Don’t know what to do for your special someone this Valentines? Prepare a date or dish with help from this spread…
As Cupid’s arrow is
set to fly on February 14th, why not make that
arrow cruelty free? Here are my Brighton herbivorous Valentine’s restaurant suggestions…
Baby Bao @ The Pond
49 Gloucester Road
Price range: £
Vibe: Omnivorous, pop-up street food in a cosy pub with a chill vibe.
Baby Bao is a Taiwanese street food kitchen at The Pond pub. I always end up getting drawn in by the promise of a nice pint of craft beer and a fluffy Taiwanese rice bun in a chilled pub atmosphere. Ever since moving to Brighton, it has been the place that I have taken my friends, and even my parents, to show them food that is a little different.
Baby Bao offers vegan fillings such a
s panko coated squash with miso mayo, pineapple, gem lettuce, sriracha and coriander, mushroom bulgogi with sweet and sour sauce, miso mayo and crispy fried shallots, or their brand new tempura smoked tofu bao.
Their small plates are also incredible – kimchinis (Asian style arancini) and a sesame, soy roasted aubergine that simply melts in your mouth. These are just a few of their plentiful vegan options.
However, their donut bao filled with black sesame ice cream with condensed milk or a peanut butter ice cream with jam are the real star of the show, it’s just the way the hot sugary donut melts the ice cream in the middle that tempts me every time!
The Pond even holds ‘Meat-Free’ Mondays, so if you don’t fancy being surrounded by animal flesh whilst you dig into your tofu, that may be the day for you! If only Valentine’s Day didn’t fall on a Thursday this year…
The people behind the magic have also started up a new venture offering Indian street food! It’s called ‘Easy Tiger’ and is based at The Hampton pub on Upper North Street so keep your eyes peeled for that too.
Price range: ££
Vibe: Omnivorous, warm, friendly and intimate restaurant.
If you’re looking for a more romantic evening, La Choza on Gloucester Road offers table service, Mexican food, and is just a minute’s walk from The Pond. Whilst they have another location in Hove, I find the North Laines restaurant a little more intimate as it is smaller.
Come rain or shine, this restaurant has always been a solid choice for me, particularly for dates. The atmosphere is chilled, the staff are helpful and attentive, while also allowing you to take your time, especially if you’re enjoying that time with a special someone.
Their specials change regularly, but I recently tried t
heir vegan chorizo tacos which were insane. The meat substitute can even be turned into a burrito or quesadilla if that’s more your style. You can personalise your salsa too (which also change often) to meet your spice needs, depending on how hot you want your date to get…
Of course, their Mexican cocktails have a big tequila influence, and they are pretty good too. Especially as they do 2 for 1 margaritas on Mondays to make sure you’re starting the week right. The churros and chocolate sauce are also vegan which is an absolute game changer, especially as I’m not usually a dessert person.
I really advise you head down for your fix of vegan tacos, churros and margaritas on Cupid’s special day. Or why not schedule your date for the Wednesday? Any time of the year they offer 20% off for students and NHS staff. There really is nothing hotter than a bargain.
Price range: ££-£££
Vibe: A vegetarian/vegan restaurant for a special occasion.
Now, if you’re looking for a more cloth-napkin affair, Food for Friends in The Lanes may be better suited to you. They were featured in The Sunday Times Top Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants and in The Good Food Guide 2018, so their reputation obviously precedes them.
The restaurant is welcoming, the atmosphere is smart, yet not pretentious, and the menu is diverse. It is interesting enough that anyone, meat eaters included, feel right at home.
They have even released their special Valentine’s Day menu, and with offerings such as king oyster scallops with creamed cauliflower purée, baby florets and house kimchi, as well as a spiced Moroccan tagine with ras el hanout spice, preserved lemon, apricot, prunes, buckwheat tabbouleh and dressed greens, it may be worth splashing the cash a little for this special occasion.
Be in-the-know on all of the latest dinner digs at Rosie’s @porkbellyandtofu on Instagram.
Don’t miss out!