Scones with jam and clotted cream (National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square)

Scones with jam and clotted cream (National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square)

Pompoko, Brighton: 4/5 

We approached Pompoko expecting a long wait due to the queue outside, but this turned out to be for takeout orders. We wanted to dine in, and were seated almost immediately. The rooms inside the restaurant are packed, and we were squeezed in on one table between two other groups. The takeout line snaked inside too, making for a crowded and bustling atmosphere, but we liked the feel of the place and didn’t mind at all.

The menu had a lot of vegetarian options, clearly marked, with photos showing you what to expect. The prices were uniformly low, which tempted us into ordering far too much food since the portions are generous.

Ordering takes place at the counter, where you can also ask for little tubs of additional sauces - I, of course, got extra chilli sauce. The food followed fairly quickly afterwards, and on the whole we observed a quick turnover of customers, though we took our time and didn’t feel hurried.

My starter was the only lowlight of the meal; a crunchy spring roll type affair but with tofu skin instead of a normal pastry wrapper. It was a bit tough and chewy, and didn’t do much for me.

My main of a tofu rice bowl with sesame BBQ sauce was much more enjoyable, with ample quantities of each ingredient. This dish alone would have been sufficient as a meal. The sauce could perhaps have been improved upon - it didn’t have a strong sesame flavour as I had wanted - but I would definitely make a return visit to try another rice bowl.

My boyfriend and I split the veggie noodles. This was a totally unnecessary indulgence and we struggled to eat much of it, thought it was very good for what it was. The veggies were fresh and cooked to the right level of tenderness. Fried noodles are generally greasy but these weren’t too bad at all. Still, in hindsight I wouldn’t bother with these again - I would stick to the rice bowl.

Overall, Pompoko is a popular and extremely good value restaurant, with an authentic atmosphere and great vegetarian options. I would definitely revisit Pompoko the next time I visit Brighton for a few days.

Pompoko, Brighton: 4/5 

We approached Pompoko expecting a long wait due to the queue outside, but this turned out to be for takeout orders. We wanted to dine in, and were seated almost immediately. The rooms inside the restaurant are packed, and we were squeezed in on one table between two other groups. The takeout line snaked inside too, making for a crowded and bustling atmosphere, but we liked the feel of the place and didn’t mind at all.

The menu had a lot of vegetarian options, clearly marked, with photos showing you what to expect. The prices were uniformly low, which tempted us into ordering far too much food since the portions are generous.

Ordering takes place at the counter, where you can also ask for little tubs of additional sauces - I, of course, got extra chilli sauce. The food followed fairly quickly afterwards, and on the whole we observed a quick turnover of customers, though we took our time and didn’t feel hurried.

My starter was the only lowlight of the meal; a crunchy spring roll type affair but with tofu skin instead of a normal pastry wrapper. It was a bit tough and chewy, and didn’t do much for me.

My main of a tofu rice bowl with sesame BBQ sauce was much more enjoyable, with ample quantities of each ingredient. This dish alone would have been sufficient as a meal. The sauce could perhaps have been improved upon - it didn’t have a strong sesame flavour as I had wanted - but I would definitely make a return visit to try another rice bowl.

My boyfriend and I split the veggie noodles. This was a totally unnecessary indulgence and we struggled to eat much of it, thought it was very good for what it was. The veggies were fresh and cooked to the right level of tenderness. Fried noodles are generally greasy but these weren’t too bad at all. Still, in hindsight I wouldn’t bother with these again - I would stick to the rice bowl.

Overall, Pompoko is a popular and extremely good value restaurant, with an authentic atmosphere and great vegetarian options. I would definitely revisit Pompoko the next time I visit Brighton for a few days.

Vegetable stir fried noodles (Pompoko, Brighton)

4/5 - About as good as fried noodles get for me, these were really tasty and had a good balance of fresh veggies to noodles. Very nice but surplus to requirements - I split these with my boyfriend and we struggled to eat half in addition to our starters and rice bowls. Lesson learned!

Vegetable stir fried noodles (Pompoko, Brighton)

4/5 - About as good as fried noodles get for me, these were really tasty and had a good balance of fresh veggies to noodles. Very nice but surplus to requirements - I split these with my boyfriend and we struggled to eat half in addition to our starters and rice bowls. Lesson learned!

