Newest Review: ... their tapas selection, chunky chips and a carafe of wine for £36 altogether. We went for the white wine option - a Puglian un-oaked cha... more
Food of the Earth
Terre a Terre, Brighton (Brighton)
Member Name: Essexgirl2006
Terre a Terre, Brighton (Brighton)
Date: 04/10/11, updated on 04/10/11 (62 review reads)
Advantages: Excellent range of Vegetarian dishes
Disadvantages: Tad on the pricey side
The décor inside was a dark maroon colour (although when we were outside the following day we thought it looked more of a dark pink - it could have been the lighting), very modern but still retaining a relaxing atmosphere. We were presented with menus and a wine list and asked to consider the Tapas Special Menu. The main menu included some tapas style dishes, as well as conventional starters and mains. The mains are about £13.95 each, with starters and tapas starting from £5 each, with nibbles and breads being slightly less. The menu is very extensive but also fairly clear, however on the recommendation of our fantastic server, Milo we went for the special Tapas menu. This included a sharing platter of their tapas selection, chunky chips and a carafe of wine for £36 altogether.
We went for the white wine option - a Puglian un-oaked chardonnay described as 'peachy' on the menu. We thought it delicious, on the fruity side, but very drinkable. The tapas selection arrived and a lot of work had gone into the preparation and presentation of it. Milo went through each dish with us explaining what they were. My friend's highlight was 'Smoked Sakuri Mai Fun', a cold starter made with rice noodles and vegetable spaghetti (kohlrabi, mooli, carrot) served with a miso and mirin dressing. This was twirled into a small cone shape, and was delicious with subtle asian flavours, but no out and out spice, it was served alongside small pieces of toasted smoked tofu. For me the Baby Batters were the favourite (only just!) - They were buttermilk soaked pieces of halloumi cheese in 'chip shop' batter served with a tartare sauce and a vodka chilli shot. The shot can be drunk (like a mini Bloody Mary) or used as a dip. The soaking of the halloumi in the buttermilk meant it wasn't as salty as usual, and with its unique texture and homemade batter it was tasty and interesting, without being greasy. There is a main course based around this, and I would definitely consider ordering it if I got the opportunity to return.
Other items included raw maki sushi rolls served with a number of interesting pickles and a smidgeon of extremely potent wasabi sauce that made my eyes water. The uttapam was another hit with us - a little Indian crumpet that used spices for flavour rather than heat, and had a mild, but tasty curry filling. There was also a hearty aubergine ganoush dip served with crispy, salty homemade breads (like tortilla chips, but...not), wasabi cashews and interesting polenta and sweetcorn cakes that looked a lot like fish fingers. The latter served with a chunky and tasty avocado dip and added a sweeter dimension to the platter. We absolutely loved the platter and there was not a dud dish to choose from. The chips were certainly chunky, in fact I would venture that they really should have been classified as wedges as they seemed to be about a quarter of a potato each. The generous portion was served with garlic mayonnaise, but I believe you can have other dips. I hadn't expected to feel as full as I did after this; I think the complex and varied flavours give the impression that you have eaten more than you actually have.
Deciding to make a night of it we ordered a further carafe of wine (£13.95) and I perused the dessert menu for sometime. I didn't really need a dessert as I felt fairly full but I plumped for the Nuts About Chocolate Fondant, mainly because I love chocolate fondants. This wasn't a real chocolate fondant though as the chocolate didn't ooze out when you broke into the casing - this was more of a rich chocolate brownie. I was served with praline ice cream which had a piece of peanut brittle sticking out of it, a blob of soft caramel fudge (which wasn't particularly fudge like) and a smear of banana crème which tasted nicer then it looked. All in all it was a sweet, rich dessert that almost killed me to finish. I managed it somehow, without exploding. The dessert was £7.95.
The service here was very good; the staff were very friendly and knowledgeable about the menu, confidently answering our questions and making recommendations. In fact our server bought over a copy of the restaurant's own cookbook for us to look at after we had asked about how often the menu changed. Generally everything seemed to be in season and was locally sourced. Dishes were original and they have deliberately shied away from safe and typical veggie staples. Vegan and gluten free dishes and options are clearly marked and they can advise nut allergy sufferers. The raw foods selection was limited, but I think if you pre-warn them they would be able to produce something from their back catalogue. Dishes were well thought out so that there was a good balance of flavours and textures. The menu did tend to get a bit fancy at times by giving dishes quirky names and complicated descriptions with lots of seemingly random ingredients. However, as the dishes all seemed to work, I cannot really criticise, and your server can always clarify what certain things are.
Lavatories were downstairs (although there is a disabled one on the ground floor), were clean and stocked with the necessary supplies. I recommend booking to avoid disappointment.
Summary: Excellent, innovative veggie restaurant.