Brighton Day 2: Shopping, Stormy Seas & Scandi Food

Monday, 4 April 2016

Brighton Streets
Welcome to day two of my Brighton photo diary! If you missed day one, you can check it out here.

Anywho, after our first day enjoying the bright, sunny weather it wasn’t quite as summery on our second day in Brighton. It was cloudy for the majority of the day and we were wary that it might start chucking it down with rain any minute. Nevertheless, we left our Airbnb relatively early and had a wander down into town to get some breakfast.

I had a few different places on my hit list but we happened to wander by Wai Kika Moo Kau in the North Laines and thought it looked pretty great from the outside so decided to give it a go. A vegetarian and vegan café restaurant, Wai Kika Moo Kau (literally pronounced ‘why kick a moo cow’) serves anything from veggie full English breakfasts to tapas and vegan cakes and they offer vegan options for all of their hot drinks, too. My Other Half went for the Full Veggie Breakfast while I chose the Full Vegan Breakfast, a hearty plate of two vegan sausages, marinated tofu, beans, a baked tomato with green pesto, mushrooms, hash browns and wholemeal toast served with tea or coffee.

Wai Kika Moo Kau Full Vegan Breakfast

I was certainly not disappointed! The breakfast was filling and delicious and although it tasted like a guilty pleasure and felt indulgent, it didn’t leave me with the same greasy, full feeling I used to get when I ate non-vegan English breakfasts. Back when I used to eat meat, if I started the day off with one of those then I pretty much had to give the rest of the day a miss because I felt excessively full and gross, but this had me ready and raring to go for the day ahead. The atmosphere in the café was very busy – we arrived just before the rush – but the service was friendly and attentive and although it was bustling, we didn’t feel overwhelmed or like it was too busy. Wai Kika Moo Kau has a really cosy, homely feel and if the breakfast I enjoyed was anything to go by, I can’t wait to visit again to try more of their menu.

Shops in Brighton
Brighton Street Art 
Shops on Gardner Street, Brighton
Fountain in central Brighton

After breakfast we spent a few hours just wandering around Brighton popping into shops in and around the Laines and seeing what there was. The grey cast from the weather doesn’t do it much justice, but it really is a bright and vibrant town both in colour and aesthetic as well as feel. There are lots of little patches of amazing street art intermingled with quirky shop signs and pretty, pastel seaside homes and there’s something cool to spot on every street.

Among other places we stopped by, the Other Half visited a guitar shop he’d been hearing about for years, and I got to nip into Collectif (and continue to wish I had the time, patience and money to look full on pin-up all the time).  I had to stop myself buying a Pusheen plushie in another quirky little store!  We stopped for a drink at Infinity Foods Kitchen and had a quick walk around the Royal Pavilion, which is really a sight to behold and looks both so out of place and so fitting in the town centre. Built in a style popular in India at the time, it was completed in the early 1800s and is surrounded by some lovely gardens and can be toured inside for a fee that was just a little bit too expensive for us to consider. I imagine it looks beautiful during spring and summer when more of the flowers are in bloom, and it’s a really unique piece of Brighton that I’d love to see the inside of one day.

Brighton Pavilion

Brighton Pavilion

After a bit more of a wander (and my patience quickly draining from walking all day in a busy city) we settled down in the Loving Hut in St Peter Place. A little almost greasy spoon-like café with outdoor seating, it’s really tiny but serves a variety of things that are – much to my delight – all vegan! Again, I didn’t get to try the many, many things on the menu that I fancied and I still felt a bit full up from breakfast, but it was still an enjoyable lunch.

Vegan Caprese Panini at the Loving Hut, Brighton


The other half went for a falafel wrap with a gorgeous mint yoghurt dressing, and I opted for something a little bit more simple in the form of a Caprese panini with vegan mozzarella, tomato, red onion and basil. It was simple and tasty, although as usual I remain sceptical of vegan cheese because the taste was fine but the texture reminded me a lot of those awful, cheap ‘imitation cheese singles’ you can get. That aside, it was still a great lunch and much like the other vegetarian and vegan places we’ve eaten, the buzz from customers and staff alike was welcoming and lovely – the atmosphere you get in veggie restaurants has just been amazing in my experience so far, everyone is always just so delighted to be surrounded by a whole menu of edible choices instead of one or two options, and like-minded people!

Bellies full to bursting again, we went down to the pier and oh boy was it windy. The waves were crashing onto the shore and more than a few people were getting splashed and sprayed trying to get as close as they could or snap a quick photo opportunity. The pier was still busy though, and there’s not really much to say about it beyond it being a classic example of fun, British seaside garishness!

