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Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Food For Friends - Brighton Restaurant Review

If you're a long time Nourishing Amelia follower you'll probably already know about Food For Friends restaurant in Brighton as I've talked about it a fair bit over the years I've been blogging. It was the first vegetarian restaurant I ever went to and although I've been to many more since then it still stands as my firm favourite. I've been back many times to sample the delicious dishes, indulge in the cocktails and devour the desserts. I was recently invited back to Food For Friends to review their menu and of course jumped at the chance!

Food For Friends is situated in the trendy and interesting South Lanes in an old but somewhat modernised building with a lot of character. It's perhaps smaller inside than you might imagine but in no way claustrophobic or pokey. The main room is filled with light thanks to the huge windows surrounding one side of the room - perfect for people watching too! I have to admit the decor appeared a little sad and dated when I visited this time around, it had lost some of it's elegant feel but it was still a lovely place to enjoy a meal.

When we walked into the restaurant we were greeted by a friendly waiter who seated us in the bar area for a few minutes before our table was ready. Once we were taken to our table we were given the menus and asked if we'd like some water - this is always a massive plus for me, if a restaurant doesn't offer water once you're seated I instantly get bad vibes. We also ordered two drinks that were a little more fun! We both decided on a mocktail as it was only lunchtime and I was instantly drawn to the Fizzy Fruit Cup - a seasonal mix of fresh fruit and purees topped with non-alcoholic prosecco....and yes, it was as good as it sounds and looks.

We ordered some starters to enjoy whilst we waited for our mains because 1. we were intensely hunger and 2. I can't ever resist the Food For Friends tofu starter! We ordered the Mirin Marinated Crispy Tofu with homemade sweet chilli sauce and the skin on skinny fries with aioli, both were absolutely divine. The tofu is something I order every time I go to FFF, I don't know how they cook it (I can only assume the chef has magical powers) but it's undoubtedly the best tofu I've ever had; the texture is spot on with a crispy coating and melt-in-your-mouth middle. The chips were also super tasty and wonderfully hot. 

Before I move onto the mains I want to make a point of saying I was actually disappointed with the lack of options on the Food For Friends menu this time around. There's only 6 main dishes to chose from and only one two are able to be made gluten free and vegan! If I was paying for this meal out (which I have to say wouldn't be cheap) I'd be highly disappointed to see the lack of options on the menu, I think a high standard restaurant with such a glowing reputation should be more catering for this with allergies. The two dishes I could choose from were the Portobello Mushrooms with black quinoa & sundried tomato grain, black garlic puree, fine beans and apricot pesto OR the Middle Eastern Salad with sweet potato, pomegranate, green beans, herbs, roasted red pepper, sunflower seeds, zaatar and tahini dressing - I went for the latter of the two because I just adore middle eastern food and have a real love for zaatar.
My mum (who I invited with me to the review) chose the Pea, Mint & Feta Arancino  which I must admit, I would have definitely chosen had it been suitable for me.

I always say a salad is a real test to a chef and restaurant. If I have a salad that I fully enjoy and leaves me feeling completely satisfied then they've done a fab job and have the skills! I'm pleased to report this salad was absolutely stunningly perfect from the first to last bite. The flavours of juicy pomegranate, more-ish sweet potato and creamy zaatar & tahini dressing complimented each other so well and I enjoyed each mouthful more and more. Everything tasted very fresh which is so important with a salad - nobody wants soggy lettuce leaves! I couldn't have been more satisfied after this meal, my tummy was just the right level of fullness and my tastebuds were certainly dancing.

My mum's arancino looked equally fresh, vibrant and delicious. Unfortunately I couldn't do a taste test because the meal contained gluten and dairy but I asked for a quote to some up the meal -
'The arancino were so light but so satisfying - crisp on the outside but inside was melt-in-the-mouth delicious perfection'

After our scrumptious starters and mains I was far too full up for a dessert. I was actually so disappointed because the the Raw Almond & Cashew Cheesecake (vegan and gluten free) sounded to die for. My mum managed to squeeze in a dessert though and opted for the Sticky Toffee Pudding with muscovado toffee and vanilla ice-cream. Again I couldn't try this but here's the quote review -
'The sticky toffee pudding was delicate and sweet with just the right amount of sauce, and was really complimented by the creamy cold ice cream'..... I have to say, it did look ever so dreamy!

All in all I was super impressed with Food For Friends - the service was great, we didn't have to wait long for our food and the food itself was absolutely unbeatable (both in quality, taste and portion size). The only downfalls were the limited menu (something they've assured me they're working on improved) and the slightly scruffy interior.
I will definitely be making another trip to Food For Friends in the future and I'm excited to see the changes that'll be made under a new management team.

Be sure to check out their online menu for yourself here -

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