It’s an understatement to say it’s been a while since my last blog (which was all the way back in March… seriously, how did it get to the end of September already!?) In the meantime, I have been doing my best to keep the @gfdining Instagram account updated with my new gluten-free finds as well as reminders of my favourite places to eat in Brighton & Hove and beyond. The main reason for lack of blogging is that 2017 has been the most crazy, exciting year. Not only have I started my own business, The Joyful Web, but I also secured a publishing deal for my children’s books: Truth & Tails!
Sometimes, though, an opportunity to review a place comes along that’s just way too good to turn down. And usually, with me, that involves pizza. In this case, gluten-free, vegan pizza. If you’ve been following me on Instagram you’ll know that over the last couple of months, I’ve made the choice to go veggie. It started off as just going off eating meat, then as I watched documentaries and read articles it became a conscious choice – along with the choice to significantly reduce the amount of animal products in my diet. So, I’ve been following a mostly vegan diet whenever I can (for example, not buying any animal products at home) but sometimes when I’m out I don’t have much choice as the vegan options often aren’t gluten-free (honestly WHY is seitan such a thing!?) and the gluten-free options often aren’t vegan.
That’s why I was pretty damn excited when I found out about Purezza. They’ve been on my radar for a while, but I thought that they were simply a pizza takeaway place that kept popping up on my Deliveroo suggestions. Well, it turns out that they’re a proper vegan restaurant in Kemp Town with a whole host of mostly gluten-free options (most of which, admittedly, are pizza).
So, last week my awesome new business partner Sophie and I went along to check out the vegan, gluten-free menu.
I’m not going to lie, I almost fell of my chair in excitement when I saw that there was a gluten-free, vegan mac ‘n’ cheese on the menu. No question, that’s what we were getting. We also (feeling rather greedy after two pints of gluten-free ale over at Brewdog) went for the mixed olives to start, and the ‘Pesto Manifesto’ pizza on a gluten-free base.
First up, the olives (which I didn’t get a picture of because we were too hungry and I forgot, oops!) Sometimes restaurant olives can taste cheap and a little bitter – especially when they’re pitted mixed olives. Not these ones. They had a great flavour and the portion was pretty generous for a £3.50 starter.
Next… we need to talk about this mac ‘n’ cheese. Seriously. They’d run out of the pea pancetta (which I’ve been told is amazing) so instead they substituted with smoked tofu. I swear it tasted just like bacon. I forgot halfway through that what I was eating was vegan. I officially have a new food addiction.
Onto the pizza. Sorry Purezza, as lovely as it was, Fatto a Mano is still my number one for a gluten-free pizza because of the big fluffy bases (they also have a delicious vegan pizza option). Saying that though, this pizza was really very tasty: topped with pesto, red onions, fried courgettes, pine nuts, marinated spinach leaves, and cherry tomatoes. Anything with fresh pesto on is a winner for me. I would certainly eat this again (and fully intend to).
To accompany our carbohydrate feast, we both had a bottle of Hepworth Blonde. They serve this beer on draft in the Earth & Stars too: it’s a vegan, gluten-free beer from a local Sussex brewery and is one of my favourites.
Despite being stuffed, when we saw the dessert menu we could not resist a GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN TIRAMISU. I mean, what is this, magic!? It did not disappoint. Just when I thought the mac ‘n’ cheese couldn’t be topped… this might have had the edge.
Served with an oat milk latte, this was the perfect end to the meal! I’m OK with oat gluten, but they have other coeliac-safe non-dairy milk options if you aren’t.
All in all, it’s a massive thumbs up from me for Purezza! I love how lucky we are in Brighton that there are so many great gluten-free, vegan options available to us. I fully intend to eat my way around all of them, so please share your recommendations in the comments – and in return I shall do my best to get back on the blogging wagon.
Words and pictures by Alice Reeves. The Gluten-Free Dining Guide was provided with a complimentary meal for the purposes of review, but all words and opinions are honest and the author’s own.