They do stuffed crust with vegan cheese. And it was good.
Purezza is Europe’s first and only all-vegan Italian sit-down restaurant where all food and drinks are 100% plant-based and cruelty free.
It opened in Brighton at the end of November 2015 and offers more than 20 types of pizza toppings and three types of pizza base – including a gluten-free one and one stuffed with melted cheese, which they say is a world first.
They mainly use a soya-based cheese for pizza bases, but on their four cheese pizza they pile on coconut, almond and cashew-based cheese as well.
Purezza co-owner Stefi, 29, from Tuscany, says in Italy breakfast is ‘only croissant and cappuccino’, so they also sell vegan coffees, cakes, croissants and pastries from 11am.
The pizza recipes are based on traditional Tuscan pizzas, with a thin stone-baked crust, and all their chefs are Italian.
The restaurant is open until 10pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends, and offers menu items to eat in or take away.
They also sell salads, sandwiches and five desserts including a huge chocolate calzone.
Stefi’s partner and Purezza co-owner Tim, 27, says: ‘We moved from London especially to open this business as Brighton is a thriving city perfect for a new and exciting vegan restaurant.
‘This business has been in the making for two years. Vegan cheese is at a new level now, it has come a long way in the past 12 months.
‘We decided to go 100% vegan rather than have vegetarian options to give us an edge – plus Stefi and I are both vegan.’
Purezza, meaning ‘purity’ in Italian, will be catering at Vegfest in Brighton, Feb 27 and 28.
I popped into Purezza on Monday Feb 1st 2016 for some vegan pizza before seeing Massive Attack at the Dome.
I heard it was the first vegan pizza restaurant in Europe and as I’m from Sussex and was back in the area for the night I thought I should check it out.
I hadn’t had stuffed-crust pizza for about a year and as a vegan I thought I’d never have it again.
It’s not usually my thing to tuck into something so indulgent but the novelty of it being vegan was enough to sway me.
My dining companions opted for your stereotypical vegan pizza toppings – plenty of posh veg and salad – but of course they had melted vegan cheese on their bases which is quite unusual.
Meanwhile I thought I should go for Tim’s recommended option which was plain pepperoni, and I had it on stuffed crust for journalistic purposes.
So comparing Purezza to, say, Domino’s – it is different.
For starters vegan cheese is more viscous and sticks to your teeth and mouth no matter how tidy you try to eat.
It’s runnier, so you never ‘chew off a chunk’ of the cheese as you would with a cow’s milk cheese stuffed crust. You’ve got no hope in ripping a bit off and dipping it in sauce, either.
The good thing is Violife cheese has a high fat content so it’s comparable to cow’s milk cheese. This means it’s satiating to a similar level, it’s oozy and creamy.
It tastes more like brie or camembert. Now if you ask me brie and camembert are way better than cheddar could dream of being, so in that way, for me, it’s better than regular stuffed crust.
Who wouldn’t want a pizza base stuffed with a posh top quality French cheese?
The pepperoni meanwhile is made from seitan (wheat gluten).
This ingredient is often used to make vegan ‘steak’ as it’s ‘meaty’, chunky, and full of protein. It then usually has a few spices and other ingredients added to make varieties of vegan ‘meats’. It didn’t taste like regular pepperoni because it wasn’t thin, crispy, or dripping with fat – but it did taste like a seasoned Italian meat, maybe a thin-sliced sausage. It was decent and tasty.
The pizza tasted very indulgent and the cheese was totally melted, stringy and indulgent – some of the melted Violife cheese in the stuffed crust had spilled on to the main base, which I didn’t mind at all.
After eating the whole thing (yep) I didn’t feel sleepy or drowsy. I went on to enjoy the gig and felt energised until 2am. I certainly didn’t feel sluggish or like I was carrying a food baby in the way that I would after eating a ‘regular’ pizza.
The thin base, I have to say, definitely helped.