Review – Vanilla Pod Cafe
Vanilla Pod is a new cafe on the edge of Lansdowne Place, Hove. Having previously been a fairly unlucky spot for eateries – including a plethora of Asian restaurants – Vanilla Pod is run by the same team behind popular Thai restaurant, Green Mango, and hopes to continue their success with a new, fresh-faced cafe.
Upon entering you immediately feel at ease with the brightly coloured walls, shabby chic décor and large windows overlooking the sea. Unlike the previous residents, Vanilla Pod has split its interior with partition walls so it will easily seat twenty customers and won’t feel too full at capacity.
The menu conjures up a classic cafe feel with plenty of sandwiches, freshly baked pastries and a full breakfast menu. Feeling pretty hungry we opted for some sandwiches, reasonably priced at £5.50 each. The sandwiches all had a slight twist on classics.
We ordered the tuna and cucumber sandwich which came with the added addition of wasabi and pickled ginger. Although every aspect of the sandwich was nice, from the Real Patisserie bread, delicious side salad of courgette spaghetti and home made crisps, we felt that it fell short on the promised ginger and wasabi, something that was the pull of the dish and could have made it excellent.
We also had the ham and cheese with honey and mustard mayo. It was a delicious sandwich, the ham thick and salty. But it did lack the promise of the more heavier flavours such as mustard or honey. A decent start however, and with such big portions we didn’t go hungry. My only other niggle would be serving the sandwiches on wooden boards – what’s wrong with a plate? With such good produce on show having it precariously perched doesn’t automatically make it homely.
The cakes were the real highlight of our visit and I implore anyone to go and see the vast selection that is presented here. All the cakes are overseen by the owner’s Mum and they all have the delicious homemade feel. And you can always trust a Mum’s baking.
As we were so full from the large sandwiches, we went for the vegan and gluten-free sticky toffee and date pudding. Compared to a lot of desserts of a similar calibre, this was one of the best I had eaten. Lots of treacle and rich flavours came through, but all as light as a feather.
As well as cakes Vanilla Pod also have freshly made savouries such as sausage rolls, vegetarian turnovers and scones.
Overall, we enjoyed our visit to Vanilla Pod and their dedication to local ingredients and freshly baked goods won us over. For a new cafe they really deserve a chance, especially with such delicious cakes. Hopefully they’ll last longer than the previous occupants.
Vanilla Pod, 52 Lansdowne Place, Hove.
Words and images by Rob Ling.
Rob’s food was complimentary, courtesy of Vanilla Pod.