Brighton

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Brighton

Postby dizzy3 » Sun Jan 13, 2008 8:21 am

i'm thinking about moving to Brighton in the near future and i have a few questions...

how safe and clean is the city in general?

are there many vegans?

how many good veggie/vegan restaurants?

what are the nicest areas and are they close to vegan places?

thanks!
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Postby Ambi » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:28 pm

I've lived in Brighton for over six years now.

Clean? Yes, except when uncovered bin bags get ripped apart by seagulls. There seem to be a lot of litter collectors employed. The air quality seems fine to me.

I think it's a pretty safe town, although we snatched heroin death capital of Europe from Glasgow a few years back. A few years ago there was a bad gay-bashing problem, but the police tackled it well. That's the only local problem I've heard of. Whitehawk and Mouslecoomb have bad reputations, but from what I've heard the situation was worse in the past than now. You don't need to go to either area if you don't want to, anyway.

I've only met one other vegan (that I know of), but I don't look for them and I have a small social circle.

There are no vegan restaurants, but a few veggie ones (though they tend to be more cafeish).

Terre a Terre is the pretentious vegetarian restaurant with awards under it's belt, but I've been disappointed with it lately. It used to be great, but in the last couple of years the food hasn't impressed me and IIRC, it's taken them two years to put a new vegan option on the menu.

Food For Friends is ok, Infinity Cafe can be good. Sanctury Cafe is pescaterian, but the specials change all the time and almost everything I've had there has been really good. Food at The George is never quite as good as it could be, but it's a pretty nice pub. There are a few other cafes, and the usual Thai, Indian, Italian places where you can get vegan food if you ask. I was taken to Graze recently, they were happy to put together a vegan menu with advance notice.

Nicest areas? Kemptown's very desirable, trendy and by the sea. Whitehawk is right next to it so estate agents like to pretend Whitehawk houses are in Kemptown. I don't get over there much so can't say what it's like for vegan food. Seven Dials is nice and close to everything. There are others, but I don't pay much attention to the nicest places to live because I don't want to spend all my money on a shoebox. Don't worry too much about being close to places though, Brighton's a fairly small place.
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Postby Graham_N » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:33 pm

1) How safe and clean is the city in general?

Well I suppose it depends what you are used to. I came from London so Brighton seems really peaceful and much cleaner than I'm used to. The commercial areas like around the East Pier and Western Road can get quite rowdy on the weekends and are the dirtiest areas really, but there are many clean and quiet areas. Hove is generally the more middle class area with a more reserved set of pubs and restaurants and is away from the 'hen' and 'stag' party circuit. Seven Dials is another good area I'd say and areas around the parks are also nice. There are loads of nice houses in Brighton really it's just a matter of price where it will be. Many of the students live in the East, north of Kemp Town (the main gay area) and off London Road the more working class area that does resemble London really. Generally I'd say it is safe and clean in most areas and a really nice place to live and great for vegans.

2) Are there many vegans?

Well, yes enough to make it pretty normal to say you're vegan in most of the eating spots. And I did meet another vegan within a few weeks of being here with no real effort.

3) How many good veggie/vegan restaurants?

There are a lot of places that cater to vegans. My favourite is Planet India (they are moving right now to a bigger place) I love Indian food and these guys make quite genuine tasting dishes at a very reasonable price with a great atmosphere. On the more pricey end there is Terra a Terra, which personally was not my thing but some people like it. Then there's Food for Friends, which is more airy and a bit more 'home' cooking feeling. Another favourite of mine is the vegan meze at Kambi's a Lebanese on Western Road in Hove. It really is great (it makes the meat eaters jealous ;-) and a nice friendly atmosphere, they do take their time though so don't go there if time is an issue. There are also loads of vegan cafes and burger places etc., too many to mention, but my favourite café is Little Jack Corner, they do a really nice vegan breakfast and set Thai type curries for lunch. A more family friendly place is Sanctuary Cafe on the border of Hove, you can take kids etc. If you're more of a political vegan the Cowley Club on London Road in the East is great for meeting vegans and activists and having a great vegan lunch (its a non-profit co-op) and is totally vegan!

If you let me know your favourite food and what kind of place you like I can point you to a good restaurant, I like eating out as you can probably tell ;-)

4) What are the nicest areas and are they close to vegan places?

Most of the vegan places are quite central or to the West towards or in Hove. But it's not really an issue you can get around very easily in Brighton it's all about 10-15mins wherever you are. I would say for buying vegan food, being near Taj on the west (border of Hove) or in the east (border of Kemp Town) is a really good idea, it is vegan heaven!


I hope that helps, drop me a line if you have any specific questions or if you want a tour when you get here :-)
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Postby Ambi » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:48 pm

I miss Planet India! They sold the old place before finding a new one. I hope they sort it out soon.

I meant to mention that every pub in Brighton that serves Sunday roast has at least one veggie option, including The Eagle which has a vegan chef.
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Postby Graham_N » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:56 pm

Yeah, I've been suffering without Planet India, I used to eat there a lot, they did say they'd be open again soon though (after getting back from India I think). I forgot about the pubs, the Eagle is a really nice Sunday roast I've been a few times recently. The George can be a bit disappointing, you have to get there early and for a totally veg pub it's not as good as you would hope. I think some of the older places haven't moved with the times, they need to realise vegan food is much better these days.
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Postby Hiking Fox » Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:57 pm

For the size of population, Brighton is the most vegan-friendly place in Britain. I go there quite a lot, and I know lots of vegans there.

You can get vegan breakfasts and soya milk everywhere, there's an all-you-can-eat veggie curry place, a fair trade chocolate shop, a totally veggie pub that does tea with soya milk cheaper than tea with cows' milk, and masses of second hand shops etc.

