Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Aloka – Brighton

I’ll be the first one to put my hand up to say that I am a dedicated meat-eater, as you’ve probably guessed from previous entries. But what I just don’t understand is the attitude I encounter from so many other carnivores – I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. If it’s not meat and two veg, it’s not worth looking at. What is the point in that? No, I’m a meat eater but I’m not a numbnuts, so when I heard about vegan restaurant Aloka in Brighton I thought I’d go along and try it.

The restaurant is part of a wellness centre just off of the seafront – there’s a spa on site too for those who are looking to cleanse more than their dinner’s worth from their bodies. Alas, I was too concerned with eating and eating alone on this mission, but having checked out the treatment list, I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be rocking down there for a massage at some point in the not too distant future.

Anyway, back to business. The restaurant itself is nicely laid out; the bright surroundings and large windows make for a pleasant backdrop to the stellar food the kitchen puts out. This isn’t vegan stodge, Aloka presents well thought out and presented dishes containing some very imaginative ingredients.

My starter for one was fairly impressive – a trio of mushroom dishes: forest grilled oyster mushroom ceviche with mulberries, sea-black rice and shitake mushroom with cashew, miso paste and dakon radish plus country chestnut mushrooms with tarragon, spelt and pearl barley base. Of the three, the black rice and dakon with shitake was my favourite, and quite unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. A definite thumbs up.
The mains were equally imaginative – my ‘chef’s special’ was good but nothing extraordinary – a round courgette filled with cannelloni bean, celeriac and cherry tomato white wine stew, smoked creamy polenta and grilled fennel and orange bruschetta. Most parts of the meal worked and worked well – the creamy polenta was excellent as was the courgette but the celeriac and cherry tomato could have done with more flavour.

Jon’s seasonal risotto worked with many of the ingredients from the mushroom trio but even so, tasted fresh. Again, there was a spelt and parsley base with oyster mushrooms, cashew sour cream and tarragon. It was very tasty but did feel like a slight repeat of the earlier dish.

Although there’s no dessert list as such, diners can pop downstairs and choose one of the tempting cakes from the counter – my banana cheesecake was wonderful dense enough to have substance and with just the right amount of banana coming through – I would give anything to know how they could make a cheesecake with no cheese?! How do they do that? If you know, do spill...

While vegetarian and vegan restaurants are ten to a dozen in Brighton, Aloka brings something completely new to the table. No mean feat considering this is pretty much the city that puts the V in vegetarian. If you want to try something different, mosey on down there – bring your meat and two veg friend too, who knows, they might just find that they enjoy it!

Waiting rating: Excellent. Even the chef popped out to say hi
Scoffing potential: High, the menu is small but varied.
Wallet buddy: Mains between £11-14
The crowd: Brighton's best

14 East Street
Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1HP
01273 823 178


maya said...

Good morning from japan.
Mike guided me this page.

I'll bookmark this blogs.
I feel very important things eating for alive from this...

I really visit to there. Brighton.
my aura-soma friend lived there.

see you, I just say hello.
have a lovely weekend.

Julianna Barnaby said...

Thanks for your kind words. It's always lovely to gain a new reader. Have a brilliant weekend!

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