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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Purezza Review - Plant Based Brighton Restaurant

I've got another Brighton food spot recommendation for you!

I live just outside of Brighton so love venturing down to the unique and wonderful city to explore to quirky shops, stroll along the seafront and try out new food places. Luckily, there's no shortage of restaurants and cafes with vegan options in Brighton but I'm always on the lookout for new places to try. So when Purezza got in contact to ask if I'd like a meal at their completely plant-based restaurant I was super excited!

Purezza was founded in 2015, and was the first vegan pizzeria in the UK and still are the only wood-fired vegan pizzeria in Europe. Purezza are real plant pioneers and they aim to make their plant based menu superior to the traditional alternatives!

Purezza are completely plant based but they also have a wide range of gluten free options too! Unfortunately the pizza isn't coeliac safe as it's cooked in the same area as the other pizza's but all the other gluten free food is prepared separately which limits any risk of cross contamination.

So, Purezza is 100% plant based....what about the cheese, you may be wondering! Purezza have spent over two years developing their very own vegan mozzarella! It's made using a blend of rice milk, chickpeas and olive oil and honestly, it's the best vegan cheese I've ever tasted! Even my boyfriend agreed that it tasted like the real thing! It's not just mozzarella though, they also have their own ricotta style cheese and a creamy coconut cheese. Purezza also serve pasta dishes that include lasagne and mac & cheese, vegan burgers, salads and even a vegan cheese board!

The interior at Purezza is really cool, it's got a rustic feel that's really relaxed and comfortable yet smart. It's very clean, light, airy, open and it was a lovely room to sit in for a meal.
We were greeted by a friendly waitress who showed us to our table and explained a little bit about Purezza, before handing us the drinks menu and main menu to have a look through. I browsed the drinks menu and was impressed with the range of beers, wines and cocktails the restaurant had to offer but was a little disappointed in their lack of soft drinks. I'm not one for an alcoholic beverage during the day so asked for the Blueberry Kombucha, which unfortunately they'd run out of. I asked the waitress if they had any other soft drinks that weren't on the menu, such as fruit juices but she said they didn't so I was left with water. A shame because I do like a nice drink with a meal and it's a bit unusual for a restaurant not to offer even a simple orange juice or apple juice!

To start we ordered the gluten free cheesy garlic bread, which arrived in the shape of a pizza with the cheese all melted on top with sprigs of rosemary scattered around too. The garlic bread was delicious - the base was perfectly thin and crispy, the cheese was wonderfully melted and the addition of rosemary added something special. The only negative I have to say about it is it was a little bit too oily for my liking, but that's just me being fussy!

It's safe to say it took us a long time to choose our main courses! My boyfriend was unsure whether to go for the pizza or lasagne, and even when he decided on a pizza it took him a while to choose which one! It was a toss up between the One Night In Bangkok pizza - with a white base, stir friend vegetables, sirracha sauce and peanut sauce or the calzone with caramelised onion, ricotta style cheese, pea pancetta, spinach and black. He eventually decided on the calzone as he was intrigued by the ricotta cheese and vegan pancetta. When the pizza arrived I thought it looked spectacular, the pizza dough looked really authentic and it looked so fresh and delicious. When it was cut into you could see the ricotta oozing out as well as the wilted spinach and caramelised onion. I couldn't try any of this dish as it wasn't gluten free, but I could instantly tell it was a bit too full of ricotta - which my boyfriend said too. Unfortunately, even though he thought the pizza dough was delicious and loved the mozzarella, he said the ricotta had a funny aftertaste and the pea pancetta had a strange texture. He also said there was way too much ricotta which made the inside of the calzone soggy and not very enjoyable. Next time he'd go for a more plain pizza, so the yummy base wasn't taken over by loads of other ingredients!

I decided I wanted to try the Big Smoke burger, which is a pea protein burger with smoked mozzarella, fried aubergine, rocket, mayo and a caramelised onion & beet sauce - served in a gluten free bun and a side of vegetable crisps. The burger came served on a wooden board with a fully loaded bun and basket of mixed vegetable crisps. The burger was so loaded I didn't dare pick it up to eat it (spilling beetroot sauce down my white top wouldn't have made me very happy!), so I cut into it and enjoyed it that way. I was so impressed with the burger - it was bursting with flavour and texture, the gluten free bun was the nicest gluten free bun I've ever eaten and the vegan mayo was so good! I loved the combination of smokey flavour with the caramelised onion and fried was dreamy. What let this meal down was the side of vegetable crisps, I thought it seemed like an odd side for a burger and I was just didn't work. I love vegetable crisps but I love them as a snack, not with a meal - and when I eat a burger I want chips or wedges with it! There was also far too many of the vegetable crisps and I could only eaten about half of them, if that, which felt like such a waste but they were difficult to eat as they were so crumby and I just didn't fancy eating them alongside a burger. If the crisps were replaced with skin-on potato wedges or sweet potato chips the meal would have been a million times better!

After our main course of course it was time for dessert! I'm a big lover of anything coffee flavour so obviously went to the tiramisu made with a nutty, raw base covered in a creamy layer of blended cashews and cold-brew coffee alongside an almond milk matcha latte.
The dessert was my favourite part of the meal! Purezza's tiramisu was so unbelievably creamy with just the right balance of coffee and sweetness and a nutty base of dreams. It was just pure heaven! The matcha latte was slighty cold but delicious nonetheless.

Overall, I was impressed with Purezza. It's not the best place I've ever eaten and there were things I wish were slightly different about the meals we had but I enjoyed it, the food was good and I'm intrigued to try more from the menu - the mac & cheese in particularly! I would recommend trying Purezza out if you're following a vegan diet (going there for the mozzarella is enough!!) or if you suffer with coeliac disease, as it did put my mind at rest knowing they took gluten free very seriously.

Purezza is located at 12 St James's Street, Brighton, BN2 1RE and is just a short walk away from the pier.

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