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.

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