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Kick it right down

Brighton is full of fantastic food choices for the discerning vegan. There are numerous vegetarian cafes scattered throughout the town and certainly no shortage of options on the menus of omnivorous eateries.

Unfortunately, there is a vegetarian restaurant that I feel is letting the Brighton team down in the race to deliver quality, cruelty-free dining.

Wai Kika Moo Kau in Brighton

Nestled within a row of store fronts in the picturesque Laines district of Brighton is Wai Kika Moo Kau. This cafe is a fully vegetarian outlet serving uncomplicated dishes such as burgers, chips and salads.

The exterior is a striking colour that can be seen a block away and tables spill onto the street that always appears to be busy.

Josh and I decided to sit inside due to the chilly wind sweeping through the town. The temperature of the interior was the complete opposite and I found myself stripping the layers off as soon as we got inside. I’m not sure if it was a one off event, but I felt like there was little oxygen in the room.

As you can tell, dining at Wai Kika Moo Kau didn’t get off to a stellar start for this FGV and the food we ordered quickly knocked the remaining goodwill and cheer out of me.

Disappointing salad

Josh decided to try a salad and ended up underwhelmed and a tad disappointed. He described the Linda McCartney sausages scattered throughout his salad as tasting like they had been microwaved and the avocado slices featured atop the dish were rock hard, unpeeled and inedible.

The salad was soggy and in both of our opinions rather overpriced. When Josh mentioned to our server that the avocado was hard, she replied they had noticed that in the kitchen as it was nearly impossible to cut.

My choice of meal was even more of a let down in my mind.

Vegan nachos... I've had better

I love a good plate of nachos and was excited to see a vegan option of this dish on the menu. I spoke with our server after placing my order to ask which vegan cheese they would be using. I was upset to hear the vegan nachos just meant the dairy cheese was left off.

What was placed in front of me was more like dry corn chips and dips. The hummus didn’t set my world alight and the entire dish was uninspired and bland.

I am all for giving people chances to prove me wrong, but this place was such a let down that I won’t be rushing back anytime soon. I was also perplexed as to why the restaurant enjoys such a cute name referring to looking after cows yet serves copious amounts of dairy cheese and milk. No one kicks cows harder than the dairy industry, right?

If you have enjoyed a completely different experience at Wai Kika Moo Kau, I would love for you to comment for the sake of balancing out the argument.

Wai Kika Moo Kau
11a Kensington Gardens
Brighton BN1 4AL

01273 671117

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Written by fatgayvegan

16 Comments
  1. How Sad. Wai Kika Moo Kau used to be a must visit destination on my visits to Brighton. I was constantly amazed at the invention, care and damned tastiness of the food. Nothing was pre-packed – so nothing like LM sausages were used – and each mouthful was a joy…so much so that I named one of my candles after them (slightly changed…it’s a Waikiki MooCow). How sad. I know that they are capable of extraordinary food. Maybe you went on an off day?

    • I hope it was an off day. I would love to hear of other people having nice food there.

  2. Don’t feel bad for telling it like it is. I would have been disappointed had I had the same experience!

    I also agree that it is a bit rich to have a name referring to cows, whilst refusing to open their customers’ (or their own) eyes to the suffering of cows in the dairy industry and offer their customers a vegan, cruelty-free alternative!

    Good on you for saying it like it is! Let’s hope they read this and buck up their ideas, especially where their dairy-free options are concerned.

    (And really, who in their right mind puts out a dish for customers to eat that they cannot even cut properly with a knife? Are they BEGGING to get sued for dentistry bills?)

  3. I fully agree, Wai Kika Moo Kau is a massive let down. Their food is overpriced but not really tasty and the quality is not great.
    I’ll tell you about another let down in Brighton: Infinity Foods cafe. Yes the quality of the food is great but thumbs down for creativity (apart from the miso and aubergine sandwich)

  4. It’s such a shame you didn’t enjoy the food at WaiKikaMooKau. I really like the place, as well as being run by a lovely couple who let me hold Brighton’s first vegan bake sale there this last weekend they also make one of the most delicious burgers I’ve ever eaten, the sweet potato & soya bean burger. I also really love their all day breakfast which comes with a choice of either hash browns or chips. Chips! For breakfast! Awesome! I blogged about it here breakfasthttp://veganinbrighton.blogspot.com/2009/07/vbites-wai-kika-moo-kau.html

    Of course I agree that it is a shame that the place isn’t entirely vegan, I would like every veggie cafe & restaurant to go vegan, but you do eat at & blog about plenty of not entirely vegan places so it feels like a bit if a low blow to feel the need to criticise them for their name as well as their food.

