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Thread: VBites - anyone been/going?

  1. #1

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    Default VBites - anyone been/going?

    I heard about Heather Mills opening up VBites in Hove. My boyfriend (the omni, surprisingly enough) suggested going there.

    I just wondered if anyone has been there yet or is going?

    I think there's another vegan restaurant further along in Brighton and I was thinking that if we're going to make the trip down (about an hour and a half), it might be worth going there instead.

    What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    there's been discussion about V-Bites in the Heather Mills thread here (mostly on the last couple of pages)

    i don't think there are any other completely vegan restaurants in Brighton & Hove, unless you count the Cowley Club. there are other vegetarian restaurants though. do you know the name of the place you're thinking of, or what the food/place is like?

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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    It sounds good, but it is too far south for me. If I am ever in Brighton then I will definitely check it out.

  4. #4
    cxmnz
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Apparently there's quite a lot of meat analogues on the menu, and it's vegan versions of traditional meat based dishes, rather than any particularly imaginative vegan cooking.

    There's plenty of vegetarian places in Brighton (Food for Friends and Bombay Aloo in the centre off the top of my head), but I can't think of anywhere completely vegan apart from the Cowley Club as Gorilla mentioned.

  5. #5
    KayJay's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Anyone tried any of the products yet?

    http://www.bazaarbuilder.com/cgi-bin...erchant=vbites

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    Enchantress's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    The V-Bites products are just re-branded Redwood products. So a lot of people would have tried them.

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    KayJay's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    I don't think I ever saw the cheese or the sausages - what are they like Enchantress? I'd be interested to know what the Greek style cheese is like especially.

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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    The Greek-style cheese tastes like white cheddar-style Cheezly in oil, or at least it did last time I tried it.

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    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Quote KayJay View Post
    I don't think I ever saw the cheese or the sausages - what are they like Enchantress? I'd be interested to know what the Greek style cheese is like especially.
    the sausages appear to be the Redwoods sausages that are readily available in Holland & Barrett and other health food stores, haven't you seen those before? i agree with Enchantress about the Greek-style cheese, it's quite good in a 'Greek' salad but nothing particularly exciting.
    'The word gorilla was derived from the Greek word Gorillai (a "tribe of hairy women")'

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    The Redwoods sausages are OK as these things go - can be a bit rubbery if you overcook them (reminds me of a joke...) but are quite nice if you don't, IMO.

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    KayJay's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Thanks - I think I do recall seeing the sausages in redwood packaging but haven't tried them. Good to see that the range will still be available.

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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Quote harpy View Post
    The Redwoods sausages are OK as these things go - can be a bit rubbery if you overcook them (reminds me of a joke...) but are quite nice if you don't, IMO.
    Oh go on, i'm dying to hear the joke

  13. #13
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Not sure I should, Blue moon, as it's not very PC, or very vegan come to that

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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Quote KayJay View Post
    Anyone tried any of the products yet?

    http://www.bazaarbuilder.com/cgi-bin...erchant=vbites

    CoOOooooOOOOOool! Hadn't seen the new packaging yet till i saw this link! I love the Redwoods/VBites sausages, they're my fave veggie sausages!

    Hopefully with Heather's money and determination she'll really be able to promote the hell out of these products and get them into Supermarkets, adverts on TV etc

  15. #15

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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Oh well, finding myself in sunny Brighton today with the Mrs, after much anticipation I took her to V Bites for lunch. Here's my take on the experience......

    I regret to report that due to the cumulative effect of several mistakes with our order, overall we found the visit rather a let down. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and take the view that this was a one off and that we were just unlucky, however from what I could gather from the apologetic little tableaus unfolding on adjacent tables, I'm not optimistic.

    We decided to have an early lunch to beat the rush and turned up at 11.45, whereupon we were greeted by a charming and pleasant waitress who informed us that the kitchen was closed until 12.00. We thought this was a trifle strange as they are supposedly open all day, but never mind, we were more than happy to have a coffee while we waited for the magical hour to arrive and for someone to take our order. By 1215 we concluded that we had been forgotten and had to grab someone.

    We decided to share a portion of Nachos with Soya Melted Cheese, Salsa and Guacamole to have as a starter. For our main meals I went for the Sweet Potato Green Thai Curry with Crunchy Oriental Vegetables and Basmati Rice with the optional add-on of Soya chicky and a side order of garlic bread. The Mrs opted for the Spaghetti and Soya Bolognese.

    After what seemed an eternity we started to wonder what had happened to our starter. I was just about to enquire when a waitress appeared bearing our main meals only. They were duly whisked away and our starter eventually appeared. Our thoughts turned to if and how our main courses would be kept hot.

