“ Address: 11a Kensington Gardens, Brighton, BN1 4AL „
Wai Kika Mau Kau is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant in the heart of Brighton's North Laine's. Wai Kika has been a firm favourite of ours for years now and while the menu seems to change frequently what remains consistent is the good service and excellent food.
Like many places in the North Laine's Wai Kika has a homely charm to it that it couples with a certain quirkiness that you come to expect from anywhere in this area of Brighton. It doesn't look up market or expensive but it's comfortable and clean. The main thing for me when we go to Wai Kika is where we sit. Sitting by the door tends to be a bad idea, it can be quite drafty and as it isn't a particularly spacious restaurant I often find myself continually having to push myself tighter against the table to allow people by. Wai Kika can be a little bit on the cramped side but I find that with most places in the North Laines. Buildings aren't particularly big and everywhere seems to cram as many tables and chairs in as possible. This is not an accessible building. There are steps and the space is so restrictive that even if you are not a wheelchair user but have mobility problems you may struggle. I have seen a few people with buggy's so parents do seem to manage but I would say that it's not a comfortable fit.
I love the food in this restaurant. I keep flirting with vegetarianism and I think that if I was still living in Brighton I would have no problem being a vegetarian, when I visit I tend to eat mostly vegetarian food anyway because the selection of vegetarian food on offer, even in non-vegetarian restaurants, is exceptional. Eating in Wai Kika makes me feel like I could be a vegan! The selection of food is really good. Whatever your tastes I'm sure you will find something you like. If you want something classic like bangers and mash or chilli you will find vegetarian versions here that taste so much like the real thing that I can't tell the difference. Alternatively if you're one of these people that thinks that vegetarian and vegan food shouldn't just imitate meat you will also find some great dishes. We do occasionally go here for breakfast and I think they do one of the best veggie breakfasts in the North Laines. The portions are just so big that I often skip lunch altogether when we have breakfast here. They have veggie sausages, beans, chips, egg...basically everything you would expect. My favourite for a light lunch is the haloumi pitta pocket. I'm on weight watchers at the moment so I try to substitute the pitta for a wrap, which they will do happily. In fact this restaurant is pretty good for dieters, they even offer a burger without a bun. The halloumi in this restaurant is just to die for. I'm not sure what it is that they garnish it with but it tastes delicious. The pitta pockets always come with a generous portion of salad as well as a generous portion of chips. Another favourite of mine is the bangers and mash which is a huge portion and comes with onion gravy. There was one occasion when it was a bit dry with hardly any gravy but in general there is loads of gravy which is a good thing in my opinion.
Drink selection is pretty good here too. They do a selection of home made smoothies and milk shakes. I love their milk shakes and sometimes have one instead of a dessert, they're lovely and creamy and you can tell that they're made freshly. I don't tend to eat the cake here very often. On the occasions that I have (which hasn't been for at least a year) I've enjoyed them but often find that I'm too full from dinner to eat cake. The cakes are home made and of course vegan or vegetarian.
Service in Wai Kika is generally fine. I've never come out of Wai Kika and thought "wow service was amazing" but equally there has only been one occasion when I've come out of there and thought that service was terrible. In general it's reasonable but not exceptional service. Food can be a little slow but it's freshly made so that doesn't bother me too much. Staff don't leave you waiting too long to order and they're polite, although not often overly friendly.
Wai Kika tends to be one of my favourite places to eat. It offers an excellent selection of vegetarian and vegan food, that always tastes amazing. Prices do vary depending on what you order but on average it tends to cost us around £30 for three main courses and three drinks which I think is very reasonable. I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of if you eat meat or not.