a pizza slice to go or tuck into panuozzo (a giant food fired sandwich from Naples) for less than £5.

The Sunbirds Deli

108 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4JG

I’ve yet to actually eat in this place but I stopped off there for a coffee a few weeks back and although I’d just had breakfast I was so tempted to order something because it all looked so good. If you’re visiting Brighton then you might not find this place as it’s a few minutes outside of the centre near the Open Market but this little deli is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a filling lunch for less than £5. There’s quite a few options to choose from such as the roasted veg and halloumi wrap (£3.99) or the hot daily specials. What I really want to try are one of the vegan or vegetarian Mezzes which look so colourful and tasty and cost just £4.50. 256B63BC-EF26-413D-9651-D95EF6EB16A6.JPG

Smorl’s Houmous and Falafel Bar

Open Market, Brighton, BN1 4JU

It’s tragic that I’ve only been here once but if you’re down near the Open Market then another good lunch option is Smorl’s Houmous and Falafel Bar at the far end of the market. You can pick up a pot of their homemade houmous to bring home or stop there to eat. A half pitta costs £4.50 (it’s very big) or a whole one just £5.50. A lot of their rotational specials hover around the £5 mark too and both the houmous and falafel are something to shout about!

I hope that this blog post was helpful. If you know any more cheap eats in Brighton (or Hove) then be sure to let me know!

Amazing Veggie Food You Have To Try In Tulum, Mexico

I loved Tulum in Mexico so much, partly for its beaches, partly for the bike rides, partly for our hostel but overwhelmingly for the food. 

Before we got to Tulum we were a little disappointed with what Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula had to offer. After a week of travelling around Cancun and Playa Del Carmen what we’d seen of Mexico had in all honesty seemed a little tacky, Tulum had a lot riding on it.

Tulum: Sure it’s not that culturally enriching and it’s not that cheap but Tulum is one of the most hedonistic and bohemian beach side towns that I’ve ever visited and I loved it from the get go. Split into the main beach area and the town, days in Tulum are best spent renting bicycles and cycling along the beautiful beach road overgrown with greenery and spending your days hopping from one beach lounge to the next and of course eating, lot’s of eating.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Ahau beach bar

B121B4CE-3388-417F-98B0-498C5BC89D6A.JPG

If like me, you’re an absolute sucker for every cafe and restaurant with food that promises to ‘nourish your body’ and swings to sit on while you drink green juice then you’ll find yourself in paradise in Tulum.

The best places to eat at in the day are the beach bars along the main road strip, and there’s plenty of them to choose from. Here are a few of my favourites.

The Raw Cafe at Ahau Beach Bar

Probably the most zen of them all is the Raw Love Cafe at Ahau Beach Bar. Just minutes walk away from the beachfront this cafe has everything from superfood smoothie bowls like the ‘chocolate dream’ with cacao, banana, maca, vanilla, dates and coconut milk to maki rolls, coconut milk lattes and raw desserts. (Everything on the menu is gluten-free too) .We both got two of the raw vegan cheesecakes, passionfruit and lime and strawberry and white chocolate flavour. Sure I would have loved a slab of normal cheesecake but like I said, I’m a sucker for all this stuff, and occasionally I like to indulge myself and buy into the dream.

18AEE11A-A8A5-4C8A-9841-3EA05FE84C79.JPG
The Raw Love Cafe
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Vegan cheesecake? Yes please

751F0DE0-36F6-44BB-A920-B877D5A23CA6.JPG

EEB50A25-4648-4EEB-BE60-B3964A857BBB.JPG

 

Taqueria La Eufemia

One of the best places we ate at was at the taqueria at La Eufemia beach bar. This taco restaurant was always packed but for good reason: The taco’s were incredible.

