Vegetarians and vegans are pretty well catered for here in Brighton & Hove. We have two award-winning vegetarian restaurants in the Lanes; Food for Friends and Terre a Terre. Then there are two outlets each for Iydea and Foodilic, where the meals are less fancy, less expensive but still delicious and nutritious.
Brighton is also crammed with many excellent Indian, Sri Lankan, Chinese, Thai, Lebanese and Turkish restaurants, which all offer a variety of meat-free options, while even the grand old, meaty, English pubs usually offer a vegetarian option for the traditional Sunday roast.
A new, independent, ethical supermarket, hiSbe (how it Should be), with the slogan, ‘happiness before profits’, does sell meat, poultry and other animal products, but these are organic and locally-sourced, while old favourites, Infinity Foods also has a café around the corner from its rather over-priced store on North Road.
For those who want to start their day the veggie/vega way, here’s the first (of many!) BTN TOP TEN lists, what better way to begin than with the BTN TOP TEN of Best Veggie Breakie Venues in Brighton & Hove?
Get your knife and fork out… and here we go!
- Wai Kika Moo Kau
With a simple café layout in the pedestrianised Kensington Gardens and a menu inspired by flavours and cooking from around the world, Wai Kika Moo Kau offers a superb selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes in Brighton’s North Laine district.
The Mini veggie breakfast is the best value in town for a huge plateful of a free range fried egg, veggie sausage, oven baked tomato with rocket pesto, mushrooms, hash browns, baked beans and wholemeal toast, while the mini vegan breakie has roughly the same ingredients with over-baked marinated tofu replacing the eggs.
For home-sick visitors from across the Pond, they also offer the Kau Boy American Breakfast (£6.95) with two free range fried eggs, two veggie sausages, a pancake with maple syrup and butter, mushrooms, oven baked tomato with home-made rocket pesto, wholemeal toast and served with a filter coffee or tea. The service is swift and friendly and it makes a great start to the day, or a stop-off for a sit-down and some nourishing food. The home-made soup served in a mug (£1) can be enjoyed – along with some people-watching on the chairs outside.
Wai Kika Moo Kau
Veggie breakies cost: £3.50 (mini veggie/vegan) £6.95 (full veggie or Kau Boy American)
11a Kensington Gardens,
Tel: 01273 671 117
Open: Mon–Thurs: 9am – 6pm
Fri–Sat: 9am – 9.30pm
Sun: 9.30am – 6pm
Iydea is located almost opposite Wai Kika Moo Kau on Kensington Gardens and there is another, newer café on Western Road, which is an excellent shopping trip stop-over.
The simple wooden layout of the café is unassuming and welcoming and lets the focus remain on the dishes, which are wholesome, healthy – and pretty substantial.
Veggie breakies cost: £7.45 (big) £4.70
17 Kensington Gardens, Brighton BN1 4AL
(& at 105 Western Road, Brighton BN1 2AA)
Tel: 01273 667 992
Open: Mon-Sat 9:30am—5:30pm, Sun 10am—5:30pm
- Mange Tout
Mange Tout is a bustling French bistro and café (and also swish Gallic restaurant in the evenings) on Trafalgar Street, leading down from Brighton Railway Station to the North Laine district, so it makes an ideal refuelling stop if you have arrived on the train for a day trip to the seaside.
Marjorie, the manager, says that the croissants come from Cocoa, a patisserie on Queen’s Road and the place has a really continental feel, with couples smooching over their café au lait and classy photographic exhibitions decorating the walls.
The menu offers all manner of bistro favourites, while the veggie breakie includes seared haloumi, roast mushrooms, free range eggs (any way you like) on a tartine from Lewes bakery, tomato compote and wilted spinach.
There are lots of different egg options: les oeufs de Mange tout – Florentine, Benedict, Royale, Popeye, Mange tout going for £7.50 to £9, however while we’re in ‘France’, we really should taste the (veggie) Pain perdu; cinnamon bread, fruit compote, vanilla ice cream and honey.
Veggie breakies cost: £9
Trafalgar Street, Brighton BN1
Tel: 01273 607 270
Open: Mon—Wed10am-6pm, Thur—Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-5pm.
- Breeze Brasserie
Breeze Brasserie feels more like an evening venue with long cocktail happy hours (4pm-8pm – not Fri-Sat) but it makes an excellent recovery veggie breakie haven, as the lighting is dim and breakfast is served until 3pm.
The vegetarian breakie has vegetarian sausage with mushrooms, hash brown, roasted tomato, baked beans, fried eggs and toast. Wash all this down with a strong coffee, an OJ, then you’re ready to start on the cocktails – again!
Veggie breakies cost: £6.75
98 Trafalgar Street, Brighton BN1 4ER
Tel: 01273 693 377
Open: Mon—Thur 10:30am-10pm, Fri 10:30am-10:30pm, Sat 9:30am-10:30pm, Sun 9:30am-10pm
- The Dorset
Located in the North Laine, on the corner of Gardner Street and North Road, The Dorset has quenched the thirst of Brightonians and visitors for almost two hundred years. Relaxed, welcoming and full of character, The Dorset boasts a scattering of mismatched chairs, a roaring fire in the winter and street side tables for catching some rays.
The Dorset is popular with locals, shoppers, students, hipsters, theatre-goers and visitors, all enjoying their fresh seafood dishes, Sunday roasts and range of local draught beers.
The veggie full breakie is served daily until 12:30 and you get two vegetarian sausages, balsamic vine tomatoes, mushrooms, home-made baked beans, fried egg and granary bread toast.
