I posted my MoFo Plan yesterday, Saturdays are going to be pretty random, a mish mash of restaurant reviews, my favourite products or whatever else I'm feeling like writing about that day. I've decided to start off this posi vegan blogging event with a write up of local sushi restaurant Moshi Moshi's excellent vegan challenge night.
This Redwood Foods sponsered event which was part of the Brighton & Hove Food & Drink Festival was held on Thursday & the whole restaurant turned vegan for the night. As soon as Nick (that's my husband for new readers! Hi!) & I heard about the event we knew we'd have to drop £25 each on the ticket, we're both big fans of Moshi Moshi anyway & the chance to try some new kinds of sushi & to get to take part in such a positive local event sounded way too good to pass up. Six chefs from local restaurants, both vegan & non vegan, including Aloka, Titbits Catering & Hotel du Vin each created a vegan sushi dish which we gave scores to.
On arrival everyone was given a free jug of hot sake and a Moshi Moshi tote bag containing a Moshi Moshi t-shirt, a Redwood Foods catalogue & a packet of their mock duck. We also each got a score card.
We were seated right by the sushi preparation area which was fantastic as we got to watch some of the chefs create their dishes.
What we didn't realised when we booked was that not only were we going to be eating all of the sushi's created for the competition but that Moshi Moshi would also have all of their vegan menu items going around the conveyor belt AND that we could eat as much as we wanted!!
It was essentially an all you can eat vegan sushi party which made us both very happy & definitely made the ticket price more than worth it. We munched on Crispy Vegetable Dumplings, Avocado Hosomaki, Inari Tofu, Salted Edamame, Vegan Cheese & Sun Blushed Tomato Maki and Inari Tofu, Celery, Red Radish, Lettuce & Campio Maki alongside the fantastic dishes created for the competition.
First out of the kitchen was an uramaki, or inside out roll, created by Moshi Moshi themselves.
This contained mock chicken & ginger & was surrounded by a plum sauce & black sesame seeds. We both really enjoyed this roll & gave it a 6/8 on our score card. I was surprised that I didn't find the ginger overpowering & I think that had to do with the pairing of it with the sweet plum sauce.
Second out of the kitchen was a creation by Aloka, a local cafe & raw food restaurant that I've written about on the blog before.
Now whilst I do love Aloka's cafe, they have a great buffet, some delicious raw desserts & they make my favourite mint chocolate chip ice cream they can be a little hit or miss. Sadly this was a miss. Myself, Nick & the diners surrounding us all agreed that whilst this was an incredibly beautiful & well presented dish it just didn't taste good. The sesame covered ball just tasted like Redwood Foods pâté! This would have been fine next to a plate of crackers but it certainly wasn't something you should put in your mouth whole. The thing next to it was also beyond strange, of course I put it in my mouth in one go & was pretty repulsed by both the taste & texture. I did enjoy the little fried thing that came perched on top of the pâté ball though so all was not lost & we gave this dish a 2/8.
Thankfully what came next was so amazing that it made us forget about the preceding dish. This vegan duck & avocado uramaki was fanfuckingtastic!
Alongside the mock duck inside this uramaki were red onions, sun blushed tomatoes & celery, it was topped with perfectly ripe avocado and came with two sauces; one plum & one strawberry, both of which were fantastic & complimented the sushi roll. I'm not going to lie there was almost some plate licking here & I actually ended up eating three of them & requesting that it be added to the menu on a permanent basis! At this stage of the competition this was the clear winner in my book & we gave it 7/8.
Next up was a dish very obviously created by local Indian restaurant Chilli Pickle.
I don't think this picture can possibly convey how spicy this dish was. It was delivered to us with a warning & after taking a small bite my eyes started to water & my mouth was on fire. This was definitely too spicy for me! Nick bravely soldiered ahead identifying the flavours. Alongside the chilli were coriander, cardamon & mango to name a few. This roll was filled with some mock duck that tasted the least like mock meat of any mock meat dish we'd ever tasted. We gave this sushi a 4/8 because whilst we aren't spicy food fans we thought it was great that they'd really put their own slant on the sushi dish.
