Helen and I stepped outside the front door with our bikes about to go on a cycle ride, but it was not to be, the weather was pretty dismal so we scurried back inside, got changed and set off for Brighton instead. I knew of several places we could lunch at, one being the fantastic 64 Degrees but also vegetarian restaurant Terre à Terre and my only chance of eating there was with Helen as my husband Geoff wouldn’t want to – although I’m pretty sure he would have loved it.
We received a friendly welcome and shown to a seat right at the very back of the restaurant. We wondered if we smelled or weren’t dressed correctly to be seated so far away 😉 . We had to move though because we could feel the vibration of the fridge on the floor below us. Our new table was a little chilly. This was a cold day in ‘summer’ but the ceiling fans were still whizzing away overhead and although I had a cardigan to put on, my legs were cold from the draft. I couldn’t be bothered to move again.
I must say that we were rather shocked at the prices, we did look at the menu before we walked in but didn’t notice as we were focusing on what we’d order. For instance the cheapest dessert was £7.95 which was just a sorbet, the dearest being a whopping £11.65! We opted just to have a starter each and one dessert to share. The afternoon teas we thought were also expensive starting at £24, although they do cater for vegetarian, vegan and non gluten and had a separate menu for each. I’m afraid we couldn’t justify the prices for those, although they’re probably very tasty. Park House Hotel in Bepton do a lovely afternoon tea priced at £20 set in a beautiful comfy drawing room in the countryside, not quite the same setting as Terre à Terre, so if you’re not vegan you may as well go there.
We ordered a drink at £5 each, which I guess was silly seeing as we thought the food menu was expensive but there wasn’t much else on the drinks menu for me which wasn’t alcoholic/sparkling/or what I liked. We both had a non-alcoholic cocktail each, a Raspberry Beret for me, which just tasted of pureed raspberry and a Lychee Blush which was the tastiest of the two.
I’d always presumed that vegetarians were a healthy bunch, but it appears not. Most dishes contained butter/oil or fried food. I thought it would be a little more like vegan café Offbeet in Wickham – which we revisited a week later, it’s still lovely there – who serve dishes such as beetroot burgers and smashed avo’ for example but Terre à Terre was more of a gourmet fine-dining vegetarian restaurant, more suitable for an evening meal.
This sounds like another one of my moany posts but it does get better if you read on…I think
I ordered the Aubergine Genie which was a Japanese sounding dish. ‘Steeped skewered and seared ume miso sweet ginger tahini aubergine, with toasted seed oil, black sesame salts and hibiscus juice served with amchur nori salt dusted puffed rice seaweed cracker, edamame, wasabi and yuzu pesto and wakame vegetable thread salad.’ There were so many flavours it truly was tasty and the presentation was very good too. This dish can also be served as a main (larger and for an extra £6) and perhaps if we’d come in the evening I may have ordered it as one. I’m not normally one for tofu but this was very nice and I enjoyed it.
Helen ordered the Asian style dish of Soupa Dukka (£12.95, remember this is a starter!) which is their soup of the day and ‘Hot crispy fried lavash bread heaped with dukka dust served with salt lemon skordalia and charred aubergine zhuganoosh. Accompanied by a leafy salad of herby rocket, smoked tomatoes, Twineham Grange, lemon oil and roast tamari pumpkin and sunflower seeds.‘
Helen says – “I ordered this not because I fancied it but because it sounded weird and something which would be hard to replicate at home.
This Indian inspired dish also included many of the flavours I enjoyed in India. It can only be described as an explosion of flavours, a tangle of rich Indian slices perfectly complimented by a side cup of tomato & ginger tea, which like in India, tasted like a curry.
The lavash bread was slightly over fried so it lost its bouncing sponge texture but apart from that the dish was sublime, well presented too.
Just like you can judge a man by his shoes, you can tell a lot about a restaurant from their loos. The toilets here do resemble the local run down shopping centre so in this case I guess I am wrong in my judgements”.
We shared the Kulfi Cone & Brighton Beach Boondi Pops dessert at £8.95 ‘Proper Kulfi ice cream of cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, almond and rosewater in a poppy seed snappy cone, boondi pops of gram batter drenched with sticky Cointreau sauce, pistachio and flaked almonds with coconut and lime yogurt and mango and passion fruit sauce finished with pomegranate sharpy.’ This dish again was very flavoursome. The Brighton boondi pops (whatever they may be… aha, Googled it – ‘a fried snack made from chickpea flour’) were good too.
We found the ambience okay but there lacked any sparkle in the day time, the walls were just painted with no pictures or anything and we found it a little bland, perhaps it looks cosier in the evenings. As I mentioned previously, I was also cold from the ceiling fan so wasn’t very comfortable.
In my opinion Terre à Terre should do a special lunch time set menu which many restaurants offer these days, two courses for £ and three for ££, rather than the 3 courses for £34.50 it might make more people try it, find they love it and return in the evening for the more pricier menu. More than likely the ingredients and the effort they go to, creating so many tasty dishes warrant the prices I guess.
I’m not sure we’d return as there are plenty of other eateries in Brighton and if we did I think it would more than likely be in the evening but I’m glad we tried it but… never say never.
Ambience 7 (was going to give it a 6 but I feel mean doing so)
Return? See last paragraph.
Living life loving cake