Restaurant of the Week: Foodilic
On Friday afternoon, my partner and I had the pleasure of eating at Foodilic on Western Road. They offer healthy, delicious food at reasonable prices, so you can treat yourself without all the guilt that usually comes with it.
Better yet, they are offering 10% off the entire bill at both of their Brighton locations exclusively for our readers until 15th March 2020, and all you need to do to redeem this is quote “Brighton Journal”. You’re welcome in advance!
Foodilic – the healthy food option for local Brighton residents – is oddly situated next to McDonald’s while KFC is directly opposite. As we walked in, we noticed the bright, airy, relaxed environment that we had just entered. Foodilic was warm and inviting in sharp contrast to the bleak winter weather outside. Its interior gave off a warm yet bright feeling. Their art is unique and minimalist and is etched onto the walls near the back, accompanied by pictures of delicious food which got our appetites going.
We were greeted by a very friendly server, Sinead, who was clearly eager to help however she could. We got to choose our own table, so we picked one near the window and in view of the delicious-looking buffet. There was music playing but it was fairly quiet which set the atmosphere and also allowed for conversation.
One of the first things I noticed when we sat down was that the whole place seemed to be sparkling clean. There was a basket on the table with cutlery and not one knife or fork had any watermarks or other imperfections while the tables looked so clean you could eat your meal right off of them.
The atmosphere was exactly what you’d want on a Friday at lunchtime, a bunch of happy people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, etc, dining and chatting. There was no specific age group that they seem to be catering too, as the ages varied from children to the elderly. For the duration of the time that we were dining, there was always a steady stream of people coming and going.
My stomach was feeling a little unsettled before we arrived (little did I know that was about to change), so I started by ordering a lemon and ginger tea, while my partner ordered their white chocolate iced coffee with oat milk. The tea was exactly what I needed, but the star of the show in the drinks department was definitely the coffee.
My partner could not stop mentioning how good it was, and that they had found the right balance between sweet and bitter. I tried it and fully agreed, which is strange for us as we usually have very different taste in terms of how we take our coffee. While trying to sip it slowly rather than slurping it down all at once, he said, and I quote, ‘I could drink gallons of that and I’m not even much of a white chocolate person’ (which I can verify is true). If you like any of their coffees as much as we did, they offer a coffee loyalty card.
It was time for some food, and to get the best idea of what they offer, we decided one of us would go for the all you can eat buffet (which is only £8.50), and the other would order the full vegan breakfast. We shared both meals, so there was a huge range of flavours to try. It also allowed for a nice mix of helping ourselves and being served by the lovely Sinead.
The full vegan breakfast (which is just £7.95) consists of vegan sausage, aubergine bacon, grilled tomato, sautéed mushrooms, butter beans, ackee & tofu ‘scrambled eggs’, sourdough toast, and coconut butter. The vegan sausage was the most convincing of the meat substitutes, as it looked, tasted, and had the texture of a real sausage (especially when paired with brown sauce). The bacon was delicious and made a great addition to the meal, even if it was slightly less convincing as ‘meat’ I still ate and thoroughly enjoyed all of the pieces on my plate (and only left my partner a bite or two to try – oops!).
The mushrooms and butter beans both came at just the right temperature and were packed with loads of flavour. The mushrooms were sautéed nicely with a hint of spice, and they were exactly the texture you’d want from mushrooms as part of a breakfast/brunch dish. The star of the show, however, was the ‘scrambled eggs’ made from ackee and tofu. They tasted almost curried, and paired perfectly with everything else on the plate. The texture and colour were very similar to real scrambled eggs, and paired with the sourdough toast, they were an absolute dream. The next time I go back around breakfast time I’ll be ordering the eggs on toast just so I can get a bigger portion. I wish I knew how to make them because I’d have them for breakfast all the time – I think I like them more than actual eggs and I’m not even a vegan (just vegetarian).
The buffet offers a plethora of options in lots of bright, enticing colours, so we did our best to try a bit of everything. Admittedly, though, we may have missed a few things as there was only so much we could fit on the plate and in our stomachs! I noticed that it was constantly being checked on to ensure ultimate freshness. The first thing that caught our eyes was the crushed potato salad. Upon trying it we both found that it tasted super fresh and was bursting with flavour, which was a nice treat as some potato salads can be guilty of being bland and boring. This paired nicely with the vegan coleslaw, which was quite tart (in a good way) and packed a punch with each bite.