Stormy seas at Brighton Pier
Brighton Wheel

Brighton Pier
Waves beneath Brighton Pier
 Seagull Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier
Seagull

Seagull
We ended our stroll in a few of the bars that we visited the day before and liked, and after more than a few beers it started to get dark and chuck it down with rain and we headed over to try out the Northern Lights, a Scandinavian bar that had been recommended to us by our Airbnb hosts, before we headed over to the dinner we booked at a nearby Indian place that sounded good. We were hoping the bar would have some of the Icelandic beers Chris had tried and loved a while back, and it sounded like it was just a generally cool idea that we fancied checking out.

In an old fisherman’s cottage in the South Lanes, Northern Lights is a relaxed but still somehow classy pub and restaurant that serves a variety of Scandinavian dishes and drinks and caters to everyone from people wanting to pop in for a couple of drinks to others wanting a delicious sit down meal (to those who want to get bladdered, too). We were instantly in love with it when we walked in and, yes, they had those beers and they were amazing! The Einstök Pale Ale and in particular the stunning White Ale are made with glacier water and the crispness and flavour of the White Ale in particular was just unlike any beer I’ve ever tasted before. I’m still a newbie to beers and my palette hasn’t quite adjusted to them yet, but that White Ale was incredible, and Einstök is a vegan friendly brewing company too!

Enjoying Einstök at Northern Lights, Brighton
As we enjoyed our drinks we perused the menu and were amazed to see that they actually had vegan options on their menu including an awesome sounding taster-platter, so the Other Half was able to have a fish-based platter and I could have a vegan version. It didn’t take us long to quickly cancel our other dinner reservation and settle in for the night, and the food was just what we wanted.

Vegan platter at Northern Lights, BrightonI’ve only included a small photo of my meal because it was quite dark and all of my slightly inebriated shots turned out kind of crappy, but it was fantastic! I had vegan ‘meat’balls, beetroot falafels, pickled mushrooms, a bulgur salad and a variety of chutneys and jams with rye bread and it hit the spot. I was surprised by how much I loved the pickled mushrooms too; just goes to show everything is better pickled.

The bar was really chilled out but after we ate we started to notice strange things happening and the staff putting up signs and tape and fiddling with a few things for a party and a couple of staff bizarrely dressed as nurses. Eventually – when they put the world’s weirdest oval shaped condoms and some ‘pill boxes’ full of sweets on our table – they explained that it was the bar’s birthday and they were having a theme night inspired by what would happen if the NHS was privatised. The condoms, incidentally, we from Poundland and there were amusing little brand advertisements snuck into sight-testing charts pinned to the wall and we were promised that if we came back later we’d be cured of any and all ailments – we were torn between whether to stay or go! We opted to go in the end and head back to Brewdog to try some of the beers we’d wanted to taste the day before, but we almost instantly regretted it and wished we were more spontaneous and embraced the friendly wackiness of it all. In any case, I hope Northern Lights had a great birthday and I honestly can’t wait to visit again; it was definitely the highlight of the trip for me.

After a few more drinks and walking around in the rain we popped over to see the pier lit up at night and then headed back to our Airbnb for a relatively early night, having worn ourselves out walking almost non-stop all day. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make the most of our Sunday as not only was the weather forecast a bit ominous, but it being Easter Sunday nowhere was even going to be open until later. Luckily, we were glad we decided to leave when we did as the heavens opened on the drive back and it was torrential. I could barely see two feet in front of the car and the wipers struggled to keep the windscreen clear for more than a fraction of a second so, uh, good choice to go home when we did after all.

Brighton Pier at night
Brighton Pier at night

All in all, I’m so excited to go back to Brighton. You’d need a full week there to go to all of the well-known vegan food places, and I’d love to go for walks nearby and back up at Devil’s Dyke one weekend when the weather is a little more reliable.

I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at my trip; have you ever visited any of these places, and do you have any recommendations for my next Brighton visit?

4 comments

  1. Your pictures are amazing!

    Clare X

    www.ruthandclare.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. So glad that you had a wonderful time in my city! I'm so lucky to live here!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gosh, Brighton looks so beautiful, I can't believe I've never gone. :(

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your blog is the coolest! Brighton looks so lovely, by the sea, with all the pastel coloured houses, so pretty! You capture it beautifully, I wish I could visit :D xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara | (doing follow for follow on bloglovin or instagram)

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