Review: Earth and Stars, Brighton
With so many pubs in central Brighton, it can be near impossible to choose one to have a drink in, let alone one to grab some food in. Located just off of the well-beaten track of the North Laines, the Earth and Stars is a pub loved by locals and day-trippers alike that caters to the ‘free-from’ crowd with vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free food and drink options.
On a never-ending quest for good quality ‘free-from’ food, we went to check out their latest menu. Pippa is gluten and dairy free, while I have no dietary requirements and rarely eat ‘free-from’ food – I was excited to see how it lived up to my usual picks!
Though it may look small from the outside, the Earth and Stars seats a considerable amount of people over two floors while still curating a cosy, intimate atmosphere.
The inside is somewhat rustic, with plenty of exposed wood and brick, and covered in beautiful artwork on the walls and ceiling that you can drink in alongside your pint.
The Earth and Stars is home to a number of local ales, many of which are also organic, vegan and gluten-free. We opted for one gluten-free beer and a Fentimens pink lemonade – a nice choice to find behind the bar when you’re not feeling like alcohol or an overpriced pint of coca cola.
The menu is comprised of mainly vegan dishes, with a few vegetarian choices, and a meat and fish choice, many of which have the option to be made gluten-free.
At first glance, the menu was a little intimidating - one of those menus where you have to really think about (or even google) each element because you’re not entirely sure what those ingredients are! That being said, the description on the menu was comprehensive, which is a good thing if you’re going out of your comfort zone with ‘free-from’ food.
Beetroot Pate with Orange Jelly, Walnut Toast, Fennel Butter and a Rocket and Balsamic Salad
The starter looked beautiful and was the perfect start to our meal. The beetroot pate was smooth and creamy with a delicate earthy flavour. The orange jelly accompanied the pate nicely. The walnut toast was both crispy and chewy in places, and the dressing on the side salad was surprisingly delicious. A yummy dish with a trio of tastes and textures.
Sweet Potato and Spinach Cannelloni with a Fennel Sauce, Walnuts, Caramelised Red Onions and Smoked Rice Crisps
Before this dish, I had no idea how much I liked fennel. This was a perfect balance between garlicky, salty greens, soft cannelloni with a sweet filling and a truly delicious creamy earthy sauce (which blew my mind considering it didn’t actually contain cream!)
Top this with crispy red onions and crunchy walnuts, and we once again had a beautifully balanced dish in terms of flavour and texture. I practically licked the plate clean, and will 100% be going back for another helping of this dish soon.
Pan Roasted Celeriac Steak with Chestnut Mushroom and Smoked Chestnuts, Garlic Kale, Shallots, Poached Pear and a Chia Seed Cracker
This hearty, yet healthy meal left the plate as quickly as it arrived. The seasoned celeriac steak, layered with steamed broccoli and leaves of garlic coated kale was addictive. That being said, the real taste explosion from this meal were the smoked chestnuts.
The only small criticism comes from the poached pears, which tasted a little too sour for Pippa’s taste buds. Take those away and Pippa would say it came close to one of the loveliest vegan meals she’s ever had.
All in all, we had a wonderful vegan and gluten-free meal at the Earth and Stars. Flavour and quality were not at all compromised - a pleasant surprise for me as a ‘regular’ eater. I’m already planning another dinner there soon! If 'free from' food is your thing or you simply fancy a tasty, varied meal for a good price, I urge you to give the Earth and Stars a go.
Written by Sofaya.
Photography by Pippa.