Having been such a well established restaurant for so many years, when I heard Food For Friends had recently changed hands and was now the proud sister restaurant of SIX in Hove, I was keen to go check it out for myself. It had been at least a year since my last visit so I was excited to see what (if anything) had changed with the much-loved vegetarian restaurant.
We were greeted warmly by the manager, who showed us to our table which right by the window – the perfect spot to enjoy the atmosphere and watch the world go by in the bustling South Laines. Our waitress, Amber introduced herself and talked us through the pre-dinner cocktails options – including the special of the evening, which she informed us one of her own creations. I opted for the delicious sounding A-Ginda – a concoction of Brighton Gin, Rhubarb, Grapefruit, Passionfruit and Lemon which was sharp and fruity; a great way to kick things off. Natalie decided to try the special of the day which was a blend of fresh herbs and Processco.
One of the first things I notice is the menu has not changed dramatically since my last visit, with a large and varied offering of interesting sounding ‘small plates’ (starters) and relatively small selection of mains using seasonal, locally sourced produce.
I notice my old favourite, the Inari Tofu Wraps are still on the small plates menu, so this is an easy choice for me, while Natalie opts for the tempting sounding Courgette Kofta which come served with Roasted Carrots, Apricot Puree, Coconut Tzatziki and spicy hit of Harissa. The dish is colourful and busting with flavours, the Harrisa giving the dish a great kick, which cuts through the sweetness of some of the other flavours. The Inari Tofu Wraps are as good as I remember, the tofu pockets stuffed with Brown Rice & diced Oyster Mushrooms served with a Gochujang cream and blanched Daikon – a perfectly balanced Asian dish with great depth of flavour.
For my main I am recommended the Pea, Mint and Feta Aranchini which comes served with runner beans, almond flakes, confit cherry tomato, zesty preserved lemon gel and sun-blushed tomato cream. The dish is again is a well balanced combination of flavours with the rich sun blushed tomato working brilliantly with the bright summery flavours of the feta and mint, while the lemon preserve adds a real citrus tang.
Natalie is recommended the equally summery offering of Halloumi, Avocado and Peach Salad, which was beautifully presented and packed with flavour, the grilled ripe Peach slices an incredible pairing with the salty slabs of Halloumi – the added roasted sweet Cashew Nuts adding another level of taste and texture.
We shared a carafe of Pinot Noir which was the ideal light summery red to accompany our meal.
Although both courses were plenty, we treat ourselves to a little liquid ‘something sweet’ in the form of another cocktail. Natalie goes for the Le Debut, a fruity combination of Raspberry, Blackberry, Chambord and Tonic while I decide to go for another gin based number – Lavender Laine which combined Bombay Sapphire, Apricot Brandy, Elderflower syrup and Lavender.
We decide it would be rude to leave without trying something off the dessert menu so order a selection of homemade dark chocolate truffles, which come served with two espresso shots – much needed for a post dinner pick me up after the amount we’ve eaten. Our cocktails and dessert were perfect end to a perfect evening, Food For Friends certainly lives up to it’s name.
Food for Friends is at 17-18 Prince Albert St, Brighton, BN1 1HF. Tel: 01273 202310.
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