The newly opened Duke's at Komedia cinema, bar, and cafe on Gardner Street has quickly jumped into the top three on my list of Best Places in Brighton. Not only does this brand spanking new cinema have two screens showing documentaries, indie films and their pick of the best of the blockbusters but they also have two bars, one spilling out onto the street which will be extra amazing in summer, one cosy lounge style bar upstairs, and, the icing on the cake, kick ass vegan food. Yep, that's right, Brighton is catching up with Austin, Texas in the awesome stakes with this double hitter - movies and hot dogs in the same place! Hell yeah!
Upon hearing that Duke's at Komedia were going to be slinging tofu dogs I dropped them an e-mail to get the lowdown on shared equipment, veganness of their dressings and possible future vegan options. I met with their lovely head chef who assured me that the dogs themselves are cooked separately to meat, they have a totally vegan fryer and the toppers, sauces and sides are now labelled as vegan on the menu just to make things that little bit easier.
I dove straight into the food with a Back To The Old School dog, no veganising necessary, just ask for the tofu dog option.
This bloody enormous tofu dog comes in a mini baguette with tonnes of fried onions, American mustard and Heinz ketchup. Delicious. That's not all though, for your £9 there are also sides of fries, nacho chips and barbecue sauce.
The dog itself was absolutely spot on, I love that it's served in a proper sized roll making this a real meal and the toppings were ample. The homemade Smokey Barbecue Sauce is sweet & infused with delicious figs, apricots and apples. The fries were crisp, cooked perfectly & I thought the portion size was spot on.
As you can see the vegan options are clearly labelled with a (v) and there are a tonne of them. The jalapeños labelled (v) in this picture are actually a chilli lime jalapeño pesto which shows just how hard these guys are working to come up with inventive & exciting options.
The other really cool thing about these is the way that they're served, the tins mean that they can now be taken into the screens! If you're not into eating something as substantial as a hot dog in the theatre itself both the sweet and salty popcorn's are vegan and there are cakes, really good cakes! When we visited we tried a slice of this delicious Lemon Polenta cake...
...which was perfectly moist and had a beautiful juniper and lemon glaze on top. Quite lovely. The other vegan desserts you can expect to see popping up here are a Spiced Carrot Cake with Orange Cardamom Frosting, Chocolate Fudge Cake with Chocolate Orange Frosting and, wait for it, Churros with Dark Chocolate Dip. Seriously, this chef knows her shit and is serious about feeding vegans decent food.
Another awesome thing about Duke's at Komedia is that they've worked with Boho Gelato to offer five ice creams and sorbets that you can't get anywhere else. These flavours will rotate seasonally and the current vegan options are Mud In Your Eye Figgy Pudding Pie which is a delicious fig infused chocolate sorbet and Mulled Cider Apple Pie Sorbet which I cannot wait to try next time I visit. Just in case the bar staff aren't 100% sure which one's are vegan when the flavours change they're helpfully labelled vegan right on the bottom of the tub.
The bars also serve vegan drinks including two of my favourites, Brooklyn Lager and Rekorderling, they make a great decaf soya latte (sorry real coffee drinkers - I have no clue!), the hot chocolate is vegan and after chatting with them they're also looking into labelling the wine list.
I foresee myself hanging out here a lot (by tomorrow I'll be on my third movie this week), it's essentially what I've been dreaming of for years, a cafe with vegan options that's open 'till late - currently 9pm for hot food and 11pm for cakes and drinks. If the kitchen gets busy enough they'll stay open serving hot food until closing so get down there are make these guys as busy as you can, I want the tofu dogs to out-sell their meaty counterparts and I want this place to be busy and crammed full of vegans stuffing their faces with tofu dogs!