Like most places in Mexico, you order per taco, starting from just 20 pesos each ($1.30) each and I’d recommend ordering 2-4 depending on how hungry you are. We tried the veggie one, prawn and the grilled fish (which was my favourite). When the tacos came we went up to the bar and helped ourselves to toppings choosing from fresh herbs, onion, guacamole, fresh tomato sauce or sour cream. We also loved the fish ceviche (a salad with chopped white fish and vegetables) which was so fresh and citrusy.

IMG_7063IMG_7066

Pasha, Turkish and Arabic Cusine

One restaurant we stopped off at was Pasha and there couldn’t be a more ‘tulum’ restaurant than this. We had to pull up our bikes and stop for food here when we saw the hippie decor and low seats in this Turkish restaurant and it’s a good thing we did because the food was incredible.

There are tons of vegan and vegetarian options here and I could have eaten everything on the menu all day every day. The mezze platters looked especially fantastic.  Pasha does quite possibly the best falafel I’ve ever had as it was so fresh and fragrant. I went for the falafel pita which was fantastic. It came with tzatziki but you could have just substituted this for another dip to make it vegan.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Amazing falafel at Pasha

Prieto cafe 

There are great restaurants and cafes everywhere in Tulum, not just at the beach. I loved Prieto cafe in the main town which we stopped in for coffee a couple of times. They did fantastic coffees and the Iced chai latte with coconut milk was particularly good.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

You really need to rent a bike to get around in Tulum. Unless you want to pay a small fortune and actually stay in one of the beach bars then you’ll end up staying in the main town which is really the best place to be in the evening anyway.

The other option is to take a taxi but it’s much more expensive and one of the most fun things was just cycling along the beach road and stopping off whoever we saw somewhere that looked good to eat.

I hope that this post has given you a taste of just how foodie a place Tulum is. Know any other fantastic vegan and vegetarian places in Tulum? Be sure to let me know.

 

 

Eating My Way Around Brighton: Happy Maki Vegan Sushi Rolls

One of my goals for this summer was to be a tourist in my hometown and in my mind that means trying out as many food places as possible. As someone who loves eating I am so lucky to live in Brighton where there is every conceivable cuisine available and with so much competition whatever you get is almost guaranteed to be incredible. However I don’t know about anyone else but I have this bad habit of sticking to my favourite restaurants and cafes and not branching out that much and by doing this I’m missing out on all the fantastic new places that spring up all the time.

So I started to do a bit of research and a lot of talking about food and it turns out there are a ton of foodie favourites all over Brighton that I’ve not even heard of yet alone visited. Some of these exist outside of my normal walking routes, some of them are hiding in plain sight and some of them are places that I’ve just always discounted. Either way it seems that there’s a lot I’ve been missing out on in Brighton and it’s only when I started to look at the city through my ‘tourist tinted glasses’ that I realise how foodie a city Brighton really is. 52FD5C44-D476-4B14-87F1-B7F0087D569C.jpg

Happy Maki

ONE PLACE that I kept getting recommended was Happy Maki. This little place is known for it’s all vegan sushi rolls and it seems that it’s a bit of an institution in the city, so I thought I’d better check it out.

I didn’t really know if I was a vegan sushi roll kind of gal but there was only one way to find it out. This Brighton based company is located right by the coach station so I don’t know how I’ve missed it before. Either way today I went in and a new food obsession was born. It turns out I am most definitely a vegan sushi roll kind of gal.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

I could have eaten everything on the menu and I’m kicking myself for going to Pret for all these years. Rainbow sushi rolls, Thai sweet potato with roasted coconut and tereyaki sauce, ‘chicken’ with sweet chill sauce, I forgot the sushi rolls were even vegan. I went for the Beet and basil satay roll which came with beetroot, peanuts, satay sauce, avocado and chopped veg (ginger and wasabi optional). It was incredible. I don’t know what was more fun, watching them roll it in front of me or bringing it to the beach and taking these photos. Either way I’ll be back although at £6 a pop this could be a dangerous obsession.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Stay tuned for more food related posts in Brighton. I’m on a (sushi) roll. 

