Thursday, 16 July 2009

Aloka, Pompoko and more Vegan Brunch.

Just a heads up, Aloka is now closed and VBites is open in the same location.

This week started badly as I found out that vegan certified shower gel made by Original Source isn't as cruelty free as one would think. Having been vegan for years I foolishly thought I knew everything about which companies suck and which don't. I know that whilst Tom's of Maine look great they're actually owned by Colgate Palmolive and that although some companies may write 'product not tested on animals' on their toiletries all that really means is that they paid someone else to test the ingredients for them. Unfortunately it hadn't clicked that Original Source are owned by PZ Cussons who test on animals. Well that's the end of my lime shower gel love affair! Once I stopped being annoyed at myself I got down to my local and very cruelty free Lush and bought myself some grapefruit scented Happy Hippy shower gel.

If you're interested in making sure you're buying cruelty free products check out this list here Uncaged.

After our shopping trip to Lush Nick and I decided to try out Brighton's new vegi restaurant Aloka which is conveniently located on the same street as Lush! Aloka is a buffet style restaurant where you pay for the food by weight, most of the food is vegan and a lot of it is also raw. If you go between 3 and 4 and get takeaway then it's half price so of course that's what we did. I decided to try a bit of almost everything...

...and we took it to Pavilion Gardens for a picnic. I think the best bit of this was the Lentil Bake, it was so awesome, I don't think I've ever enjoyed lentils so much. The salted potato wedges were for once not spicy and they went really well with the avocado hummus. There was a roasted tomato pasta salad, quinoa salad, green salad and a tomato, avocado and cucumber salad, these were all delicious.

I'm already looking forward to going back to Aloka to try their raw nut cheese and crackers (£3.50) and some of their raw desserts (priced around £3). The only thing I would say about this place is that if it hadn't been half price this would have been a bit of an expensive lunch and their prices go up at dinner and up more if you eat in so try to get there for 3ish!

Yesterday I met up with my lovely friend Tabitha for lunch at local Japanese restaurant Pompoko. This place is always full of Japanese students which is a great sign that the food's good, it's pretty cheap and they have a few vegan options that came highly recommended by my vegan work mates.

I went for the Sesame Tofu Don, a rice bowl with a sesame infused BBQ sauce.

And Tabitha went for the Tofu Chilli Don a rice bowl with tofu in a spicy tangy sauce. She also ordered a side of Yubamaki to share.

I really enjoyed the sesame BBQ tofu dish and this meal was so filling I almost didn't want to eat any dinner that evening. I tried Tabitha's Chilli tofu dish but it was way too spicy for me, she did tell me that it was pretty mild really but as I'm sure I've mentioned before I'm a huge spice wuss. The Yubamaki was amazing, I'd assumed it was a spring roll style dish with tofu and veggies inside but it was actually a tofu package filled with veggies - delicious. I'll definitely be going back here soon.

I'm still working my way through Vegan Brunch, this week the banana flapjacks.

They were so so good, definitely the best pancakes I've ever made. Unlike some recipes I've tried there's no sugar in them, all the sweetness comes from the bananas and a little bit of maple syrup and I didn't need to buy any speciality ingredients. I'm going to be making these again very soon. If you haven't bought Vegan Brunch yet get it now!

With the very last of my Dandies vegan marshmallows I made some rocky road brownies.

These were gooey and cakey and full of Dandies and walnuts, yum. You could use any chocolate brownie recipe to make these, I used this one that someone once posted on the PPK forums.



1 cup organic sugar
1 cup organic flour
1 Tbs ground flax seed
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt


Mix together all the wet ingredients then dump in all the dry. Mix until ingredients are just combined.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or gas mark 4 for 20-25 mins.


  1. Oh my, everything looks so good!
    I like the sound of sugar-free pancakes.

    Thanks so much for the Pompoko pointers, I went there with a friend to get take out and it all looked so nice, I've been meaning to ask them what's vegan. Thankyou!

  2. Holy Jesus, those brownies look amazing! I gotta order me some Dandies soon.

    Good to know about Original Source. They don't sell it around here, but my friend brought me back some from Scotland last year. I used it all, but if he goes back to Scotland, I'll tell him not to buy me any more. Luckily, we have a Lush store in Memphis!

  3. Ohh I'd always used original source stuff too.. assumed being all vegan that it was ok. At least this gives me an excuse to start shopping at Lush more often!

  4. That brownie recipe is delicious on it's own, but you took it to a whole new level! Those brownies look SO good. I really have to find some Dandies around here to try that.

