Japanese, Vegan·

SquareMeal Review of Kusaki

Kusaki in Brighton is a sophisticated, yet inviting vegan Japanese restaurant. Hidden behind bustling London Road, the eatery's warmly-lit facade is like a welcoming beacon in a quiet corner of town.

Traditional sliding paper doors, oversized lamps and a large pink blossom tree create an elegant and romantic ambience. Sitting under the delicate flowers it feels like you might just have been transported into an enclosed Japanese garden.

We started the evening sampling some of Kusaki’s impressive cocktails, which are reasonably priced at £9.50-11. The Shrinrinyoku with jinzu gin, sake, grapefruit, hibiscus and yuzu is refreshing with floral notes and a hint of fresh thyme, while the Shibui is reminiscent of a whiskey sours but with lemon sake and maple notes.

Kusaki’s food menu features an eclectic mix of reinvented Japanese staples including sushi, stir fries and fragrant curries. Large dishes range from £8-12, while small dishes are between £5.50-8. One of Kusaki’s highlights is the oyster mushroom, five spice and miso gyozas, which encompass a rich, umami flavour, offset beautifully by sharp, tangy rice wine vinegar dipping sauce. Although simple in principle, vegetable tempura is another triumph - airily light, crunchy and perfectly seasoned.

The Momoiro curry is a heady mix of earthy, sweet beetroot, aromatic Japanese spices and zingy citrus notes. The contrast of the whole oyster mushroom and breaded sweet potato makes the dish texturally interesting and the deep red sauce is lifted by a pop of bright orange, spiralised carrot.

While quite simple in flavour, the vegan sushi is a visual delight, served alongside a bright array of edible flowers, fresh green wasabi and pink pickled ginger. The light dish is refreshing and almost works as a palate cleanser among some of the richer dishes.

When it comes to dessert, we were very excited to try the lychee tarte tatin, but although the flavours were good it lacked the golden caramelised topping of the traditional apple version.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Japanese, Vegan
Cool, Fun, Unique
Food Occasions
All day dining, Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Dates, Group dining [8+]
Food Hygiene Rating


Kusaki is a contemporary Japanese restaurant in Brighton, a short walk from the central station and well connected to the city's other bars and restaurants. Its concept is based around the ideology of Shibui, which is a celebration of simple, subtle beauty - something that Kusaki channels in its attitude to food with plant-based dishes, focusing on fresh, healthy ingredients. 

The menu is split into small plates and sushi to start. We like the sound of the aubergine dengaku with roasted aubergine coated with traditional dengaku glaze and peanut crumb, as well as the sharing platter of sushi which includes nigiri, uramaki and makizushi, served with Japanese inspired pickles, Inari Tsumi and wakame salad.

Main dishes span large plates with options like udon broth with tofu, wakame, pickled local vegetables
and fresh aromatics, as well as stir fried noodles with pickled celery, chilli and tahini miso. There's also curry served with sweet potato panko breaded fritters and a sharing plate of rice, beansprouts, broccoli and sesame seeds.

For dessert, enjoy delights like miso brownie with ginger, shiso and miso, served with vanilla gelato, or purin, a traditional Japanese dessert, similar to a creme caramel, finished with matcha cream, apple
gel and sesame brittle.

Kusaki has taken great care in curating a creative cocktail menu with interesting flavour mixes like the Wabi Sabi with sake, plum sake, angostura and burnt orange, or the Red Dragon with Katozaki Whiskey, coconut, mango, maple guava and lime. 

The team are also passionate about design and enlisted the help of Fabio Lauro at SIX Studio Design to bring together a scheme that depicts a futuristic yet traditional Japanese garden, with features like a stunning, pink blossom tree in the heart of the dining room. Other details to note include colour wall murals and atmospheric lighting, for a sophisticated but relaxing atmosphere.


Is there a wine menu?

Yes, and a sake menu, too

Helpful? 0


5-6 Circus Parade, New England Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 4GW

01273 620858 01273 620858


Opening Times

Mon 17:00-21:00
Tue 17:00-21:00
Wed 17:00-21:00
Thu 17:00-21:00
Fri Closed
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
All day
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri 12:00-21:00
Sat 12:00-21:00
Sun Closed


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