Anyone Else Getting Bored Of Brunch?

A few weeks ago nothing used to please me more than going for brunch. I loved the whole process of it. From getting out of the house bright and early, to ordering my favourite coffee, to pondering over scrambled eggs on sourdough toast or a bowl of shakshuka while eagerly anticipating the well framed photo and caption that I would later post on Instagram.

Then I went backpacking in Central America and after a few weeks of eating substantial and affordable meals, I came back and stared at a brunch menu and the entire thing seemed ludicrous.

Will it be eggs, avocado or halloumi today?

Nothing used to excite me more than anything on sourdough toast however now all I could think was £8? For eggs on toast when I could do it at home for a quarter of the price. Suddenly the entire brunch menu at my favourite cafe seemed overpriced and in all honesty a little dull. If I didn’t fancy avocado, eggs or halloumi then there was very little I could have and I started to feel like, well if I’m committing myself to spending a rather large amount of money eating out then I kind of wish I’d just waited for lunch.

Do I eat breakfast?

Not only did I not really fancy the food but I’d have to wait for the privilege too. I never really know if I should eat breakfast before. I mean if I wake up at eight and don’t eat then I’ll get very ‘hangry’ but if I do eat then I probably won’t be hungry when I get there. Also going for brunch has become as much of a calendar event on a Saturday morning as post work drinks on a Friday and eleven in the morning on the weekend in any brunch place means guaranteed queues, stressed staff and consequently,  burnt toast.

IMG_6119
Please stop taking photos of your food

PIMG_8543

 

But there’s still the photo right? That colourful picture of my avocado on sourdough toast is sure to Brighten up my Instagram feed. But then I thought, do I really care? How many pictures of brunches do I have on my phone and how many photos of brunch have I seen on my news feed today, let alone in the past week. In fact every time I log on to Social Media it’s like every account I follow have all become clones because if there’s not a photo of avocado toast or a well framed smoothie bowl then something seriously bad must have happened. In all honesty the whole thing has become quite boring.

So is this the end of brunch?

I’m sure there’s something wrong with me and my lack of enthusiasm for overpriced things on toast will soon go away but at the moment I may step back from my brunch habits and probably save a bit of cash in the process. In the meantime I might stick to making things at home, meeting for coffee or maybe just going for dinner. What ever happened to good old dinner?

Local guide: Where to find the best brunch in Brighton

Featured

A locals guide to Brighton’s most Instagrammable brunch and breakfast spots

I love going out for brunch. In fact if I didn’t go for brunch quite as much I’d probably be quite rich- I wouldn’t be as happy though. I don’t know if it’s the self-indulgent feeling of spending a lot of money on something I could have made at home, or the feeling of satisfaction I get from being so productive that I’m in town at 10 in the morning, but brunching has become the new going out for dinner, and there’s no better a city to get in on the trend than Brighton.

Whether you like you’re eggs runny, or your coffee extra strong, I’ve rounded up a list of the best places to ‘avo’ good brunch in Brighton.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Mange Tout

81 Trafalgar St, Brighton BN1 4EB

This independent french bistro is the epitome of what a saturday morning should be for me. Although small this bistro packs tables in and offers a low-key brunch experience, all featuring the very best of ingredients. The atmosphere is always bustling and casual chic, and the food is always divine. The eggs Benedict are always cooked to perfection and the Hollandaise sauce is always rich but never too much. There is also a fantastic a-la carte menu, ideal for a relaxed dinner with friends.IMG_6119

The Trading Post

36 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AB

You’d be far-fetched to get through this large brunch menu at one of Brighton’s trendiest cafes. Offering everything from Vegan breakfasts to Welsh Rarebit, this locals favourite spot is guaranteed to please everyone. The tea and coffee selection is extensive and the coffee beans are roasted on site. There is a large amount of seating here so its perfect for friends, but also has plenty of window seats and charging points, so it’s a great place to go and work too. IMG_8543

