Alternative Christmas dining in Brighton 2013

Christmas is a time to celebrate feasting, although trawling through some the local festive menus, you would be happy to go on a fast. Prawn cocktails, turkey, turkey, turkey and deep fried halloumi burgers do not mark a Christmas celebration in my book. Here are my picks of Brighton's Christmas menus as there are plenty of restaurants that have put some thought and a few twists into their menus this year.
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Vegetarian Terre a Terre are back with one of their well-written Christmas menus. You'd have thought they had exhausted all the clever copy but oh no, here they are with "Silent Bite"(a Parmesan brûlée and smoked almond crumble) and "Ding Dong Merrily On Pie" (porcini soubric and mulled mushroom ragout, with barley and parsnip faggots, cranberry beet snow, potato purée with blue Brussels beignet pickled walnut syrup, sprout tops, walnut brittle and karrotkrout.)

Yes exactly. Puts anyone serving nut roast to shame.

£29.50 per person
http://www.terreaterre.co.uk/
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Yum Yum Ninja is really going to town on the alternative menu. Theirs is even entitled "Say No To Turkey"! But they are leaving in one vital part of Christmas tradition - being around a table together, which is, after all, what it's all about. For groups of 8 - 80, they are offering sharing feasts. The Bo Ho Ho Feasting Menu gives you a slow roasted beef rib, whole Asian style salmon or whole Chinese duck as well as a selection of their fantastic small plate dishes and a selection of desserts. The Kurisumasu Set Menu is even more special with soup, sashimi and dim sum followed by the Yum Yum Ninja Grill.

The The Bo Ho Ho Feasting Menu is priced at £25 per person and the Kurisumasu Set Menu £35.
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Using traditional flavours with a Food For Friends twist will satisfy the vegetarian and vegan crowd. Their 3 course menu is also a purse friendly price too. The menu includes a wild mushroom and smoked ricotta paté to start and baked red onions with thyme, chestnuts and orange zest stuffing, served with saffron potato for the main event. The sticky clementine and star anise steamed pudding is as festive as it gets.

3 Courses £22
Food For Friends (Vegetarian) http://www.foodforfriends.com/
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Seasonal tastes feature heavily at The Coal Shed this year. Prunes, walnuts, root vegetables, chestnuts and truffles along with wild boar, pheasant, lemon sole, lobster. The are putting their charcoal Josper oven to good use here. I'd be all over their fig and marsala parfait with caramelised figs too.

3 Courses £40
http://www.coalshed-restaurant.co.uk/
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Turkey is the last thing on the menu at Riddle & Finns, one of Brighton's premium fish restaurants. Instead you'll find hand carved smoked salmon with buckwheat blinis, caviar, citrus cream and roast fillet of halibut with creamed savoy cabbage, lardons & balsamic reduction.

£25 and £35 set 3 courses available
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Sam's of Brighton is crowd-pleasing great food. Warm Jerusalem artichoke & woodland mushroom tart with Golden cross goats cheese & beetroot puree, ten hour red wine braised blade of beef or roast local pheasant breast, leg & smoked bacon sausage with hero trimmings.

£28 per person, 3 courses
http://www.samsofbrighton.co.uk/
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You could safely choose any of the Gingerman Group restaurants for a decent Christmas meal. For the smartest option go for the Gingerman with duck liver and fois gras parfait and haunch of venison. If you prefer special but a little less formal then go for the Ginger Pig with oxtail ravioli & crispy ox tongue with beef consommé, ash & truffle or black bream with sag aloo, cauliflower, onion bhaji, raisins & curry bubbles. And if you want to get out of Brighton, try the Ginger Fox or for a more laid back affair go for the Ginger Dog at Kemp Town.

Either way I can honestly say I would eat every item on every menu.

Gingerman 3 courses £35
Ginger Pig, Fox and Dog 3 Courses £25
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Plateau is one of my favourite spots for French small plate dining and they have one of the best wine lists in the city. They can do no wrong. For Noël they have a set menu including braised ox tail with cauliflower risotto and roast haunch of venison, pommes boulangères, Alsatian pancetta, sprouts & pear compote. There is also a decent fish and vegetarian option too. 

3 course £29/2 course £24 
http://www.plateaubrighton.co.uk/
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Go Nordic at Northern Lights and stick two fingers up to Rudolf with rindeer stew, gravad lax with hovmästares sauce and herrings (of course). Finish with coconut rice pudding, caramelized rye bread and pickled plums.

2-courses £14.90/3-courses £18.90
http://www.northernlightsbrighton.co.uk/
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L'Eglise is a wonderful French family run restaurant. They will be celebrating Christmas with their typical French flair. Expect Jerusalem artichoke and hame croquettes with a prune chutney and sea trout Wellington with mushroom duxelle, turbout mousseline and shallot and tarragon beurre rouge.

Available from 4-24th December
3 courses £24 Lunch / £28 dinner
http://www.legliserestaurant.co.uk/
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Although I'm not sure if there will be set festive menus as such, you can also count on the following for a great night and a great meal.