Skateboards clattering against ramps like a much louder dawn chorus, hula-hoopers punctuating the grass like swaying trees… you can romanticise The Level all you want but honestly, the real talent is across the road. Enter Glazed, the new coffee and vegan doughnut extraordinaires. The simplicity of their homemade produce and décor alike fits into this area of Brighton seamlessly. Heading in one morning, I found a spot nestled between a family and some trendy young things. Glazed is a café for anyone and everyone, as is clear by the friendly greeting of the owners.
Light-coloured walls decorated with unique decks, some with ‘café’ enscribed next to a doughnut image, and special pieces of art nod to the easy-going lifestyle associated with skateboarding. A compact site, owner James Brightmore has used it to his advantage making it feel airy and spacious. Perhaps we can thank the classic high ceilings this city lends us for this as well. Settling down on a rustic table, a friend and I order some of the gorgeous tasting and perfectly made coffees.
Changing their blends frequently, James and partner Eva keep their customers guessing. Currently Dr Strangelove Espresso by Extract Coffee, it’s made with a balance of acidity and sweetness. Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee but often struggle to pick out flavours in it. Therefore, let me borrow some descriptive words from the lovely Extract Coffee chaps themselves: “a subtle almond nuttiness, biscuit, and berries combine to create sweet frangipane and sticky blackberry jam.” So there you go. I was more interested in the presentation as James’ coffee skills are quite unmatched. My latte (£2.70), with a double heart design on top, was as smooth as it gets. We were very pleased that Glazed also stocks soya milk, as my coffee buddy was more of a soya kind of girl. For a flat white it’s just £2.50 and its consistency was spot on.
Just next to the flashy coffee machine sat more doughnuts than I’ve ever seen in one go. Although Glaze offers even more different glazes on the weekends, we were spoilt for choice on our modest Tuesday morning. We choose one of each flavour, as it would be rude not to: raspberry and chocolate, peanut butter, and chocolate and coconut. Making their doughnuts vegan comes from simply replacing some of the key ingredients: egg becomes bicarbonate of soda and soy butter is used. As a slightly healthier option, James and Eva also opt for olive oil over vegetable oil, though of course there’s only so much ‘health’ that can be related to doughnuts. This aside, we got to tasting.
Beginning with the raspberry and chocolate, our stomachs growled at the sight of the ringed wonders. The sweetness of the fruit and chocolate complimented each other perfectly. The raspberry flavour wasn’t lost at all to its manmade counterpart, which delighted us both. On to the peanut butter. As a kid I had a really strange phobia of this stuff (God knows why), to the extent that I’d throw it away if I so much as saw a jar of it. Yes, total weirdo I know, my sister has not let me forget it. Anyway, I hesitantly bit into the doughnut. The chunks of real nuts and buttery all-round taste of the glaze went so perfectly with the doughnut itself that it was actually my favourite of the lot! Our final frontier came in the form of the chocolate and coconut glaze. A winning combination as usual, the rich dark chocolate was lifted by the crunch of the sprinkled coconut.
Following our sugar and caffeine overload, a pretty hectic thunderstorm erupted. Forced to stay for just one more coffee, we kicked back and enjoyed the soft hum of other customers chatting. We figured we’d be much safer in the café, surrounded by sweet treats. With weekend pop ups of live music and street food planned for the future, Glazed is certainly one to watch. Nodding to The Level in many ways, this fantastic addition to the area is perfect for any walk of life. So get down there, get a coffee, and get Glazed.