In recent months, I have steadily made my way around some of Brighton’s best known vegetarian restaurants.
This has been quite an enlightening experience and one that has made me think differently about how I use vegetables in my own cooking at home. The amount of preparation and detail that has gone into many of the dishes I have eaten has been impressive. I had yet to try Food for Friends and having heard many good things about the restaurant in recent months I was delighted to get an invite from a friend to join him for dinner.
Upon arrival I was greeted by the welcoming and attentive staff before being taken to my table. It is quite an intimate space and has a pleasant relaxed feel which I liked. They offer a three course set menu for £25.90 which I thought represented excellent value. Their current seasonal offering included lots of wintry flavours and festive influences with some more exotic choices also available. I go a little off-piste for my starter choosing the Za’atar battered courgette flower (£7.50) to start before returning to the seasonal menu for my other courses.
When my starter arrived it really looked the part. Filled with a tart goat cheese mousse and a sweet and spicy coulis on the side it was the light and refreshing start to the meal that my taste buds needed. For my main I had the Jerusalem artichoke fritters with caramelised turnip gyoza (£13.75). I am quite into Jerusalem artichokes currently, despite their gastrointestinal notoriety, and I liked the sound of the Japanese influences in the dish. The dish was well presented and the plate had a fantastic variety of textures and flavours that held my interest throughout. The braised leeks I thought were excellent, especially the cylindrical offerings that encompassed my main meal. Spiced plum sauce added a wonderful fruity sweetness and the citrus notes from lemongrass really lifted what could have felt like a heavy dish. I was reliably informed by my dining partner that the desserts were not to be missed and chose the spiced poached pear with Cointreau mousse, orange powder and a flax and chia seed snap (£7.50). Another elegantly presented plate of delightfully soft sweet pear with a slightly boozy mousse and a crisp caramel shard was presented to me. The flavours all combined perfectly and I scoffed the lot without hesitation. Food for Friends is certainly an enjoyable dining experience and one that I would recommend. I enjoyed each of my courses and would have had to try hard to find fault, which is surprising given my mood on that night. I found the dishes all made sense with each element adding something to the plate.
Food for Friends
17-18 Prince Albert Street, BN1 1HF