Tasty tapas tasting!

For someone who loves lots of different flavours, and wants to try everything on the menu, tapas is perfect for me! But when you have to avoid dairy and (now) gluten, and chose to eat plant based, the choices in a restaurant are often limited to one, if I’m lucky.

So you can imagine my delight to discover that Iydea, one of may favourite eating places in Brighton, was opening a restaurant offering vegetarian and vegan tapas. And even more delighted when I managed to get my hands on two free passes to be trial tasters of their dishes. Yummy food for free – who could resist?

If you’ve not come across Iydea, then I urge you to go. Even if you’re not plant based, the food is delicious and healthy, plus very reasonably priced. They have two sites, one in Kensington Gardens in the North Laines, the other in Western Road. Service is canteen style and the atmosphere friendly and relaxed, with the menu changing daily. They have a wonderful array of salads, and you can choose a hot main with two sides and two toppings, and not want to eat for the rest of the day! The Western Road site has more space and includes an upstairs seating area – this is the location for the tapas bar, rootcandi.

As it stands. this is the only vegetarian tapas bar in the UK, and only one of two in Europe, the other being in Barcelona. So it’s a pretty unique set up. There’s a large choice on the menu; you can order just one or two single dishes or the set menu, designed for two people. And going more upmarket, rootcandi is full table service and licenced (I had an amazing vodka cocktail!).

The set menus offer you slightly better value than ordering individually, and are separated into three helpful categories. There’s ‘Preston’, which was vegetarian, ‘Stanmer’ was vegan and ‘Queens’  was gluten free, so all food choices were covered. Having said that, talking to Steve the owner, they were aiming to go completely plant based, so the menu items may well get updated. We went for ‘Queens’, although I was eyeing up the ‘Stanmer’ on the next table! The choices on the menu are eclectic, ranging from crisp courgette tempura (yum!), to a sharp tomato salad and rich roasted aubergine to a gorgeous lentil cake. All the flavours were there and a little spice too. Everything is presented on a specially designed rotating dish stand and whilst we easily ate everything up, it was plenty and I felt contentedly full afterwards.

Not full enough to avoid pudding though! These are not included as part of the tapas menu but, hey, it’s pudding and where there’s vegan and gluten free options, they just have to be tried! I had this gorgeous poached pear with a lovely dairy free ice cream, and Steve (my husband not the owner!) went for a trio of fruity sorbets – delicious!

Rootcandi is open Tuesday to Saturday evenings from 6pm and Sunday from 12 onwards. We will definitely be going down again soon – probably this week now, as my appetite has been whetted again just writing this! Do go along, and try this unique dining experience for yourself and see how tasty plant based food can be.


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