Review: Loving Hut, Brighton

Loving Hut is a world-wide chain of vegan restaurants. There are Loving Hut restaurants in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia, USA, Canada, Austria, Germany, Spain and many other countries! There are three Loving Hut branches in the UK – one in Brighton (reviewed here), one in London (Camden) and one in Norwich. They all offer takeaways and eat-in meals.

I stumbled upon Loving Hut by accident, when googling a different vegetarian restaurant in Brighton. When I found the website I was very excited by the oriental-style menu, and couldn’t wait to try the food! On a visit to Brighton to attend the Viva Veggie Roadshow, Ben and I scheduled a trip to the Brighton Loving Hut. From the picture on the website, it looked like there may only be outside seating, however, on arrival we were pleasantly surprised  to find that there were also some tables and chairs indoors.

We spent quite a while studying the menu, and we asked for descriptions of some of the dishes. The lady behind the counter was very friendly and helpful and was happy to explain to us the difference between a summer roll and a spring roll! We decided to order Crispy Clouds, Golden Nuggets, Smiling Dumplings, Spring Rolls and Veg Chow Mein.

The food was brought over one or two dishes at a time, as and when it was ready. We didn’t have to wait very long. The crispy clouds were basically prawn crackers without the prawn. Ben loved them and I thought they were quite nice. My favourite dish was the Golden Nuggets. These were chicken-style nuggets, which came with a vegan mayonnaise and ketchup. I loved the mayonnaise, and thought it tasted nicer than normal eggy mayonnaise. The Spring Rolls and Dumplings were really tasty, and came with soy sauce and sweet chilli dip. Ben’s favourite part of the meal was the Chow Mein. This was noodles in a sauce with tofu pieces. Ben (a non-veggie)  thought it tasted just as good as normal Chow Mein.

The food was excellent but I think the vegetarian and vegan promotional materials in the restaurant would have been off-putting to meat-eaters. In the restaurant there was a TV screen which appeared to be showing rolling footage of the environmental and other negative consequences of meat-eating, with different language subtitles displaying at the bottom. There were also leaflets in the restaurant about the harm caused by the meat industry, and information about why smoking and drinking alcohol are bad. Ben described their tactics as a little too ‘militant’ which I can understand, since meat-eaters are not going to go there if they are made to feel as though they are destroyers of the planet! Ben also noted a large picture on the front door of a pig in a factory farm, which turned out to be a poster advertising an anti-factory farming protest in London. We agreed that perhaps this poster should have been displayed elsewhere to stop scaring away non-veggies! I can understand the reasoning behind the vegan promoting leaflets etc, but just think they could perhaps be a little more subtle. Ben and I both agreed that the kind of food served here could be appreciated and enjoyed by most if not all non-veggies, even those who are usually sceptical about vegetarian and vegan food.

This is the first vegan restaurant that Ben and I have visited and we were both considerably impressed. In light of the vegan mayo I tried here, I am going to go out and buy some to use at home!  This restaurant provides an opportunity to prove to meat-eaters that there’s more to vegetarian and vegan food than just vegetables, nuts and lentils – which is one reason why I think it’s so important for non-veggies to be made to feel welcome here!


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