Having not planned to go to Aloka at all we ended up going twice whilst staying in Brighton, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The first time was randomly after eating a big meal at Terre a Terre. As we left and found it almost directly opposite we thought it'd be rude to not at least check it out.
Decor wise I love Aloka, I've somewhat of a lighting fetish and really like their chandelier. Their seats are unusual and comfortable (apart from the wooden ones in the window, which are best avoided).
We ordered a couple of cakes: a cupcake and a slice of chocolate biscuit cake. First impressions on food? Not that good; the cupcake was dry and biscuit cake so-so. We were however intrigued by their raw cashew cheese, so vowed to return at some point over the next 48 hours.
We ended up returning the following lunchtime, when they have a pay by weight buffet laid out. We attempted to order off their standard menu, but only managed to acquire the cheese from it.
I wasn't overly taken by the idea of the buffet, but am super glad I tried. The only buffets I'd been to previously are the all you can eat type, so weighing seemed like a bit of a con to me. The food was however good quality and our plates came to £5 and £6 each, which is very reasonable for a sit down lunch.
The deep fried seiten things were a little strange, but I'd happily eat them again. The filo parcels were really good, with butternut squash, pesto and various other things contained within. Nothing else really stood out, but the whole meal was fresh, flavoursome and pleasing (with exception of perhaps the polenta, which wasn't so great).
Having been impressed by the cashew cheese at Saf we were sadely less so by Aloka's attempt. They must be congratulated for their inclusion of a sensible number of raw tortilla chips with it (something Saf scrimped on), however they were more bendy than crispy which was a little odd!
The cheese itself was more paste like than cheese like, but it was pleasant enough. I suspect it was made with a less sophisticated recipe than Saf's, who actually ferment the cashew milk. I'd probably eat it again but not rush back for it.
When in Brighton again I'd certainly return to Aloka, both for their lunch buffet and to try their evening raw menu. I recommend that others do the same :)
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