The Earth & Stars in Brighton’s North Laine has long been been one of my favourite pubs. Not only do I love the location, the laid-back atmosphere, and the friendly staff, they’ve also always been brilliant at catering to a gluten-free diet. While the food here has always been great, over the last few months Chris and his team have totally overhauled the menu and focused on making the pub a place that specialises in catering to vegan and gluten-free diets – though meat and fish is still on the menu too.
It’s not just the selection of food at The Earth & Stars that keeps getting better, it’s the quality as well. As I said, it’s always been good, but now it’s really good. And I mean really, really good. Don’t just take my word for it though: the pub won the SILVER award for Best Gluten-Free Pub in The Gluten-Free Brighton Awards this year.
The other plus point is that it’s right across the road from my office, meaning that more often than not it’s my suggested meeting spot for drinks and the place I go to when I feel like I’d much prefer to be cooked for than go home and cook for myself. Consequently, I’ve been working my way steadily through the gluten-free menu options over the last few months… so here are my favourites.
Sausage & Mash (GF option)
While it’s on the menu as sausage and mash, this is sausage and mash with a difference. Instead of your standard mash potato, the sausages are served with mustard potato croquettes which are SO good – at home, I always mix wholegrain mustard with my mashed potato. Plus, the sausages are chunky and delicious, the veg is served perfectly al dente and the gravy is to die for. Seriously, if you gave me a mug of it I’d probably drink the lot. Or at least dip chips in it until it was all gone.
Crispy Smoked Tofu, Hand Cut Chips & Mint Pea Purée (GF & Vegan)
For me, this is the ONE. Gluten-free AND vegan, I genuinely have no idea how they manage to make this taste so damn incredible. It’s some kind of wizardry, I tell you. I’d say that this is my choice 75% of the time that I dine here. When you cut through the perfect, crispy batter you hit this beautifully silky, smoky tofu that melts in the mouth and tastes fantastic. I’m usually more of a fan of a slightly skinnier chip, but I love these chunky, floury ones and the flavours of the mint pea purée, homemade tartar sauce and samphire combined are just awesome. Even writing this I’m thinking about when I’m next going to be able to eat it…
Broccoli & Summer Pea Tart (GF & Vegan)
Another completely gluten-free and vegan dish, this tart is perfect when you fancy a bit of a lighter bite. The pastry, which is made with almond flour, has a great flavour and texture, while the filling of summer veg and vegan cheese was absolutely delicious. Served simply on top of a summer salad with truffle dressing, I very much enjoyed this with a pint of gluten-free beer! Which leads me nicely onto the final thing I love most about The Earth & Stars…
Gluten-Free (and Vegan) Beer On Draught!
As far as I know, the Earth & Stars is the only pub in Brighton to serve a gluten-free beer on draught. Which means, while there are other places like The Farm Tavern and Verano Lounge where I can enjoy a GF beer, here I can HAVE A WHOLE PINT. There’s something so much more satisfying about that than pouring a 330ml bottle into a glass. The beer served here is Hepworth Blonde from Hepworth Brewery in Sussex. Not only is it gluten-free, it’s organic and suitable for vegans too.
Find out more about The Earth & Stars
- Website: www.drinkinbrighton.co.uk/earth-and-stars
- Facebook: earthandstarsbrighton
- Twitter: @earthstars_btn
- Instagram: @earthandstars
Words and pictures by Alice Reeves