    The starter was OK but frankly rather bland. I will freely admit that I do adore spicy food, but the Mrs is the polar opposite and I often take the mickey out of her for disliking any food that actually tastes of anything. For her to call a salsa dip bland is astonishing, so it wasn't just me.

    Our curiosity about the fate of our premature main courses was soon satiated. Barely had we finished the last mouthful when the empty plate was whisked away by the person who appeared to be in charge. In a complete reversal of the previously glacial pace of the service our now familiar main courses made their triumphant, if thermally challenged reappearance. To be charitable the Spag Bol wasn't actually cold but certainly wasn't hot. By now we really coudn't face sending it back. It was OK I guess but again very lacking in flavour and was curiously sweet.

    My Thai Curry was at least hot, such a shame they had omitted the soya 'chicky' that I had ordered with it! This was a curious dish, effectively a bowl of sweet Potato soup with a blob of compressed rice on the side. Quite palatable though and surprisingly filling.

    We decided to skip dessert and have some cake to take away instead....haven't tried any of those yet.

    There is another little gripe I must get off my chest, this is perhaps just one of my little foibles, other people may think nothing of it and think I'm strange, so be it.

    Call me old fashioned but when I'm eating out I don't wish to be forced to share in the inner workings of the establishment in question, but this was exactly my experience. There seems to be an arrangement that the person in charge carries out their administrative duties from behind a counter in the restaurant in full earshot of the customers. To me, this rather intrudes. I'm sure some people would find it fascinating to learn that they had run out of salad and frozen spinach and that there is a new chef waiting to start but I'd settle for a bit of peace. It didn't help when various members of staff kept appearing, including the chef with various queries and innumerable delivery drivers. Get an office FFS!

    Purely on the basis of my experience today I'm not sure I'd rush back. Maybe in a few months time when they have ironed out what may still be teething troubles. Until then I'm afraid it's a case of 'must try harder'. I really hope that they can improve and make a go of it.
    From Sutton, Surrey, (or Greater London when they want to fleece me for the Olympics)

  16. #16

    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Oh no! Thats sounds super disappointing.
    I went to have a peek at the weekend and to try a Mr Swirly.
    It was also disappointing It looked pretty good but just tasted like really cold soya milk- not creamy or vanillary or that yum. Shame, because I think it could be really nice.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Quote Troutina View Post
    Oh no! Thats sounds super disappointing.
    I went to have a peek at the weekend and to try a Mr Swirly.
    It was also disappointing It looked pretty good but just tasted like really cold soya milk- not creamy or vanillary or that yum. Shame, because I think it could be really nice.
    That's a shame - i'll be in Brighton in a few weeks and was looking forward to walking down to this place for a vegan soft ice cream by the beach

  18. #18

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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Yes, I'm going to Brighton in a few weeks to visit my son and we were going to have lunch at VBites. Not sure if it's worth the effort now.

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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    It's totally worth the effort because you may get a completely different experience!

    Just cos one person doesn't like something doesn't mean another person won't. A fully vegan restaurant?? - it's gotta be worth a try

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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Quote wildcatstrike View Post
    It's totally worth the effort because you may get a completely different experience!
    Yep, my experience of the place was good - quick service and very friendly staff. I think the food is really good value for money.

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    Quote veganista View Post
    Yep, my experience of the place was good - quick service and very friendly staff. I think the food is really good value for money.
    I knew it! I'm just an unlucky bleeder

    I agree about the friendliness of the staff though.
    From Sutton, Surrey, (or Greater London when they want to fleece me for the Olympics)

  22. #22

    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    hi there - my husband and I braved the car ride from London to Hove on Saturday to try Vbites.
    I had wanted to go since it opened so was very excited!
    Unfortunately the food is really not good which was such a let down as I had high hopes!
    BTW, the interior is great - really welcoming and the maitre de and staff were super friendly too.
    We shared the nachos to start and this was OK - but was just prepacked tortilla chips with redwood cheesly (which does not actually melt properly IMO) with a bit of guacamole and a very unspicy salsa.
    Then I tried the burger and Ian had the Chicky, avacado and rasher ciabatta.
    We both had a bowl of chips (these were McCains oven chips I am 99% sure - really crap quality)
    If you are going to serve chips and want to do healthy ones that are oven baked then at least make your own - these were really bad as mass produced oven chips are!)
    Ian sandwich was literally 2 slices of Redwoods chicken slices - one slice of redwoods rasher and some lettuce - no dressing, no seasoning - really bland and something you could make at home 100 times better.
    My burger was the redwoods one (obviously as all the food is redwoods!) which I actually dont rate muich - Red veg is so much better.
    The cheesly was not melted (see comment before) so was very dry to eat.
    We then tried a cupcake each and I can honestly say it was the most bland sponge I have ever eaten - there was literally no flavour, no sign of vanilla, just really no flavour at all and the icing was like pure sugar taste - no 'buttery'ness or any type of taste at all.
    I really wanted to love this please and knew it was a cheap cafe style but even so I would never take anyone here as an example of vegan food. It was really very unimaginative in the flavours and as both vegans, we thought we would love the choice of foods but even my husband, who is a junk food fiend!, thought it was terrible.
    Sorry to say but we will never go back which is a shame as I assumed we would be the ideal market....