The fifth dish of the evening from Hotel du Vin was something different.
This dark miso broth was filled with crispy duck, glass noodles, spring onions, kale, ginger & onion. We both enjoyed this dish, I especially enjoyed the fried noodles on top of the dish & the fact that they had used kale. We had a bit of a disagreement over how to score this one. I wanted to give it 5/8 and Nick 7/8 so we settled on 6/8!
The sixth dish to fly out of the kitchen was this pretty plate made by local catering company Titbits Catering.
There were two main elements to the dish, a wasabi beetroot topped, miso soaked & seed covered slab of vegan cheese and an avocado, cucumber & hijiki salad topped with nori coated almonds. I quite enjoyed the salad especially the hijiki flavour & the almonds were definitely my favourite part of the whole dish. In fact I wrote on my score card the they should be added to the menu as a nibble! Unfortunately I felt that the slab of White Cheddar Cheezly was a little misplaced. Not many people actually enjoy eating vegan cheese straight up like this, especially non-vegans & we thought that tofu or even a softer vegan cheese could have worked better in the dish. We gave this a 4/8. I would like to add that I've eaten Titbits Catering's food before at their Gourmet Girls pop up restaurant & I thought that the food was fantastic. I also just found out that they only had 24 hours to prepare for the competition after Terre a Terre had to pull out.
The last savoury dish of the evening was a beautifully presented crispy duck, mushroom & cheese dumpling served with butternut miso sauce, spicy chilli & ginger jelly and a cheese & wasabi foam topped with cheesy kale chips. This was by far the fanciest of all of the dishes & unfortunately I was so excited by it that I started to tuck in before snapping a picture. Blogging fail. I apologise in advance for doing this & I'll admit that I hate people posting half eaten pictures of food on their blogs but in my defence I'd only take a small bite...
Every element of this dish created by Cashew Catering worked beautifully together, I can't pick a favourite bit because it was all spot on. I love kale chips & the cheese & wasabi foam was an inspired idea. These guys definitely know how to create delicious & stunning looking food & we gave this dish full marks.
Last but not least we were served dessert. VBites contribution to the competition was a matcha sponge cake with a layer of chocolate topped with a light cream & dusted with matcha powder.
This was such a great end to the evenings meal. The cake was beautiful to look at & I enjoyed the matcha sponge part of the cake. I'm not the biggest fan of cream toppings but Nick was definitely a fan. We scored this a 6/8.
The whole event really was fantastic and Nick and I will definitely be attending next year. My favourite dishes were definitely the deep fried duck, mushroom & vegan cheese dumpling & the vegan duck & avocado maki. We waited to see which dishes were awarded places in the top three & the results were as follows...
In third we have Moshi Moshi with their vegan duck & avocado uramaki. In second Hotel du Vin with their crispy duck broth with glass noodles and taking the top spot was Chilli Pickle with their spicy sushi. I have to say that I was surprised that Cashew Catering's entry didn't place in the top three but I loved that the dish from Chilli Pickle came first because even though it wasn't to our taste they really put their own spin on it.
The only negative comment I have regarding the whole event would be that every dish contained a mock meat or cheese product. Don't get me wrong I like these things a lot but I don't think that they're necessary in vegan Japanese cuisine (as Moshi Moshi's regular menu proves) & I would not like that to be the impression that non-vegans left the event with. I would have loved to see some of the chefs using tofu or tempeh & I'd be interested to know if Redwood Foods sponsorship of the event was reliant on every chef using one of their products?!
That said I love that Moshi Moshi put on this event and that they're so vegan friendly. It makes me really happy to see a non-vegetarian restaurant showing a real commitment to being more ethical & environmentally aware.