I’ve been studying abroad in Brighton, U.K. for a little over a month now, but have still yet to update my website on any of it… so this post is my first installment of discussing my experiences as a vegan in Europe! The plane ride took about five hours to get from Newark, New Jersey to London Heathrow Airport. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have food available to me on the plane, so I brought a bag of pitted dates and homemade trail mix with nuts and dried fruit. The combination of carbs from the dates and fat/protein from the trail mix kept me satiated throughout my travels. Packing snacks allowed me to not have to pay for any overpriced airport food. Plus, during long journeys, you never really know when you’ll have time to sit and eat something, so it’s very beneficial to have things ready on-the-go in your carry-on luggage.
Vegan at University of Sussex:
After a five-hour plane ride, two-hour bus ride, and another twenty-minute bus ride, I arrived at the University of Sussex on a Saturday morning. That first night, there was a welcome event with food. None of the visibly available choices appeared vegan, so I asked a server if they had any vegan options. She promptly spoke to the chef in the kitchen, who then made me a special vegan meal with falafel, beans, and vegetables. The dining services at this university have been very accommodating with vegan choices, either by already having available options out and ready to be served, or they will work with you to prepare something vegan if you ask. Not only that, but their vegan options are flavorful and filling. I very frequently order their Daal with accompanying rice (as shown). Other meals I’ve tried include their pasta with tomato sauce, jacket potato with baked beans, and the make-your-own-salad bar.
There is also a shared kitchen in my accommodation. Although I’m constantly cooking at home, I haven’t done much while being here. That being said, one of my favorite meals I made since arriving was seasoned mashed avocado on toasted baguette slices, with a sweet chili sauce drizzle. It was simple, required only the use of an oven to toast the baguette, and delicious.
Also, the campus itself is situated on a national park, so the scenery surrounding the university is beautiful. There are so many scenic paths to walk and connect with nature.
Brighton Restaurants visited in Week 1:
My first week in Brighton was dedicated to exploring the area, and more importantly, the food! Brighton is an extremely vegan-friendly city, and there are so many great vegan restaurants to choose from that vary in cuisine and price range. Even if a restaurant is not vegan, it usually will have at least a couple vegetarian options where you can ask to omit dairy/eggs and have a perfectly pleasant meal.
Bombay Aloo: Located at 39 Ship Street, just off of North Street. This is an all-you-can-eat, completely vegetarian Indian buffet. Although not every buffet choice is vegan, more than half of them are, and everything I tried made me want to go back for a second helping. Also, for the amount of great food you get to eat, it is very reasonably priced at £5.95. Bombay Aloo has definitely become my staple restaurant choice while staying in Brighton.
That Little Tea Shop in The Lanes: Located on Meeting House Lane. This place is wonderful for getting the full British afternoon tea experience. The restaurant itself is a very cozy environment, filled with quirky decorations and friendly staff. I shared a pot of Earl Grey tea with my friends and ordered for myself beans on two slices of toast. When ordering I asked specifically for them to not put any butter on my toast. Everything was delightful.
Foodilic: Located at 60 North St. This was another buffet that I tried. Their menu was interesting because it was mostly vegetarian and vegan choices, but also had a couple options with meat in them. Because of this, it is necessary to consistently reference the sign with descriptions of each food choice to make sure all the options you serve yourself are actually vegan. Overall I enjoyed eating here. Their food was very flavorful, sometimes in unconventional ways, but it worked in their favor. I also found the food to be satisfying, but it did not weigh heavily inside me. The ingredients tasted fresh and I felt like I had eaten a wholesome, nutrient-dense meal.
Catwalk Cakes: Located at 22 Bond Street. This was another place I went to with friends for afternoon tea. They have a large selection of cakes, including a few vegan ones as well! I chose the banana loaf cake, and it was a very nice accompaniment to my tea. In comparison to That Little Tea Shop in the Lanes, I would say that this place definitely gets extra points for having vegan baked goods. But even so, I really enjoyed my experiences at both tea shops and would visit both places again. I suppose if you are interested in having a light meal with your tea, I recommend That Little Tea Shop in the Lanes. But if you would like something sweet, then I recommend Catwalk Cakes.
VIP (Very Italian Pizza): Located at 19 Old Steine. This restaurant is just that, very Italian. Also it is very popular, and rightfully so. There is a line out the door of people waiting to be seated every night. This is not a vegan restaurant, but they have a vegetarian pizza that I ordered without any cheese. The quality of ingredients was clear from the first bite and all of the delicious veggies made me feel like I wasn’t missing out on anything. I would definitely recommend this place if you have dinner plans with non-vegan company because it is sure to make everyone satisfied and happy. But if you are looking solely for a great vegan pizza, I highly recommend the restaurant Purezza, which is a 100% plant-based restaurant right around the corner and has an extensive list of amazing vegan pizzas. More on my experience at Purezza will be in my post for Week 5.
Overall, Brighton is a colorful, interesting, and wonderful city that I’m very happy to call my home for the summer. Thanks for stopping by, and stay tuned for a Week 2 post coming soon. 🙂 Have a great day!