There was cauliflower on offer, which happens to be one of my favourites, cooked simply with salt, pepper, olive oil, and turmeric. It was the perfect texture – not too crunchy, not too soft – and tasted fantastic. This went well with the giant couscous as well as the green bean salad, which consists of fine French beans, peas, mange tout, and orange dressing. The fresh flavours complimented what the cauliflower had to offer perfectly.
For those looking for something a little more hearty, there was a mushroom stew which was a welcome contrast, along with the vegetable moussaka, to the lighter options. The stew came with rice and could have been a meal all on its own. The same went for the moussaka as it was hearty and filling, with a wide range of vegetables. One thing to note is that in the hot food section of the buffet, there was an even amount of vegetarian/vegan and meat options – 3 of each. Everyone is catered for which is a nice touch as a lot of places heavily focus on one diet or the other.
My favourite parts of the buffet were the smart salad, spinach and button mushroom salad, and the potato salad that I’ve already raved about. The smart salad is made up of broccoli, cracked wheat, sweetcorn, cucumber, mint, physalis, cherry tomato, and a mustard, ginger and vinegar dressing. I mean, the ingredients speak for themselves – it was a delicious combination of superfoods topped off with a well-balanced dressing that tied the whole thing together. A lot of the other options had softer textures so this one gave a welcomed bit of crunch.
The spinach and button mushroom salad was my number one choice because it combined three of my favourites – spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes – their flavours complement each other naturally. It was brought to life by the garlicky pesto dressing which truly left me wanting more, to the point that I went up to get another portion even though we had two full plates of food.
As you can probably imagine, by the end of this meal we were both stuffed. My partner has a massive appetite and was very hungry before we arrived but he put his fullness down to the fact that it was “real food” instead of processed fast food. I think that is also why my unsettled stomach resolved itself and I was left feeling much better after my meal, ready to take on the rest of my day. Before arriving I was worried I wouldn’t be able to eat much, but what Foodilic offers is exactly what my body needed.
Osman, the chef, came over to check that everything was okay. He and his team make everything fresh, down to the desserts which we had yet to try. Sinead and Osman couldn’t have been kinder to us and were always attentive, without being at all overbearing. I even witnessed both of them at different points assisting a woman with a cast on her arm with getting her food from the buffet and gathering her things as she was preparing to leave.
As we were quite full we decided it was a good idea to share a dessert, despite the fact that we wanted to try them all. We just simply didn’t have the room. From all the scrumptious-sounding options, we chose the triple chocolate cake. It turned out to be the right choice. The cake was a set mousse texture of both milk and white chocolate, with a hard dark chocolate shell on top and a hazelnut base. It was creamy but not overpowering or too rich. I’m not typically much of a sweet tooth and was definitely very full but I couldn’t stop myself from eating it because was so lovely and actually fairly light. It started to feel a little more indulgent the more we ate, but that definitely didn’t stop us. I liked the fact that there was a wide range of textures. I would definitely have it again, although I do want to try all the others too, the raw pistachio and mint cake in particular caught my eye!
I was clearly feeling better having just demolished my half of the cake, so we decided to finish of our meal off with some hot drinks. I went for the vanilla chai latte option and my partner ordered a single espresso. The latte came very hot which was good as some places can be guilty of handing out lukewarm beverages that don’t quite hit the spot. It was sweet, as expected, but not at all sickly. I very much enjoyed it, and for someone who struggles to finish drinks as anyone who knows me can tell you, I finished it quickly. My partner described the espresso shot as very strong and smooth, and he added brown sugar for a little sweetness. These drinks were the perfect end to our lovely Foodilic experience.
If you are looking for somewhere affordable and healthy that caters to whatever dietary need you have – whether you live for meat or haven’t eaten an animal product in years – I highly recommend giving Foodilic a shot. I felt 100 times better when I left than when I arrived, and what more could I really ask for? They offer takeaway boxes for £5 and £10 if you’re on the go, or you can sit in like we did and enjoy the relaxed, happy atmosphere. (We were sat there for an hour and a half without even realising how long it’d been!). Either way, you’re in for a delicious & nutritious treat!
Check out their website for more info and the full menu: https://www.foodilic.com/