    • My entry isn’t a personal attack on the people. It is an observation of the meal I had. I’m glad you like it there. I had already read your review a while ago and it was one of the reasons I went (I love your blog!).

      The name issue isn’t an attempt at a low blow. I actually find it odd and a little bit problematic. That is my take but I’m sure many others don’t find it troublesome. I don’t like when animals are used to sell animal products like the case with the name of this restaurant or in the happy cows on their facade.

      Thanks to everyone commenting on here. Nice to see respectful debate. I think it is great to hold even veggie places up to critique. It’s healthy, yes?

  5. That is a shame, I’m also a big fan of Wai Kika Moo Kau. I’ve never had the things you ordered but the vegan all day breakfast is awesome, as is the burger and the sweet potato fries are amazing.

    I’d never really thought about the name before. I suppose you’re right, it is ironic. But I do think that by supporting any business’ vegan options you encourage them to expand their vegan range and then if there are more options on the menu it’s more likely that other people will order vegan.

    I would definitely say to give them another try!

  6. As for the food, it really wasn’t up to scratch but clearly this was just a bad day/bad menu choice as many other people seem to like the place. I would possibly go back to give it a second chance, but having since been to Loving Hut in Brighton, this will always be my first choice.

    I also have a problem with the name. Why kick a cow when you can repeatably, forcibly impregnate it and keep it in disgusting conditions for many years to produce milk? Images of happy cows on the front of a restaurant that serves dairy products is incredibly problematic and hypocritical. The dairy industry is arguably more cruel and barbaric than the meat industry so for this restaurant to trade on a name that is against animal cruelty yet still profit from the sale of cruelty-gotten products is f****d up.

    Whoops… I think I just talked myself out of giving it a second chance!

  7. Did you complain about the food while you were there, to give them a chance to put it right?

    • When our server asked us how everything was, Josh replied not great actually and explained about the avocado (amongst other things). She told us she was sorry and they had noticed the avocado wasn’t ready to eat as they had great difficulty cutting it. She said they decided to send it out anyway. As for my nachos, they had no way of improving them as they had no vegan cheese.

  8. See, I wouldn’t necessarily have assumed nachos would have vegan cheese unless it said and if it was a point that bothered me that much I’d have checked before ordering, especially if there didn’t seem to be any on the menu at all!

    • With or without vegan cheese the nachos was a sub par dish. It wasn’t impressive to me. Not trying to convince anyone not to eat there, just giving my opinion that the two things I have seen there were less than enjoyable. I only assumed vegan cheese would be there as the menu said ‘vegan option available’. Nachos normally has cheese (every time I have seen it it has) so I assumed there would be vegan cheese. Not on a crusade to ruin the place, just letting my feelings be known that it isn’t the best in Brighton for vegan food… in my opinion. Liz, instead of countering my opinion why don’t you tell us what you like about the restaurant? I would love to hear what you consider to be good about their food.

  9. I don’t. In fact it’s one of the few vegetarian places in Brighton I haven’t tried, I only go there usually one weekend a year. I’m just not a big fan of slating places based on one visit – or over praising them based on one either. If I eat something I really don’t like or isn’t what I expected I generally try to explain to the staff what is wrong and see how they react. I was just curious if you did that, that’s all.

  10. i always love a frank and honest review! thanks for telling it how it is, FGV!

    you haven’t convinced me NOT to try this place, but i definitely know i will steer clear of the nachos. those don’t look at all appetizing! i will probably go with what jojo ordered, and stick to breakfasts.

    i can’t wait to hear what happened at pogo. love you blog, dude. keep it up!

    • My Pogo review is gonna raise my incoming hate mail to a whole new level. LOL

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