  23. #23

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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    That's a shame, still, it sounds like you at least got what you ordered.

    What I find disappointing is that I emailed them, describing my experience in great detail and didn't even get a reply. I was genuinely trying to offer some constructive feedback.

    We too found the cakes dire beyond imagining and we bought four different ones. The sponge was akin to ready mix post-fix and all you could taste was sugar and at 3.50 a pop they ain't cheap.
    From Sutton, Surrey, (or Greater London when they want to fleece me for the Olympics)

  24. #24
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Hmm, I would still like to try VBites sometime but I'm reviewing my plan to take my omnivorous friend there! Thanks for the reports folks.

  25. #25

    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Quote Jiffy View Post
    That's a shame, still, it sounds like you at least got what you ordered.
    Hi Jiffy,
    actually i ordered a (an?) Hawaiian Burger but actually received a nacho one - which considering we had just had natchos for our starter that was really annoying - I said this is not what i had ordered but the plate was hovered over me and the waitress said that was what was put in. I explained we had already had nachos for starter etc... but she looked like it would be a mad effort to redo it so I caved!
    She came back and said the server had misheard me - that was the problem but I ate it anyway!
    I didn't mention this before as felt I had given them a bad enough review!
    Like you, I found the cakes amazingly bad - and as anyone here who has made some from the Vegan cupcakes take over the world cook book, you know how easy it is to make fantastic cakes!

  26. #26
    RebeccaDye
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    I'm very disappointed with the reviews, was planning on giving it a visit!

    can be a bit rubbery if you overcook them (reminds me of a joke...)
    Teehee lovely, lovely.

  27. #27

    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    sorry - I so wanted to love it!
    If you are not familiar with Redwood Foods mock meats then you may find it more interesting then we did...

  28. #28
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Quite, Rebecca

    Nicky, I think the trouble is we all are familiar with them - I thought they might have some Redwood-free dishes on the menu though?

  29. #29

    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    well, you could have the thai curry without the redwood chicken pieces or with!
    No wonder she bought the company - the entire menu is Redwoods...
    My firends analogy was funny - when I explained what the food was like she likened it to a restaurant opening and all the meals made from Bernard Matthews processed food!

  30. #30
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    I would rate Redwoods a few miles above Bernard Matthews from most points of view, but I can see what your friend means!

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    Quote nickysr View Post
    well, you could have the thai curry without the redwood chicken pieces or with!
    No wonder she bought the company - the entire menu is Redwoods...
    My firends analogy was funny - when I explained what the food was like she likened it to a restaurant opening and all the meals made from Bernard Matthews processed food!

    Very true, I ordered with but got it without!
    From Sutton, Surrey, (or Greater London when they want to fleece me for the Olympics)

  32. #32
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    My friend and I tried VBites yesterday lunchtime and we quite liked it. It's still a caff rather than a gourmet restaurant, obviously, but as such I thought it was fine. The tables were full when we arrived about 12.30 but we could have sat up at a shelf thing. In fact we chose to sit outside at a picnic table, which was fine as it was a sunny day. There was plenty of room outside when we got there but afterwards the area filled up with people and an interesting assortment of dogs.

    The service was brisk and efficient, but polite, and we got exactly what we ordered. We had some garlic bread and bruschetta to start with, then friend had pseudo-chicken kurma and I had tacos. Afterwards we shared a slice of coffee and walnut cake and I had a soy moccaccino (sp?) and she had some tea.

    Everything we had seemed quite well prepared. The kurma looked a bit naked as it was just rice and sauce - would have looked better with a salad leaf or so IMO, but it was as advertised and the friend seemed to like it. My tacos were made with commercial taco shells, but the filling and guacamole seemed freshly made and were fine I thought, though not especially spicy.

    The only obvious Redwood element in what I had was a sprinkling of fake cheese on the tacos. (I think I could have had fake mince with it as well, but I didn't.) The bill including a couple of ideologically-sound soft drinks and service came to about 30 so I thought that was OK. I would definitely go again although getting a table inside might be a problem if one didn't arrive early.

