Food for Friends (Brighton)

We last visited Food for Friends back in March (I thieved the above photo from my previous post), vowing to return for an evening meal. Having visited more than a decade ago I'd avoided it for years as their vegan choices failed to inspire. Back in March we were impressed by the desserts we tried, so decided to give it the benefit of the doubt.

They've currently a 3 courses for £19.99 offer, which seemed too good to miss. We broke the golden rule of never ordering the same thing and went for the same starter:
Tofu Pockets (v,gf)
Sweet tofu cases; one filled with brown basmati rice, oyster mushrooms, and spring onions, the other with smoked tofu coriander and wasabi rice, both served with enoki mushrooms, sweet pickled cucumber, ginger and mirin dressing
As a lover of Inarizushi the beancurd pouches (although slightly unorthodox) didn't disappoint. Surrounding it was what can best be described as deconstructed sushi, which sadly translated to be more lazy than genius. Still, the overall dish was visually appealing and I would eat it again.

There was only one vegan main course option:
Courgette, Tomato and Cannelini Bean Cassoulet (v,n)
With a crispy rosemary polenta cake, basil pesto, steamed summer greens and topped with a fresh broad bean and parsley salsa
As far as cassoulet goes; this was one of the best I've ever tasted. Overall flavour was delicious, with plenty of perfectly cooked ingredients.

It should however have been a starter, with a selection of crusty bread - it didn't really hold up as a main course on its own. The polenta cake it came with was tiny and did nothing to soak up the lovely gravy. We ordered a bread basket to eat it with, but it wasn't particularly good quality and didn't really work as we hoped.

The only vegan desserts were those that we tried last time:
Rich dark chocolate truffle torte (v,n)
Baked on a hazelnut biscuit base served with berry compote

Hot cinnamon apple and pear fritters (v,gf,s)
Served with vanilla ice cream and a sweet sesame sauce
Both appeared slightly different to last time, but their fritters are still exceptionally good (the batter on Terre a Terre's banana fritters is poor in comparison).

For £20 a head Food for Friends is great value. For such a long established vegetarian restaurant with so much competition nearby the vegan options however remain uninspiring. They also don't seem to change very often, which is a shame considering that it professes to be a seasonal menu.

If they add some more options then we'd happily return. Until then there's just too many other places with more adventurous vegan menus a short walk away.

Moshi Moshi (Brighton)

As if Brighton needs any more vegan food options! I don't generally review non-vegetarian restaurants, unless they've an extensive list of vegan options on the standard menu and are genuinely worth visiting. Despite all of the exclusively vegetarian places nearby; Moshi Moshi definitely falls within this category.

The building's architecture is loosely based on shoin-zukuri style, with large glass walls (decorated to look like shoji screens) that can be slid outwards when weather allows. On a rainy day it looks a little odd, but if you google image search "Moshi Moshi Brighton" you'll see what I mean. Inside the single room is full of light, with a large conveyor belt system around the centre and standard tables around the edge:

Many of the vegan dishes are on the conveyor, however we opted for a table instead and ordered items specially to ensure they'd been prepared specifically for vegans. Unfortunately this meant that each item was full price rather than discounted, but it was worth it for peace of mind.

Service was quick, friendly and attentive. Dishes took 5-10 minutes to be prepared from ordering, which meant we were able to order additional ones once we'd figured out what we did and didn't like.

We started with a vegan sushi set and a few other dishes from around the menu:
Faroes £10.30
Mushroom teriyaki, natto & spring onion gunkan; tofu teriyaki nigiri;
vegetarian, inari, 2 ume plum & cucumber and 2 tofu, mizuna , sun dried tomato,
red onion & cucumber maki

Edamame salted soy beans £2.90
Pop these beans out of their pods to enjoy this superfood
Chilli Noodle £2.90
Chilled somen noodles in a hot flavored spicy Korean sauce on a bed of cucumber
Crispy vegetable gyoza dumplings £3.20
Little parcels of finely chopped vegetables, lightly fried
We then ordered extra inari maki (my favourite) and umi temaki (Cherry's favourite):
Temaki: Ume pickled plum & cucumber £2.40

Maki: Inari tofu, celery, red radish, lettuce & kampyo £2.40
I've always like inarizushi (beancurd pouches filled with rice), but inari tofu is like all kinds of awesome.

We ate and enjoyed the whole meal, costing under £35 including soft drinks. On Mondays and Tuesdays it's currently half price, which is exceptional value.

The edamame beans weren't as good as Ping Pong's, but everything else was as good as or better than we've tried elsewhere. Even the natto wasn't offensive (though I still don't know why you voluntarily would order it on its own!).

Brighton has many vegan food choices, but we'll definitely be returning to Moshi Moshi again when we're next down. It's currently my favourite only to Terre a Terre - I'd choose it over Itadaki-Zen in London any day.