5 of our favourite meat-free brunches
It’s almost the weekend and what do we do at the weekend? We brunch (basic, us?). But this Saturday and Sunday, in honour of World Meat-Free Week, we’re ditching the full English and going veggie instead. These are our five favourite brunch spots in the city (all of which offer plenty of plant-based options, too).
The home from home
We’ve shouted about this place on our Instagram quite a bit – we’re big fans of Village, the pub-cafe at the bottom end of the Hanover hills. It’s a bit like a cosy extension to your sitting room, but with infinitely better food. And the brunch options – served from 9.00am to 4.00pm every day (you can bring your own takeaway in the evening) and beloved of freelancers, parents and dog-owners alike – are enough to make you return to feed your aching belly every single day. Full disclosure: we’ve been known to do just that. Topping our list of veggie options (easily made vegan and gluten-free) is the Village Toast – a slice of sourdough topped with perfectly seasoned avocado, chives, spring onion, toasted seeds, poached eggs and, the pièce de résistance, a side of harissa compote. It’s minty but spicy with a dash of something we haven’t managed to put our finger on. Yet. The Village Rarebit (oodles of mustard-y cheese) also comes highly recommended by the crack team of BOTI reviewers.
129 Islingword Rd, BN2
Ah, the home of The Hash. So good it should be trademarked, the light-filled cafe that is Billie’s is a Brighton institution – it’s been around for over 30 years and regularly has customers queuing round the block. Absolutely everything is freshly made to order and the portions are mammoth, so don’t be afraid to ask for a doggy bag. They have a wide-ranging menu of great breakfast and lunch options, but it’s the hashes that everyone falls in love with. The Veggie Farmhouse (vegetarian sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, sweetcorn and baked beans, pan-fried in butter with their special homemade potato and onion hash and topped with a fried egg and grilled cheese, phew) is a breakfast-lover’s dream on a plate, but it’s the Veggie Swiss that consistently takes our breath away. Quite literally sometimes when our groaning bellies are trying to deter those pesky just-one-more-bite tastebuds. Three lightly poached eggs perch enticingly on a bed of homemade potato and onion hash, blanketed in grilled cheese. The Garlic Mushroom and Avocado Hash is also up there on our favourites list. Ok, you got us, we love the whole damn menu. The question is, can you rise to the clear-your-plate challenge?
34 Hampton Place, Brighton BN1
The American-style one
Think New York loft uprooted to the seaside and you get something of an idea of The New Club. The decor is a luxe take on industrial, the food is upscale American diner but the views through the full-length windows are all beautiful Brighton. We fell in love as soon as we clocked it and the fantastic food options ensured that this was no fly-by-night fling, either. Our brunch dish of choice is always – always – the generous Mexican eggs. Baked eggs, a hit of sriracha, corn & pepper salsa and sour cream jostle for space on perfect crispy tortillas with moreish melted cheese. It’s seriously good. The Vegan Breakfast and the Avocado Toast (pictured) are also sure-fire winners. We’re not sure if burgers strictly count as brunch, but their Green Burger (a butternut squash and cashew nut fritter) is worth tearing up the dictionary for.
133-134 Kings Rd, Brighton BN1
The Instagrammer’s dream
Renovated last year, the new Redroaster Cafe is truly stunning. It turns into fine-dining restaurant Pike & Pine on some evenings, but by day, it’s a perfect brunch spot for delectable, perfectly plated dishes and an interior that is just begging to be photographed. With its marble surfaces, flashes of gold and beautiful greenery, it’s a scene-stealer. If you’re looking for us on the weekend, it’s quite likely we’ll be indulging in their bottomless brunch, held every Saturday and Sunday from 10.00am to 2.00pm with a 90-minute time limit. At £26.95 a head, it’s far from the cheapest option out there, but we love their more unusual takes on brunch classics (our favourite dishes are the veggie roasted butternut squash, courgette, avocado mousse and chia seed toast with a poached egg and the vegan spiced roasted cauliflower with picked shallots, flatbread, hummous and almond butter – main picture). And you can’t go wrong with unlimited Mimosas and Aperol Spritzes. Did we mention you can add a pudding for a fiver? Hands off the popcorn cheesecake, though, that’s ours. Weekends are very busy, so we’d recommend booking.
1D St James’s Street, BN2 1RE
The vintage-y one
Tucked down the end of Blatchington Road in Hove, The Hidden Pantry is deserving of its name as it’s a bit of an undiscovered gem if you don’t live this side of the city. But Hove-ites regularly flock here to enjoy the generous portions, the wide range of tasty veggie and vegan options and mouthwatering cakes, not to mention the friendly service and cute vintage-style interior. We think they serve one of the best Welsh rarebits in the city (we’ve tried a lot), with mature Cheddar, just the right amount of mustard and a healthy dollop of chutney or horseradish, it’s magnificently moreish. Too much cheese? Try the divine mushrooms in tarragon butter with avocado and homemade houmous on toasted sourdough. Yum. The breakfasts (veggie, vegan, halloumi – pictured, Pantry and sausage fry-up) are also all superb, and huge. With food this good, it gets very very busy at weekends, so get there early or be prepared to wait a little longer for your food. Trust us, though, it’s worth it!
59 Blatchington Rd, Hove BN3 3YJ
Photo credits: 2 maletas y 1 destino (The institution)