The manager says the veggie full breakie will soon be revamped, but he is justifiably proud of his delicious Eggs Florentine (£5.95) – my personal breakie of choice – with two poached eggs served on wilted spinach and toasted foccacia, topped with home-made Hollandaise sauce – yum!
Veggie breakies cost: £6.45 (Veggie Full House)
28 North Road (corner of Gardner Street), Brighton BN1 1YB
Tel: 01273 605 423
Open: Mon—Thur 9am-midnight, Fri—Sat 9am-1am, Sun 9am-11pm
Heather Mills’s vegan restaurant, VBites, moved to this central Brighton location on the edge of the labyrinthine (south) Lanes from Hove Lagoon, where her former café has now undergone a culinary volte face and become FatBoy Slim’s burger bar, and this small, simple, cosy café has a good selection of dishes – all meat-, dairy, egg- and fish-free.
Breakfast is served 08:30 – 11:30 and the full English has vegan sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes and super healthy bread.
Veggie breakies cost: £7.95 (vegan full English)
14 East Street, Brighton BN1 1HP
Tel: 01273 747 371
Open: Mon—Sat 8:30am-7pm, Sun 10am-6pm
- Alcampo Lounge
Alcampo is the latest in a chain of Lounges (others in Kettering, Witney, Shirley, Rugby, Chippenham). There is a also Verano Lounge on Western Road.
Alcampo is a big restaurant, with space for 240 diners/breakfasters in a large open plan room. There are also 35 more chairs on the front terrace on London Road.
The veggie breakie includes sweetcorn fritters, hash browns, grilled tomato, baked beans, button mushrooms, spinach, hummus, fried egg and toast. There is also a gluten-free menu and a large selection of eggy dishes.
Veggie breakies cost: £6.95
84-86 London Road, Brighton BN1 4JF
Tel: 01273 693 288
Open: daily 9am-11pm (meals served 9am-10pm)
Moksha is a lovely, friendly, cosy café located on the bustling York Place opposite St Peter’s Church and a patch of green just south of The Level.
It’s always busy, but somehow manages to retain an ambience of zen calm – maybe it’s all that soothing green paint?
You can retreat indoors or sit out in the sun trap at one of four tables on the pavement. You’ll certainly never be sure of something to look at, as ‘interesting characters’ make their way up and down London Road…
The veggie breakie involves grilled field mushrooms with roasted vine tomatoes, wilted spinach, free range eggs, baked beans and sourdough toast. Also tempting the palate are Huevos rancheros (£7.95), which can be made for veggies too. This has a crisp tortilla base with (or without) chorizo, black beans, sweetcorn and chipotle sauce topped with free range eggs and a tomato and avocado salsa.
Other delicious items include Eggs Florentine (£6.95), Eggs Royal with smoked salmon (£6.95) and for the chillier mornings, Porridge and berry compote with honey or jam (£2.50).
Veggie breakies cost: £7.25
4-5 York Place (opposite St Peter’s Church), Brighton BN1 4GU
Tel: 01273 248 890
Open: Mon—Fri 7am-7pm, Sat 8am-7pm, Sun 8am-6:30pm, bank hols 9am-6pm
Everybody loves Bill’s and you should come early, even on a weekday morning but especially at weekends, to be sure of a seat.
On some weekend mornings, the queue stretches right along the side of the produce-adorned shelved walls of The Depot, a cavernous warehousey building, which makes use of every available inch to offer tasty things in bottles, jars, tins and packets. The colourful food items on the wall are mouth-watering and dishes to get the juices going are chalked up on blackboards in lovely hand writing.
The veggie breakie is made up of poached free range eggs, tomatoes, hummus, mushrooms and guacamole, sweet chilli sauce, basil & toast, with baked beans add £1, with crispy potato add £1.25. My favourite breakfast number is the Eggs Florentine (£7.35) with poached eggs served over spinach and topped with Hollandaise sauce on pumpkin seeds and toasted sour dough. I wash it all down with freshly pressed carrot, orange & ginger juice (£3.35 regular, £4.30 large) and then feel virtuous and energised all day!
Bill’s Brighton (also at High Street, Lewes)
Veggie breakies cost: £7.95
The Depot, 100 North Road, Brighton BN1 1YE
Tel: 01273 692 894
Open: Mon—Sat 8am-11pm, Sun (& bank holidays) 9am-10:30pm
10. Whitecliffs Café, Saltdean
The café with one of the most gorgeous views on the South Coast…
This bright, airy room with a view now has a Latin/Iberian tinge, with tapas on the menu, Ibrahim Ferrer crooning in the background ‘Dos gardenias para ti’, HUGE windows and lots of foliage.
The veggie breakie has two veggie sausages, beans, tomato, egg, potato rosti, toast and mushrooms, or pescatarians can opt for smoked haddock served with a poached egg and tartare sauce (£4.50) and there’s also boiled egg and soldiers (£1.50).
A blackboard has events such as a ‘70s and ‘80s funk and soul disco or a blues and rock live music evening and there is an extensive tapas menu with all kinds of tasty treats – from marinated olives (£3.50) to albondigas (£4.95). Fish & chips with fresh, locally-caught fish, costs £7.90 and there are toasties and paninis from £3.70 to £5.20.
Veggie breakies cost: £5
Marine Drive, Saltdean BN2 8SQ
Tel: 01273 875 719
Open: Mon—Thur 9:30am-5pm, Fri—Sat 9:30am-10:30pm, Sun 9:30am-5pm
Only in Brighton!
Vegetarian Shoes, Gardner Street, North Laine