A friend recently pointed out to me that, although a lot of people talk about ‘doing something different’, when it comes to food, it really is difficult to find somewhere which ‘breaks the mould’ in Brighton.
As with many of my favourite venues, I discovered Dough Lover via social media, and was eagerly awaiting it’s opening on Trafalgar Street in the centre of Brighton.
The North Laine is notorious for a vast amount of pubs, cafes, and coffee shops, I often wonder how they all survive with so much competition. I am certainly backing Dough Lover to do more than survive – leading the way to a laptop-free cafe which celebrates the core ideals of the hospitality industry, offering fantastic food (that you couldn’t make as well at home) with carefully sourced ingredients in a beautiful environment.
On my first visit I was lucky enough to chat to Dough Lover’s wonderful owner Ronke, who blew me away with her passion for great food, drink and service and her attention to detail in every respect of opening a new venue.
Ronke explains how all of the ‘House Soda’s’ are probiotic and made using filtered water and 1/10th the sugar of their conventional counterparts. Although I’m not normally a ‘soda kinda gal’ I decide to treat myself to a gorgeous sounding Hibiscus, Cherry and Mint – which was sharp and tangy and perfect for someone like me that would always opt of the sourest cocktail on the menu! Helli went for a Matcha Latte, which as anyone who has tried will tell you is an acquired taste, but we both loved.
The menu offers everything from eggs, to pancakes to our Brighton favourite – Avocado on toast, and immediately note there is huge selection of veggie, vegan, gluten and dairy free options. Despite not being a vegan myself, Veganuary has made me really appreciate menus that consider the way our dietary requirements are changing as a nation of more ‘conscious eaters’.
As ever I struggle to decide as both the Baked Eggs in Tarka Dal and the Baked Eggs in Tomato and Red Pepper sauce sound amazing. I opt for the latter which is served in a skillet and topped with Tahini, fresh mint, Labneh, toasted pine nuts, red chilli oil and a toasted piece of house baked organic sourdough bread. (I should probably point out that I’m almost salivating as I force myself refrain from immediately tucking in to take a picture for this review!) Helli opts for the Eggs Dough Lover with Barrel Aged Feta Cheese, Butter Bean Fritters, Olives and Oregano. Despite not knowing exactly what to expect, she’s delighted when presented with two sunny-side up fried eggs with all of the trimmings on top.
I always feel lucky that my friends understand my greed (carefully disguised as a passion for food), as I readily tuck into their food as heartily as I do my own.
Both the dishes are absolutely delicious – everything cooked to perfection with the beautifully balanced flavours given an additional punch from the zesty bites of olives and feta in the case of the DL Eggs and the earthy pine nuts and bursts of fresh mint on the DL variation of Shakshuka.
The bread really deserves an accolade of its own – you can take my word for it that this place is called Dough Lover for a reason.
Although suitably full for a Wednesday afternoon, I make it my mission to try a coffee in every cafe I visit, so order myself a Cortado with the in-house blend of nut milk. Helli orders a Mount Fuji Sencha Green tea and on the recommendation of our charming waiter, a piece of today’s Raw Vegan Carrot Cake. It comes as no surprise that the hot drinks and cake are as exquisite as the rest of the meal as this place is really proves to be a cut above the average in every respect.
You know you’ve found somewhere really special, when you don’t want to tell anyone about it, because you worry you might not get a table next time you go!