Sesame tofu don - rice bowl with tofu and vegetables in a sesame infused BBQ sauce (Pompoko, Brighton)

4.5/5 - A hefty portion of nicely flavoured tofu and veggies. Simple and satisfying. This was only £4.20 and would have been enough food to satisfy me on it’s own - incredible value.

Sesame tofu don - rice bowl with tofu and vegetables in a sesame infused BBQ sauce (Pompoko, Brighton)

4.5/5 - A hefty portion of nicely flavoured tofu and veggies. Simple and satisfying. This was only £4.20 and would have been enough food to satisfy me on it’s own - incredible value.

Yubamaki - tofu roll filled with vegetables (Pompoko, Brighton)

3/5 - A new dish to me with considerable novelty value, it was fun to try but not memorable.

Yubamaki - tofu roll filled with vegetables (Pompoko, Brighton)

3/5 - A new dish to me with considerable novelty value, it was fun to try but not memorable.

Veggie burger featuring cheese and onion ring with fries (Brighton Burger, Brighton)

3/5 - I’m not a fan of these breadcrumbed vegetable burgers but I liked the delivery of this one and the price was right. It wasn’t good enough that I’d choose to go back for another, though.

Veggie burger featuring cheese and onion ring with fries (Brighton Burger, Brighton)

3/5 - I’m not a fan of these breadcrumbed vegetable burgers but I liked the delivery of this one and the price was right. It wasn’t good enough that I’d choose to go back for another, though.

QUORN ESCALOPE, MUSHROOM AND SWISS - £9.85
Quorn escalope burger topped with sautéed Portobello mushroom, fried onions, melted Emmental and peppercorn sauce (Carnaby Burger Co, Carnaby Street)

2.5 - Okay but didn’t blow my socks off. I prefer the bruschetta burger for sure.

My birthday petit four! Sparkly chocolate with a praline mousse inside (Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Chelsea)
5/5 - One of my favourite bites of the night, an unbelievably thin shell of chocolate housed a fluffy praline mousse. Though anything must taste good when Jean-Claude Breton has just sung you happy birthday!
All in all we had a fantastic experience at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Though it was a huge extravagance for our modest budget, we felt the service and quality matched the price we paid. The food was stunningly presented and memorably delicious, and I think we will be talking about this meal for years to come. 
Whilst dreaming in anticipation of this birthday dinner I had often greedily imagined being shown the kitchens and introduced to Clare Smyth, the head chef. To my surprise and delight, Jean-Claude Breton did offer to show us the kitchen before we left, which was an absolute dream come true for me. Clare was not in the kitchen by then as it was late and they were tidying up after service, but I did see her which was good enough for me. 

My birthday petit four! Sparkly chocolate with a praline mousse inside (Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Chelsea)

5/5 - One of my favourite bites of the night, an unbelievably thin shell of chocolate housed a fluffy praline mousse. Though anything must taste good when Jean-Claude Breton has just sung you happy birthday!

All in all we had a fantastic experience at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Though it was a huge extravagance for our modest budget, we felt the service and quality matched the price we paid. The food was stunningly presented and memorably delicious, and I think we will be talking about this meal for years to come. 

Whilst dreaming in anticipation of this birthday dinner I had often greedily imagined being shown the kitchens and introduced to Clare Smyth, the head chef. To my surprise and delight, Jean-Claude Breton did offer to show us the kitchen before we left, which was an absolute dream come true for me. Clare was not in the kitchen by then as it was late and they were tidying up after service, but I did see her which was good enough for me. 

Petit fours: Chocolate ganache, rosewater Turkish delight (Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Chelsea)
Ganache - 5/5 velvety and deeply chocolatey
Turkish delight - 3/5 another personal taste issue, I don’t think I’m a fan of these wobbly chunks of perfumey jelly, but my boyfriend happily polished mine off

Petit fours: Chocolate ganache, rosewater Turkish delight (Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Chelsea)

Ganache - 5/5 velvety and deeply chocolatey

Turkish delight - 3/5 another personal taste issue, I don’t think I’m a fan of these wobbly chunks of perfumey jelly, but my boyfriend happily polished mine off

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