One of my favourite things is finding something excellent somewhere unexpected. The other day, I was rummaging around my admittedly very messy bedroom and stumbled upon an unopened bottle of Malbec and a top I’d obviously purchased in a shopping frenzy and completely forgotten about. Resisting the urge to crack open the Malbec (it was only 4pm), I put the top on and did a very uncool victory dance around my lounge. This feeling of finding a hidden gem was replicated when I was invited down to vegan cafe The Green Kitchen on 8 Preston Road – a stone’s throw away from Preston Park.
The green walls, wooden tables and floorboards create a cosy and intimate feel, and if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of Pickle – possibly Brighton’s happiest dog. In fact, you’re welcome to bring a friend in for her as The Green Kitchen is completely dog friendly. Their 100% vegan menu has a large and impressive all-day breakfast selection, along with sandwiches, toasties, kids’ meals, sides, and some pretty legendary burgers. The Green Kitchen have also recently joined Deliveroo, and are finding their breakfasts are doing a roaring trade, particularly on weekends. They’ve very sensibly realised it can be difficult to find a vegan Sunday lunch if you don’t necessarily want to schlep all the way to the pub – so they’ve got one at a very cost-conscious £9 from midday on Sundays.
I can’t turn down a good breakfast, so I was really intrigued to try an entirely vegan interpretation of a Full English Breakfast (£7.95). Being a greedy little so-and-so, I also opted for a side of pancakes, maple syrup and artisan bacon (£4.95). The breakfast arrived looking very appetising and certainly hearty as it consisted of sausage, artisan bacon, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns, baked beans, scrambled tofu and toast. The sausage was high quality and herby, and the hash browns were the lovely kind – crunchy on the outside but soft and crumbly in the middle. The mushrooms and tomatoes were cooked skilfully and seasoned nicely. The two items I was truly knocked out by were the bacon and scrambled tofu. The tofu looked almost exactly like scrambled eggs, and I could detect some ridiculously moreish spices running through it. The bacon actually looked pretty similar to ‘regular’ bacon and had a nice texture to it, along with a smoky flavour and a satisfying aftertaste.
Feeling pretty full, but also remembering the vast levels of greed I’m able to summon at pretty much any part of the day, I cast my eyes upon the pancakes, maple syrup and bacon. What I found particularly impressive and somewhat magical was just quite how tall and fluffy the pancakes were whilst remaining completely animal product free. The syrup was drizzled underneath the pancakes as well as on top, so with the first bite the unctuous syrup dribbled out of the pancake and onto the plate. The pancakes themselves were flavoured with all sorts of gorgeous things, including cinnamon, and I have to say that although I’m usually very much against the ‘sweet and savoury together’ camp, the smokiness of the artisan bacon really complemented the sweetness of the pancakes.
I was totally taken aback by just how satisfying The Green Kitchen’s food was, and also how I didn’t feel like I was missing out on my usual meaty offering. Co-owners Catherine and Katie are the sort of people you immediately want to be friends with, and even if you walked into The Green Kitchen frowning, it would be impossible to leave without a smile.