Terre a Terre (Brighton)

I eat out at least twice a week, but generally don't reblog restaurants over an over. Terre a Terre gets a yearly mention however, because its food is simply amongst the best in the UK.

Our latest trip was under the guise of Brighton Vegfest, which we travelled down from the Midlands for the day for (see separate post).

We'd eaten dessert at Food for Friends an hour before sitting down for a 3 course meal at Terre a Terre, so it's safe to say we were pretty stuffed.

In my last blog post I complained about the lack of vegan options - that sometimes there's a few, other times a distinct lack. This time however almost ever item on the menu was either V or VO! I doubt they've taken on board my comments personally, but hopefully the overall message has gotten through and this trend will continue.

The menu choice is large, however there's a definite re-use of ingredients between dishes. Perhaps we got unlucky or ordered the wrong things, but it'd be good to experience new flavours with each course.

I'm nit picking - this trip was our best ever to Terre a Terre. I'm glad we don't live closer (could get expensive), but with the recent closure of Saf; London really does need another 'high end' option to rival Manna V.

Is that the supreme master sitting behind @cherrivalentine?

We ordered a couple of starters:
Tarator Tomatoes (v) 6.10
Smoked Sundried tomatoes with beetroot, walnut and flat leaf parsley tarator and focaccia fingers.

Bison Bon Bon Beet’s (gf/vo) 8.95
Pumpkin terrine tarator with bison beetroot vodka verrine, slipcote sheeps cheese bon bons soaked in dill oil with caraway pepper salt, served with a sage onion fritter biscuit, brittle walnut crumble and apple balsamic.
Due to a mix up, we got an extra starter for free (if we'd have been starving this would have been perfect!):
Smoked Tomato and Rocket Salad (vo/gf) 6.10
Leafy salad of rocket, lashings of herbs and smoked tomatoes, shaved Grana Padano dressed with lemon and extra virgin olive oil scattered with tamari oven roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds
This was the best - by far. Horseradish icecream is not something I've had the pleasure of trying before, but it really did work with the middle column. On the left was the aforementioned tomato paste (which I'm not sure really worked) and on the right a shot of vodka tasting beatroot soup. I mentioned previously my bemusement at Terre's obsession with using neat vodka in dishes. It was just a little too strong for us - with less vodka it'd have been more edible.

I let my obsession with bread get the better of me with this dish, which was more of a 'nibbles for 2 to share' than starter in its own right:

I've eaten far, far better focaccia, but far worse too. I'd class it Tesco standard rather than Waitrose (although both companies seem to be using the same supplier currently). This is the one dish where the tomato 'tarator' actually worked for me - it made the bread a lot more tasty. The smoked sundried tomatoes were new to me - definitely nice to try.

The token salad was pretty nice. The tofu was the best part, although in stingy quantity (we counted 3 pieces):

Main course didn't quite hit the spot for me. It was good to see a lot more choice, but it was my least favourite part:
Aubergine Dengaku (v/gf) 14.50
Slow soft sake baked aubergine sizzled with tahini, sesame and white miso finish served with edamame and yuzu pesto, sesame ginger dressed Arame Wakame vegetable thread salad and a hibiscus, amchur, nori salt dusted puffed rice seaweed cracker.

Bison and Beet Rosti (gf/vo) 14.65
Crispy fried potato, onion and garlic rosti topped with sage baked butternut squash, walnut beetroot and smoked tomato tarator. Finished with fresh slipcote sheeps cheese and beetroot bison vodka sauce.
I've not tried one of their rostis before, which seem to be a standard part of the menu. Frankly, I don't really understand it - it's not something I associate with restaurant food. It also seemed to be an amalgamation of our starters - the same beatroot soup (without the strong vodka taste), some of the salad, tofu and a big splodge of the tomato paste.

It wasn't as much of a miss as last year's main course across the road at Aloka, but I wouldn't order it again - not for £15.

I can't really comment on @cherrivalentine's main as I don't really like aubergine very much! :)

The noodle salad with it was very good though - we've had it before as part of the meze and were pleased to see it again.

I was uncomfortably full by this point. There were 2 desserts, one of which was churros (which I personally don't understand - see previous post for details). I was delighted to see frangepane though:
Frangipane Sizzle Dates (gf/v) 6.85
with mint tea granita and lemon and mint pomegranate gazpacho.
A couple of years ago I had the most amazing frangipane at Terre a Terre - I've been looking forward to its return since. I was therefore disappointed to find when it arrived that it was actually just a couple of dates with paste inside:

This dessert really hit the spot though. The dates were warm, sticky and delicious. Honestly I don't think I could have fit a frangipane tart anyway! The crushed minty ice was refreshing and a perfect way to finish the meal. The pomegranate and berries were good too, although 'gazpacho' is a slight over exaggeration :)

I'm really pleased to see more vegan choice on Terre a Terre's menu. More desserts would be welcome though and an explanation of what the vegan option is on the menu would be extremely useful. Their substitutions are for the most part reasonable (unlike a recent trip to The Warehouse in Birmingham, where the dish just totally didn't work without the strong taste of cheese), but if you know what's coming then you can plan around duplication of ingredients.

We left feeling full and content - the bill was not at all bad considering the quality of food we'd eaten. Open a branch in The Midlands please!


  1. Emma said...:

    Saf closed?! I'm out of the country for 2 months and that happened? What a shame :( It looks like I'll have to make a weekend trip to Brighton though to do a bit of vegan sampling...nice to see somewhere serving more gourmet vegan food too, although shame about the appearance of cheese about the place. The eggplant dengaku sounds divine to me!

  1. Anonymous said...:

    I agree about the duplication of flavours between dishes - always annoys and strikes me as pretty lazy for such an upmarket and expensive joint. You really have to read between the lines to avoid it.

    I also agree that the vegan substitutions should be listed on the menu to help you judge how the meal will taste.

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