Terre a Terre is a Brighton institution. I didn't know this, of course, when I visited the award-winning restaurant for supper last night, but immediately on arrival I could tell this was a very popular and well-loved eatery, busy at 8pm with families, couples, friends.

I was in Brighton for the night to visit an old chum from university, someone who I met 25 years ago, and haven't seen for at least 15 years. It was thanks to that organ of social networking, Facebook, that Emma and I reconnected last year, after years of not being in touch. Our evening started in Emma's flat on Royal Crescent, with a lovely view over the sea and the pier, and a bottle of Cordon Negro, and a healthy dose of Victoria Wood/Joyce Grenfell impressions, and re-enacting the tea room scene in 'Brief Encounter', before strolling along the seafront to the buzzing trendy centre of Brighton for our supper. We hardly stopped talking, except to draw breath, and soon those 15 years had melted away and it was as if we had met onl the day before - the mark of true friendship.

Born 17 years ago, as a BYO restaurant with 30 covers, Terre a Terre is a vegetarian restaurant,
but don't let that put you off. This is no dreary lentils-and-tofu affair, hung about with macrame pot-holders and staff in Birkenstock sandals. The menu is witty and imaginative with dishes such as 'Wonders of the Weald' , 'Hot Broth Bun', and 'Better Batter and Lemony Yemeni Relish' (trying saying that quickly on half a bottle of Cava!). The food has a 'fusion' vibe - sushi, noodles, Indian spices - and is beautifully presented, making it hard to resist tucking in as soon as the tapas plate hits the table. For £36, you can have 'Tapas a Verre', which includes a selection platter of tapas, and half a carafe of very pleasant wine - excellent value, as the tapas serving is generous and varied.

I can't remember exactly what we ate (blame the Cava), but everything I tried was delicious, bursting with intense and intriguing flavours. At no point did I long for a rare steak or a fillet of seabass. This is not a vegetarian restaurant, rather a restaurant for people who love good food.

Refusing the pudding menu, and thus eschewing the 'Moorish Mouthful' and the 'Nuts About Chocolate Fondant', we ambled back to Emma's flat to finish off the Cava and demolish a box of Lindt Lindor chocolates. We listened to Kate Bush and Goldfrapp, reminisced about our student days, and indulged in the odd Joyce Grenfell impression. I fell asleep to the faint sound of the sea, and was woken at 6am by sunshine and seagulls.

Terre a Terre
Acorn Antiques featuring Mrs Overall
Joyce Grenfell - 'Nursery School'
'Brief Encounter' - final scene


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