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Flavours Galore at terre à terre – BRAVOS Best Restaurant 2024

I first visited terre à terre some 15 years ago. Telling my then manager about my weekend plans, she (a dedicated Brighton foodie) lit up with delight: “Oh, you’ll have a wonderful time!” she exclaimed. And she was right… 

Since then terre à terre has become one of my go-to destinations; a place to mark weddings, anniversaries and (a few too many) milestones. It’s also simply the place to enjoy some really good plant-led food. And I’m not alone in holding this opinion, with terre à terre winning the BRAVO for Best Restaurant in 2024.

The nature of our visit, on this occasion, was my favourite kind of celebration, a chance to eat some great food and catch up with my bestie. The restaurant was a simmering buzz of happy diners when we arrived one sunny lunchtime. 

A Paddington Martini with Steamed Buns

We started with an aperitif and steamed rice buns stuffed with marinated tofu and served with a side of fermented, pickled scrumptiousness. 

bao buns in wooden bowls

The World Cocktail Day special, a Paddington Martini made with organic gin, blood orange liqueur and homemade marmalade was our drink of choice. It delivered a tart, citrusy flavour that really woke up our taste buds and enough booze for us to settle into that catch-up.

Paddington Martini made with organic gin, blood orange liqueur and homemade marmalade. Flavours Galore at terre à terre

Our steamed buns arrived in a bamboo basket and emitted a cloud of headily scented steam when opened. The buns were soft, chewy clamshells packing a flavoursome heart of sticky Szechuan mapo tofu, paired perfectly with a miso chilli sauce. The rich umami flavours were offset by three fresh ferments and pickles, with the kimchi Chinese cabbage taking first place among near equals. 

The Deliciously Creative Terre à Verre Menu

We were there to try the Terre à Verre menu, a weekday set lunch for two with chunky chips and a carafe of wine to share. 

I’ve always found reading the menus at terre à terre a bit hypnotic like it’s an incantation from a wizard’s book of conjurations. Before long I’m spell-bound by words like ‘onigiri sushi rice’, ‘amchur tamarind sas’ and ‘shichimi togarashi’ (just imagine doing them in Gandalf’s voice, you’ll get what I mean). One of the great things about the set menu is that you don’t have to try and decipher any of this. Just sit back and trust in the magic carpet ride you’re about to be taken on.

The Terre à Verre menu changes seasonally giving the chefs a chance to get creative and, similar to the Terre à Tapas menu, it’s a rollercoaster of flavours and textures.

terre a verse sharing menu

Our sharing plate arrived, looking like the panoramic view of an art installation at Tate Modern. It really is quite beautiful with as much thought put into the overall architecture as there is into the flavours. Our hostess began her incantation, naming each part of the sharing plate, and I fell into a swoon. 

To list everything we had would break the spell and miss the point of the Terre à Verre experience which is about trusting in the creativity of terre à terre to take you on a journey. But some personal, highly memorable highlights were the intensely flavoured Kare Katsu smoked tofu, especially when coupled with the fresh taste of smashed cucumber and creamy sweet potato. It took you round the houses, for flavour and texture. 

The Victoria Dhokla stands out as one of the most unique elements on our plate, almost a savoury petit four. This steamed channa cake was incredibly light, spongy and soft, with a beautiful turmeric yellow colour. Rolling through it were warming flavours of chaat spice, dates, coconut, aubergine and lime pickle. Heavenly.

In the middle of the sharing plate was a large helping of carrot and kohlrabi threads served with sesame and ginger dressing and a tangy edamame, wasabi cashew pesto. This was an enticing palate cleanser between morsels, as well as delivering a health food shop level of goodness directly into our bodies. 

(Side note: Kohlrabi is very similar to the white interior part of broccoli stem both in look and flavour. If you’ve been in the habit of cutting the ‘trunk’ off broccoli and popping it in the scraps, then stop. Peel off the hard green exterior and slice down the tender white flesh into batons to nibble on while you carry on cooking, they’re delicious. Then go and try the carrot and kohlrabi threads at terre à terre.)

Our chunky chips didn’t go neglected, but on top of the steamed buns may have been excessive. These are the types of chips that are hard to put down. Crispy and golden on the outside, steaming puffs of fluffy potato on the inside. Unable to restrain ourselves we had to ask our server to remove them before we exploded.

But then there was pudding room…

…there’s no harm in looking at the menu after all. A Beautiful Pear appealed – but not to share – one each. These arrived with espresso martinis which we were positively encouraged to order. This was indulgence delivered in a triple hit.

Pear dessert served with espresso martini

The conference pear and frangipane tartlet on toasted flaked almonds was sweet but clean with fruit flavour. It was served with creamy white chocolate and amaretto ice cream, and a little jug of devilishly naughty salted miso caramel sauce. Despite the mountain of food we’d already consumed, these vanished effortlessly. I’ll be thinking about those lovely tarts for a long time to come.

bartender making espresso martini

Want to know more about Terre à Terre Brighton?
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Getting there
Map for Terre à Terre Brighton
71 East St, Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove BN1 1HQ, UK
Opening Hours

Monday 6:00pm9:00pm

Tuesday 6:00pm9:00pm

Wednesday 12:00pm3:00pm

Wednesday 6:00pm9:00pm

Thursday 12:00pm3:00pm

Thursday 6:00pm9:00pm

Friday 12:00pm3:00pm

Friday 5:00pm10:00pm

Saturday 12:00pm10:00pm

Sunday 12:00pm9:00pm