  5. Thanks for the recipe, I will be making those brownies asap! Love the rocky road idea.

  6. I love your big bowls of tofu. That is my kind of eatin'.

  7. oh noes! sorry to hear about the shower gel! that stinks! Lush makes some glorious products though – the happy hippy shower gel is the one i used to buy! how awesome! i love it the most! Aloka sounds awesome! hooray for a mostly vegan buffet with lots of raw yumminesses, too! raw nuts cheeze are so good! we get the dr. cow ones as a treat every once in a while. mmmmmmmm! the tofu don looks rock’n, and banana flapjacks?!?! hellz yeah! i need to get some more dandies (we had 3 bags, but ants took over and somehow got in to our unopened bags! supersadface!) so i can make your brownies! i bet i can make them gluten-free, too! hooray!

  8. Yeah I was gutted about the original source thing too. I googled PZ-C ages ago and couldn't find anything saying they tested and it had the vegan logo so I assumed it was ok. Boo!! Still I have got a tonne of soap I made so I should just use that really!! hahaha.

    Christ those brownies look freakin amazing!!

  9. That sucks about the showe gel!

    The tofu dish lookds really great, and I want some flapjacks now. I am glad I ordered VB. At first I thought: oh, brunch...I never do brunch. But then I realized how many super fantastic recipes Isa wrote down there.

  10. those brownies look great! I just got some dandies maybe I will try them!

  11. Mmmm, I can't WAIT to make those pancakes! Everyone's raving about them.

    Also, just realized: you're holding vegan haggis in your profile pic aren't you?!

  12. I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE LUSH fan. The Happy Hippy shower gel is lovely. Of course, it helps that my brother works in the head office (they're from my home town - Poole!!) so I am able to abuse his 50% discount quite frequently.
    have you ever tried their perfume? I've only ever tried Karma and Go Green and they are both really really LUSH!

    Excellent looking eats too missus - those brownies need to be in mah tummy. Too bad I hadn't discovered your blog before the Brighton Vegan Fayre - we could have met up!
    I swear I saw you.

  13. Laura - that's exactly what I'd assumed too, I remember googling PZ cuzzons ages ago and thinking it came up ok but aparently not!

    Nora - that sure is vegan haggis, I don't remember why, as far as I know I've never tried the vegan haggis...maybe I should!

    Jeni - you might have seen me at The Brighton Vegan Fayre, I was there pretty much all day eating the Sheese samples! The only shame about that day was that the food they were selling was all dreadful, they just had the normal Brighton Centre caterers do the food and apparently they'd never heard of marinating tofu! We'll have to meet up if you're there next year.

  14. oh WOW! Those tofu don bowls look delish.. I feel like a lot of japanese restaurants out here aren't very vegan friendly... to the despair of my japanese family... but hey it's not my fault they can't rock a tofu bowl!

  15. I'm only allowed to go into Lush once a year now, since I tend to buy enough to last me until the next year. Your takeout looks and sounds amazing!

    Also, I got some Dandies, but unlike you, I just ate them instead of putting them into anything. Oops.

  16. Dude, I totally know what you mean about thinking that you know everything about being a vegan. But we all have our blunders and we correct it.

    I've had Vegan Brunch ever since it came out and it's been sitting on my shelf and collecting dust. Well, I can't do anything about that now since I'm starting my juice fast today. heh. Nice timing. The brownies! With Dandie's! Nom!

  17. Love the Pink! And the food looks wonderful too.

  18. Oh, no! I bought some Tom of Maine's deoderant a couple of weeks ago! Never again!
    That carry out looks amazing! I must visit Brighton some time...
    I had a Scottish Vegans stall at a Compassionate Living Fair in Edinburgh yesterday and LUSH had a stall, too. They gave me some FREE bath bombs!

  19. Oh my goodness, talk about a chocolate craving! Those look so perfectly fudgy... It will be hard to resist trying this recipe before the day is out...!

  20. don't you just LOVE vegan brunch? I have made a bunch of recipes so far and have no intention to stop anytime soon. I finally went to my local indian store and got some black salt, so watch out vbrunch :)

    Pompoko looks really good.

  21. November I get my Dandies from Vegan Essentials

  22. I decided to try the tofu chilli don on my most recent visit and I didn't find it hot either so unless you are sensitive to chilli (like Jojo) be brave and give it a go!

    (On the subject of chilli the chocolate chilli cake from Iydea is very good but as it is handmade the heat is variable. I had a slice yesterday and could only manage half as it had quite a kick! It is much the same with Boho Gelato's chocolate chilli sorbet, it really varies so try a sample first!)


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