    It was useful to have read the comments above in order to know what to look out for. BTW the slice of cake was better than the cupcakes sound - it was a little dry but came with soy cream to douse it in, and was generously walnutted.

  33. #33
    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    it's a shame some of you have had negative experiences there, although i'm not entirely surprised. i do think they should have more non-Redwood-based choices and the Mr Whippy-style ice cream is pretty awful. i haven't had a cupcake there but the cake slices were pretty good when i've been.

    i've been wondering why the location was chosen, i know Heather Mills liked the old cafe but on my experiences so far it's not really worth travelling out there for and surely they'd do a lot more business in the centre of Brighton, where it's probably possible to get a cheap shop at the moment as there are so many empty ones
    'The word gorilla was derived from the Greek word Gorillai (a "tribe of hairy women")'

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    Rentaghost Marrers's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    I have been to VBites tiwce in the last few days.

    Without reading the above reviews I already knew to avoid the burgers and dishes that were only made of Redwoods stuff (only because that's boring to me as it's something I can have at home) so I opted for things with a additional elements, such as a sauce, which I presumed would be made by the chef. I had the chicken satay which was quite nice. My friend was very pleased with his falafel but I didn't try any. Next visit I shared the spinach, artichoke and cheese pate with pitta instead of rice cakes (the pitta there is very nice, not like any shop bought pittas that I've seen) and the chicken korma with a friend. We particularly enjoyed the korma and would certainly go back for that.

    There are so many different cakes on offer - there must have been at least 10 different types plus cupcakes. Some are from the same place which supplies other places in Brighton (like Infinity Cafe, Iydea etc) but others are from another local bakery, including cupcakes. As I'm very familiar with the others I only tried the local cakes and cupcakes. Some of the cakes were quite dry and a bit stale, I think they simply have too many on offer for the speed or turnover. The cupcakes were the best imo although the coffee and walnut slice was also good. On the first visit I got a wonderful vanilla cupcake which were the only flavour they had. The next day they had new cupcakes and I got a wonderful chocolate one and a banana and something one but the vanilla one I bought that day was a bit stale - must have been from the previous batch.
    From looking at them I could tell which of the sliced cakes were dried out and avoided all (except the red velvet cake just because I wanted to try it - I should have trusted my eyes more!)
    I think it's well worth asking which cakes are freshest in and sending back anything stale or dry (which I would have done if I'd not taken all mine away).

    eta I think the market she is mainly aiming for is not so much vegans but people who would otherwise eat meat - they want to eat fast food and snacks and will eat here simply because the location is convenient (skate park area and children's play area both right outside). I think it's great because each omni who eats here is not eating meat for that meal at least.
    Idleness is not doing nothing. Idleness is being free to do anything. - Floyd Dell

  35. #35
    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    i understand that the market she's going for is non-vegans but i would imagine the place will be all but empty during the winter (i nearly got blown away by the gale force winds down there in the height of summer!) and i don't think the food is good enough to make a difference to most omnis.
    'The word gorilla was derived from the Greek word Gorillai (a "tribe of hairy women")'

  36. #36
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    Quote Gorilla View Post
    i understand that the market she's going for is non-vegans but i would imagine the place will be all but empty during the winter (i nearly got blown away by the gale force winds down there in the height of summer!) and i don't think the food is good enough to make a difference to most omnis.
    My friend pointed out that when we went a lot of the clientele was mums with pushchairs so perhaps they will still go in there in winter to shelter from the wind? Not sure they are necessarily the most lucrative customers though... The friend also pointed out that Heather Mills' house is visible from the cafe, so she may have chosen that locale to minimise her commuting time

    Yeah if omnivores will eat the fake meat I'm all for having it on the menu, though it wouldn't be my first choice when eating out. I suppose it probably does cut down on labour doesn't it, compared with chopping up veg and stuff.
    Last edited by harpy; Sep 17th, 2009 at 11:52 AM. Reason: reference to prams dated me!

  37. #37
    Rentaghost Marrers's Avatar
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    Default Re: VBites - anyone been/going?

    My friend and I ate at VBites again yesterday, we ate half of each meal then swapped plates.

    We had the chicken korma again (slightly different this time but still as nice - good to know they are making the sauce, not just opening a jar!) and the sweet potato etc green curry with chicky bits which was really lovely.

    They had two nice cheesecakes (a new line) which were still warm when we arrived!
    Idleness is not doing nothing. Idleness is being free to do anything. - Floyd Dell

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