Black Mocha

103 Gloucester Rd, Brighton BN1 4AP

This coffee shop is hidden in the heart of the bustling North Laine and is deceptively large inside. There’s a small brunch menu that caters for everyone. The Shakshuka is particularly good, and there’s a large sections of pastries, cake and sandwiches that change regularly. Black Mocha is also the number one place in Brighton for hot chocolate, serving three varieties, including a vegan one, so it’s the ideal place for a hot chocolate and a morning pastry.IMG_8078.JPG

Red Roaster

1D St James’s St, Brighton BN2 1RE

This coffee roaster has always been known for its superb coffee beans but it’s recently had a refurbishment and its decor and cuisine is now cool enough to brighten up everyone’s feed. The decor is spacious, modern and suggests intellectual and inspiring conversations are happening. There’s plenty to choose from for brunch and lunch from burrito’s to waffles. The non-alcoholic cocktails are particularly good.IMG_2132

Cafe Plenty

3-4 circus parade, New England road, Brighton BN1 4GW

This trendy cafe is a 15 minute walk out of the main town which means that it tends to be frequented with locals rather than tourists. The ‘New York- modern’ decor is very Instagrammable and the food selection is extensive. This is the best place to go for fluffy american style pancakes, but there’s plenty of other options if you’re after something savoury. It’s the ideal place to base yourself for an hour with good company, as there’s plenty of seating. It’s very up to the minute with what’s going on in Brighton and regularly hosts artist private views, meet and greets and other events.

 

Know any other good brunch and breakfast spots in Brighton?Comment below and let me know.

Looking for more food inspiration in Brighton? Be sure to check out Happy Maki for their vegan sushi rolls: Eating My Way Around Brighton: Happy Maki Vegan Sushi Rolls

The chocolate Tartufo: Romes’ greatest indulgence

On Blue Monday, I thought everyone, myself included, could do with a little escapism. So here’s a little flashback back to a foodie moment on a trip to Rome. Cheers to sunnier days.

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

IMG_5652

The deep, rich taste of the chocolate grounds me to the spot. On the outside it’s adorned with a casing of jagged chocolate fragments. The bitterness exacerbated from the coldness of it. On top it is decorated with the ornateness of Rome’s buildings,  a swirl of cream, a pirouline perched delicately on top.  The whole thing presented in a paper dress. Beneath this facade is something  even more wondrous. Denser than ice-cream, colder than a mousse, each tiny spoonful is a wonderful culmination of the 13 different varieties of chocolate that are paired together,  in a secret recipe,  to make Ristorante Tre Scalini’s famous Tartufo,  in Rome.

I’ve got to be honest, this trip to Italy’s capital city was a little bit of a food pilgrimage for me. Italy, the country where the pasta is fresher and the gelato is creamier than anywhere else and Rome itself, the city that the Tartufo was invented.

If you look for this chocolate ice-cream truffle outside of the city, you’ll be disappointed. But in Ristorante Tre Scalini, who still use the original recipe from 1946, the foundations of this Tartufo run as deep as that of the buildings that make up this ancient city.

Located in the heart of Rome’s main square, Piazza Navona, the restaurant is one indifferent to any of the other plush restaurants that frequent the rim of the piazza. However look a little closer and you see it’s not risotto that the tourists are clutching their silverware in anticipation for, it’s the tartufo. It’s famous in the city, and it’s this that the waiters are bringing over on silver trays.

The recipe, said to have been invented by the Ciampini family, is still shrouded in secrecy. There have been numerous attempts to replicate it across the country, but the undisputed winner is still the original. Like most good Italian gelato, the dessert is closer to black in colour than a brown. It’s dense enough to savour for while and get your money’s worth: the 10 euro, eat in price tag is a heavy one, but sweet enough to have you going back for more.

There’s plenty to devour in Rome;  The Colosseum, The Pantheon and Vatican City, but Sampling Tre Scalinis’ Tartufo, is what Rome is really about.