Whitehawk has a reputation for being rough, but it also has million pound houses in it. It probably just seems 'rough' compared to the rest of the city, because it has a Lidl (which btw, does really nice vegan chocolate biscuits). I've been there loads of times and it has never felt 'dodgy' or unsafe to me, though I've heard that the caravan site there has some problems with teenagers hanging around.

The thing about Brighton is that it is a party city. There are loads of people living there who have 'escaped' from London, so it is full of web designers, artists etc. In some ways, this makes for an exciting, vibrant city, with loads of great places to hang out and eat vegan food. It also means that nice, clean-looking pubs will have vaseline smeared all over the window ledges to stop people snorting coke off them.

Basically, Brighton is a fun place, but it is also shockingly expensive. A room in a shared house that would cost £60 per week in Manchester would cost £90 in Brighton. A pint of fairly average beer would cost over £3, and if you buy lager, you're talking close to £4 a pint. This is for normal pubs, the trendy ones would cost more.

It also takes a suprisingly long time to get to anywhere from Brighton. You're talking an hour to London on the train, then undergound across the city, then a train connection. If you drive, the A23 road can be very slow. It takes me 2 hours to get to London, but at least 4 hours to Brighton.

So I'd say that if you want to stay close to home most of the time, have a high income and love going out to cafes and pubs, Brighton is a great place to live. If you are short of money and like getting around to other cities, I wouldn't move there.
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Postby Hiking Fox » Sun Jan 13, 2008 2:04 pm

[quote="Graham_N"]The George can be a bit disappointing, you have to get there early and for a totally veg pub it's not as good as you would hope. I think some of the older places haven't moved with the times, they need to realise vegan food is much better these days.


Good point. The food at the George used to be incredible, now it is just ok. They got a new chef a while back, I think. It is still good value by Brighton standards though, and the menu is still biased in favour of vegans.

Theres another pub called the 'Saint George' in another part of town, I can't remember exactly where, except that it is up the hill from the hospital. Their menu is entirely sausages, gravy and veg. They have about 12 options, of which half are veggie, and most of them are vegan. So you can have, say, country herb sausages with cider and red onion gravy one day, then have spicy sausages with a different type of gravy the next day.
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Postby Graham_N » Sun Jan 13, 2008 2:35 pm

The Saint George aye, I've not come across that one yet, if it's near the hospital that is quite a way from me, but I'll check it out, thanks. In fact it's Sunday! maybe that's somewhere new to try!
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Postby Pete » Sun Jan 13, 2008 7:58 pm

Best place to meet vegans is the Cowley club I'd say (or you could go along to the monthly vegan get togethers where vegans meet up to eat), depends if you're more into the activist side of things or the more meet up & eat type of thing?
I've found the best food at Infinity café as it's organic for the most part & has plenty of vegan things & will modify meals for people in various parts of their training cycle (bulking, cutting etc). They got a couple of chiefs though one good, the other can tend to get a little exited about tofu & overdo it a little. Me, James, sometimes Anthony, Gary& Roland usually visit infinity once a week on Tuesdays for our bodybuilders eat out day.
There is the also the new beanstalk café that's just by the entrance of the South laines, but the food there isn't great & they don't really seem to have decided exactly what they're doing yet, hopefully it will come good with a little time.
Loads of pubs & cafés have vegan options about town & everyone knows what a vegan is.
It's a pretty safe place, but can get rowdy around West Street weekends.
I think everyone else covered the other stuff.
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Postby dizzy3 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:27 am

wow lots of great replies, thanks mates!

are drugs such a big problem in brighton and does it affect the life of non-users in any way (through random crime, violence...)?

what would a 2 bedroom, 100ish sqm house/flat cost to rent in the nice areas? is it easy to find something like that?

Pete, i'm afraid i'm not much of an activist... but i do make donations to random vegan charities, not sure if that counts as activism though :(
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Postby Ambi » Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:40 pm

I knew a girl who said she gave junkies "shopping lists" to go out and rob :-/. The only crime that anyone know has been a victim of here is cash machine card cloning. I've always felt safe.

What do you mean by nice areas? Do you want to be close to all the action? Near the sea? Somewhere quiet and friendly? Personally I'm happy in studentland, I can sea the downs from my window.
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Postby dizzy3 » Mon Jan 14, 2008 5:26 pm

[quote="Ambi"]I knew a girl who said she gave junkies "shopping lists" to go out and rob :-/. The only crime that anyone know has been a victim of here is cash machine card cloning. I've always felt safe.

What do you mean by nice areas? Do you want to be close to all the action? Near the sea? Somewhere quiet and friendly? Personally I'm happy in studentland, I can sea the downs from my window.


well somewhere quiet, friendly,clean, safe, green(maybe a park around) and in walking distance of the veggie joints if possible. i'm not really interested in the nightlife or being very close to the sea.
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Postby Hiking Fox » Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:13 pm

[quote="dizzy3"]
what would a 2 bedroom, 100ish sqm house/flat cost to rent in the nice areas? is it easy to find something like that?


Prob about £800 - £1000 per month. Depends how close it is to the station.
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Postby dizzy3 » Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:41 am

what about finding vegan foodies/ organic drinkies in stores or things like soap, detergent etc. ? is that really easy too? i didn't ask because i'm assuming that wouldn't be a problem since you even have a vegan shoe shop there :D
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Postby bob_summers » Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:22 am

[quote="Hiking Fox"][quote="dizzy3"]
what would a 2 bedroom, 100ish sqm house/flat cost to rent in the nice areas? is it easy to find something like that?


Prob about £800 - £1000 per month. Depends how close it is to the station.


wow. them's london prices.
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