Non-vegan roast lover Lee's(@roastsinbrighton) third foray into vegan Sunday roasts is at a pub he's already highly rated for meat roasts.
The ultimate test of the best vegan Sunday Roasts in Brighton. Roast beef lover, Lee, goes on a tour.
My third Vegan Roast Challenge venue is The Cleveland Arms. The difference between this week and the previous two is that I’ve been here before for a meat roast, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The last two weeks were at 100% vegan pubs The Roundhill and The Foundry, which I'd never eaten at so had no frame of reference for comparison as I do at The Cleveland.
The Cleveland won a Knorr award in 2019 for their roast dinners and knowing what the meat roast was like, I was looking forward to seeing what chef, Danny, would do with a vegan roast.
We arrived at 12:30pm, and the pub was already fairly busy, which is always a good sign of a venue’s popularity. We had a great table in the conservatory dining area of the pub, which is really well lit and makes for an enjoyable experience (And good photos!)
What we ate
With only one vegan option on the menu: a beetroot, puy lentil and celeriac wellington, our decision was made. Understand why local family pubs make the decision only list one vegan option, but I wonder if that will start to change as more people adopt the diet, all or in part.
When the food arrived, the first thing that struck was just how much veg was on the plate. It was piled high! Amazing. The proof is in the taste though, so we jumped in to see what it was like.
Last time I visited The Cleveland I raved about the red cabbage and I’m going to do the same again. It’s one of the best I’ve tasted.
You get a lovely sweetness from this red cabbage, and the inclusion of the fruit in the mixture is a great little touch. There’s not too much tartness in the taste, and no overpowering spices. It’s close to perfect for me.
Carrots were nice, and the root vegetable mash was good as well. It has some nice, sizable bits of veg in it rather than being super smooth. I like this style of mash.
The greens were cooked perfectly, with plenty of cabbage and my favourite; broccoli.
However, after the initial distraction of the veg, we noticed was that there was no Yorkshire pudding on our plates (☹), and although I absolutely love a good yorkie, I thought ‘let’s not fixate too much on this’.
The roast potatoes were cooked through perfectly and were crispy enough on the outside for them to have a bit of bite to them.
We got a generous portion of beetroot, puy lentil and celeriac wellington. The pastry was really lovely, and the filling had some nice flavours, but we both felt it would’ve benefitted from some more seasoning. This was balanced off with a thick, flavourful gravy.
Finally, I have to address the non-appearance of a Yorkshire pudding on the plate. It was a shame not to see one, especially as we’d had one at The Roundhill and The Foundry.
Jamie, the owner, said the kitchen has tried their hand at them before but weren’t happy with the outcome, and as they serve more meat roasts than vegan, they made the decision not to put out something they weren’t happy with the quality of.
Fortunately, the elements of the roast that we did get were really great, so we quickly got over our disappointment!
Finally, I have to mention the staff, who were really attentive throughout our visit. It was nice to speak with Jamie at the end as well.
The Cleveland is a really friendly, well decorated local pub that is clearly popular with their regulars, and its easy to see why.
Rating this roast against the other two that I’ve had so far, I’d place this in the middle, even without the presence of a Yorkshire pudding:
8/10 Roast Potatoes.
Cleveland Hotel, Cleveland Rd, Brighton BN1 6FF