• VBites – delicious vegan beach cafe

    February 6th, 2010mr meanerbrighton, more restaurants (not LA)

    I live in Southern California where we have perfect year-round temperatures, palm trees and sun-drenched beaches. A Beach Cafe here looks like THIS:

    Paradise Cove Beach Cafe. Malibu, California

    (picture courtesy of flickr)

    Whereas a beach cafe in my home country of England looks, shall we say, a tad less exotic, especially on a rainy, blustery October day. However, while the Paradise Cove might LOOK attractive from the outside, what’s inside it is positively ugly. Tanks of dying “fresh seafood” – lobsters, crustaceans and even fish waiting to be plucked and cooked in boiling water.

    VBites, on the other hand, is a wonderful and entirely vegan cafe on the “English Riviera” at Hove, just west of Brighton on the South Coast. Yeah, there’s no sandy beach outside the door or palm trees waving in the wind but what’s inside will warm you right to your soul on the coldest of winter days.

    Once you walk through the doors of VBites, it’s like being transported to a city-center cafe like you’d find in London or New York. Bright colors adorn the walls, and everything is light wood, concrete, stainless steel or funky plastic. Right away, you know you’re somewhere different as the first thing you see is a large bar dining area with a “cupcake conveyor belt” rotating, you guessed it, many varieties of vegan cupcakes past your nose as you eat. It was off hours when we went there, so sadly the belt was not operational which is a pity.

    To the left of the bar is a children’s play area with soft mats and toys – a real boon to vegan parents who can pop their toddler in a safe environment and keep an eye on them while they eat. What a great idea!

    Towards the rear of the restaurant is the dining room which has a long bar down one side and comfortable tables along the other. Funky music, cool lighting and bright decor really did make me feel very urban, not at all like I was sitting a few feet form the beach.

    The huge menu is delightfully varied, and has to be one of the best I’ve ever seen at an entirely vegan restaurant. You can start the day with a tofu scramble or vegan full English breakfast, then eat your way through plenty of lighter options such as burgers, hot dogs, nachos, sandwiches, and salads. If you choose to go for a romantic dinner in the evening, there’s also a full-on lunch menu, and a long list of entrees (Italian, Indian, you name it!). Additionally, there’s a “build your own vegan pizza” option with tons of toppings, all baked on dough specially brought in from Italy.

    Nachos with soya melted cheese, salsa and guacamole. £4.75

    We opted for some down to earth comfort food: nachos followed by bangers and mash. The service was very fast and attentive, the food arrived extremely well presented, and didn’t hang around long on the table. The nachos were awesome – home baked chips, salsa, guacamole and cheezly cheese topped off with jalapenos and a lime.

    Soya bangers and mash with onion gravy. £6.95

    The traditionally English “bangers and mash” sincerely blew us away. Creamy, buttery mashed potatoes (probably the best I’ve had since becoming vegan) topped with three hearty VBites sausages and smothered in a rich, creamy onion gravy. I know my description sounds like something off a menu, but those adjectives are all highly accurate, I can assure you!

    Our only regret when we visited VBites is that we were on the south coast for just a few hours, and had to get back to London for the evening otherwise we would have tried far more things on the menu. On the way out there are fridges full of VBites food items (VBites is the brand formerly knows as Redwood Foods) so you can get many of the ingredients to take home and prepare. The bangers, cheezly, fake meats, burgers etc. are all available at the same prices you can pick them up in a supermarket.

    Oh, and talking of prices, VBites is remarkably inexpensive considering what you get. The portions are large, the prices are low and you’d usually expect to pay a heck of a lot more considering the beach location and standard of decor and service.

    Finally, there’s one more contrasting fact between our English version of a beach cafe and what exists in America: NO BEACH VIEW. Yeah, due to the crazy winds on English Channel there’s a large storm wall and built-up promenade between VBites and the sea.

    That’s not a bad thing, though, as our beaches are a lot less picturesque than the ones in Southern California. Just ask Holly Walsh who made this great video just a mile or two from VBites:

    I hate the seaside – Watch more Funny Videos

    Our friend Lex, at Vegan-LA/Vegan-Europe described VBites as “… like finding the gingerbread castle in a fairy tale. You’ll rub your eyes in disbelief.”. So true!

    Hove Lagoon, Kingsway, BN3 4LX
    01273 933757

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10 responses to “VBites – delicious vegan beach cafe” RSS icon

  • Heather Mills’ place right? That’s Beatle money you are eating! Bet that makes it taste even better.

  • i’d pay 7 pounds for those bangers!

  • great review. love that place. I eat there once or twicea week

  • Thanks for the quote! Holly Walsh is too funny! “Even the people of Brighton have gone gay to find something to do” oh no she didn’t, hahaha

  • Hang on there …. the great British sea side can be
    paradise on a hot day in summer !! About the food … those soya bangers and mash look yummy …. they would be great wiv some mushy peas on the side !

  • That video really makes me want to visit the british seaside…H ha haaa….

    I would take the mashed taters & gravy w/out the bangers. Instead w/ a big salad and a dessert.

  • I think the world needs a VBites 24 hour webcam, for all the people that visit here from around the world and want to come back!

    We love our international visitors, especially when they come to Hove and appreciate all the hard work that we go to every day so we can bring tasty plant-based food to the world!


  • thx for such a nice review! vbites has an even more expanded menu coming for the spring, and i can’t wait to try the new items!

    oh, and there’s not a penny of “beatles money” in VBites, as anybody close to the situation knows.



  • I loved the Holly Walsh video !! An honest statement about the coast AND London, both places close to my heart as I was born and lived in London and now live in Sussex both targets of her hilarious vindictive! Great stuff Holly! Oh and I won’t be eating at VBites but perhaps I should post a video of the 1000 reasons why not.

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