Brighton Day 1: Devil's Dyke, Sunshine & Vegan Pizza

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Sunny Day at Brighton
Over the bank holiday weekend, we went on a short break to Brighton! Honestly, half of the appeal of going there was just knowing that it’s basically the vegan capital of the UK and I’d be spoiled for choice for places to eat, but I was also excited to just get out and see the seaside and go to a few cool bars. Where I live at the moment isn’t as bad as it apparently used to be a few years back, but there isn’t really much in the way of decent bar scenes around and there’s no vegan food to be found beyond the odd chain, unless I want to pay to trek into London and pay even more for everything once I’m there. Plus, with it’s awesome LGBTQ scene and being run by the Green Party, I can’t see anything not to like about Brighton.

We got up early to drive over, but before we headed into the city we stopped by Devil’s Dyke to take advantage of the great weather and check out the view. We got incredibly lucky with the weather on our first day; the forecast predicted a mostly miserable bank holiday weekend with the Friday being the only decent day, and boy was it good! The sun was shining all day and I immediately regretted bringing a coat out to the seaside later.

Devil's Dyke Signpost

View from Devil's Dyke

View from Devil's Dyke

Devil's Dyke
Wind-beaten Tree at Devil's Dyke

The valley was beautiful and thanks to the clear skies, we could see all the way to Brighton and Hove and way off into the opposite direction too. We were really impressed with the views; we’re not used to seeing many hilly places down south but it reminded us a bit of being back up in Derbyshire or somewhere like that. Lord knows there aren’t many hills to climb where we live in Surrey!  It looks like there’s plenty of great walks to go on there too, and since the drive is only about an hour or so away, we’re really hoping to just hop in the car and head back with a picnic to go for a walk one day when the weather’s nice in the future.

Devil’s Dyke also seems to be a popular spot for hang gliders and we were lucky enough to catch a few of them flying around above us while we were there (though unfortunately my photos of them weren’t the best).

Hang Glider at Devil's Dyke
After our brief spell in the countryside, we parked up the car near our Airbnb and walked down to the seaside to take advantage of the sun before we had to check in. I almost immediately regretted bringing my coat – it was so sunny and warm! We had a walk around to get the lay of the land and then wandered over to Boho Gelato to grab some ice cream to enjoy on the beach.

Brighton Pier
Brighton Beach
Boho Gelato Vegan Peanut Butter & Salted Caramel Sorbet

Although their selection is mostly dairy ice creams, Boho Gelato also apparently always stock a couple of vegan flavours so it immediately went on my hit list. Much to my delight, they had the peanut butter and salted caramel sorbet in when we went, and wow. It was delicious, complete with big chunks of salted caramel with peanuts and it really hit the spot. Sitting by the ocean with an ice cream you’d hardly guess it was the end of March and not the middle of summer.

After a chill-out on the pebbly beach, we headed back to check in to our accommodation. It was about a fifteen minute or so walk to the city centre and was our first experience of an Airbnb shared with the owners. Our hosts were lovely and really helpful, and the room itself was just what we needed and even opened out onto our own private little terrace. Once our bags were dropped off and we grabbed the keys, we headed back out to forage for some lunch and decided on going to Hobgoblin to sample some of the apparently amazing burgers.

Hobgoblin Troll's Pantry: Gaea's Bounty Vegan Burger

Hobgoblin doesn’t look like much – just your standard student-y pub (which Chris insisted smelled of sick inside, which I didn’t notice at all…) – but the burger menu looked incredible and had rave reviews, on top of having a menu of vegetarian and vegan options. We grabbed a table outside and made our orders; Chris went for the Paladin, which was the most pure and basic beef burger with cheese and wild garlic mayonnaise, and I went for Gaea’s Bounty, the vegan burger with a garlic, walnut and daikon (Japanese white radish). They arrived in their own little parcels street food-style, and oh were we impressed. Mine in particular was incredible and although the Other Half loved his, he said mine was by far better and the flavour combination of the patty, walnut and pickled daikon was just amazing. Although not a vegan or vegetarian menu, the products they use for their food are high quality and the beef is even sourced from a local conservation project, using free range cattle that roam wild across 3000 acres of land, so if you’re going to eat beef then this is the kind of ethical source worth backing. I’ll definitely be hunting that burger down again next time I go to Brighton!

After lunch we headed out for a bit more of a wander and started working our way through some of the other bars and pubs, trying out some places like the King & Queens pub and the Brewdog bar. Once dinner came, it was off to another restaurant I was keen to try: Purezza, an all vegan pizzeria!

Purezza Vegan Cheesy Garlic Bread & Puttanesca Pizza

Purezza Vegan Quattro Stagioni Pizza & Apple Pie Calzone

A little restaurant on St. James’s Street, Purezza’s menu is affordable and uses fresh ingredients to create Italian, plant-based vegan options. Being a huge pizza lover, trying this place out was a no-brainer and Chris was happy to go. Even the drinks are vegan, with both of us opting for a Vegan Society approved Brighton Bier. To start, we ordered some marinated olives and cheesy garlic bread, and both of us were pretty much in love with the garlic bread. The ‘cheese’ – although it didn’t quite taste like normal, dairy cheese – was great, and the garlic and rosemary was delicious, but the bread itself was a real winner and we would love to know how to get that perfect thin and crispy but somehow still soft and doughy base.

For mains, I ordered the Puttanesca with capers, peppers, red onions and black olives and Chris went for the Quattro Stagioni with olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and seitan salami. Both of these were amazing, but the Quattro Stagioni was definitely the more flavoursome and I kind of regretted following my caper addiction to my choice!  It was also my first experience of seitan (I've never managed to find it anywhere?!) and I loved it.  Again, the base was wonderful and both pizzas were filling and luxurious but didn’t leave us with that icky full-ish feeling that some pizzas can give you. So, naturally, I had to have a dessert too and went for the apple pie calzone; a big calzone filled with apples, sultanas sweetened with agave, served with one of a few ice creams from (again!) Boho Gelato. I went for the Hazelnut Coffee option. The dessert was nice, but wasn’t exactly mind-blowing, and in all honesty I could’ve probably made a more exciting apple pie filling myself. The ice cream was wonderful though, and the dough they used for it was, again, incredible.

Sadly, our experience wasn’t all positive – the food at Purezza was fantastic and I would love to go back and eat my way through their menu, but the service left something to be desired. When we were there, it wasn’t even full – there were empty tables the entire time we were there – but the service was unbelievably slow at times and it was very difficult to actually flag down a server. When we looked around, half the time the staff were just standing around chatting to each other while we were sitting there with empty plates or waiting for the bill. They were all polite and pleasant enough and we certainly felt welcome, but the waits between courses and after our meal just got a bit ridiculous by the end. I’ll go back for the food no question, but if I have a limited amount of time for my lunch or dinner I’ll definitely go somewhere else where I can rely on service actually being attentive and prompt.

After a very long dinner we were knackered and headed back to our Airbnb for a snooze. To find out what we got up to on day two, stay tuned for my next post on Sunday!

What did you get up to on your Good Friday? Have you ever tried any of these food places in Brighton?

4 comments

  1. Wonderful pictures! That ice cream looks amazing <3

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was delicious, I have dreams about that ice cream. xD

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  2. Oh gosh, that pb&salted caramel thing sounds amazing! Two of my favourite flavours really.

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    Replies
    1. It was awesome! I've had a dairy version before I went vegan but this one was def. better because big chunks of salted caramel peanutty goodness win at everything.

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