1847 opened in November promising “to push the boundaries of veggie food”. A bold statement in a city with an abundant selection of fine vegetarian restaurants. Set across three floors next to the Fountain Head on North Road, it has clean, modern décor and a living wall of plants to match the botanical cocktail menu. The place is small and feels more suited to a quiet dinner than a raucous night out with a group of friends. Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham are already home to 1847 and Brighton is the latest city on the expansion list.
1847 is the year the Vegetarian Society formed and the link is clear – we’ve not seen a vegetarian menu this exciting or extensive for a while. We went on a Saturday evening for their á la carte menu which is priced at £19.50 for two courses, three for £25.
The menu is a mix of vegetarian versions of traditional meat dishes, think ‘beet bourguignon’ and spicy puy lentil sausage with turnip mash, and more unusual veggie dishes. We opted for two starters between three – the squash and feta salad and the onion bhaji. The whipped feta was tangy, rich and perfectly offset by hearty kale and chunks of roasted squash. The bhaji luckily arrived in a generous trio portion which meant we didn’t squabble over chopping it up. It was beautifully spicy with the crisp outside and the moist, tangled onions inside matched perfectly with ribbons of cool cucumber and raita.
First up for the main event was portobello mushrooms stuffed with leek and bulgar which was more filling than it looked and well paired with sweet red cabbage. Next, winter veggies and coconut which was part thick sweet potato soup, part chunky veg and black beans. Another warming, filling and complex dish. And finally, their ‘fish and chips’ – ginger ale battered halloumi, triple cooked chips, lemon curd and crushed green pea and basil. Oh my, this was good. Three chunks of cheese with hand cut chips – like a simpler, more modern version of Terre a Terre’s classic ‘Better Batter Halloumi’ and no worse off for it.
Despite the generous portions we were tempted by the cranberry dessert with yoghurt and white chocolate truffle. Imagine the inside of an artisan truffle, whipped with yoghurt to make it thick and creamy, sat on top a pool of sweet sticky cranberries and crumble. Let’s leave that image there shall we? Genuinely exciting and amazing to eat.
If you can’t tell by now, we’re fully paid up members of the 1847 fan club. The food was faultless, the staff can’t do enough for you and there’s even a basement cocktail bar which was perfect for a nightcap. 1847 is vying for best veggie restaurant in Brighton and for good reason. Go forth and book, people. We’ll see you there.
North Road, BN1 1YW, 01273 677776