Petit Paris – restaurant review

 

Petit Paris – restaurant review

Veg out

Now I know a French restaurant is not instinctively the first place you’d consider for a vegan meal out, but the Nottingham vegans Facebook group had first hand knowledge that things had changed in this Parisian establishment, Petit Paris on Kings Walk in Nottingham town centre

petit paris

So I ventured out on a blustery Friday evening to see for myself.   We were seated by the window and it was all so cosy.  I was immediately presented with a vegan menu, my other half stuck with the general one.

petit paris

The wine waiter came over to point out which of the drinks were also suitable, which was a nice touch.

petit paris

French bread with both butter and vegan spread was served, again another nice touch and we were left to make our choices

petit paris

I was amazing at the sound of all the dishes and genuinely confused as to what to have.  I opted for the Sri Lankan soup with coconut dumplings followed by the Moroccan and bean burger.  My other half loved the sound of the mushroom crostini from the vegan menu, followed by a chicken dish, with a side order of green beans.  We also ordered a glass each of the vegan pinot grigio

petit paris

Whilst we waited for our starter we munched on the tasty bread and watched the world go by.  Very swiftly our starters arrived and the smell coming from my soup bowl was mouth-watering.  It was the right side of spicy with lots of chunky well cooked veg and 3 delicious mini coconut dumplings.

My review is also available at https://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/nottinghams-petit-paris-introduces-impressive-2675744

Nottm Post

The vegan crostini looked equally tasty and I was able to purloin a slice of the toasted bread with a highly flavoured mushroom pate, grilled mushroom, pea shoots and hummus.  Wow it was gorgeous and such a generous portion.

soup

We quaffed our chilled wine whilst we waited for the mains to make an appearance.   I was really pleased to see that my burger didn’t come in the usual carb heavy bread roll but between pitta bread, which had been smeared with guacamole, layered with thinly cut crunchy veg, then the small burgers and topped with pickled radish.  Served with more guacamole and sweet potato fries

petit paris

Again, it was just so tasty. Often bean burgers can be claggy but this was moist and full of flavour. The crunchy veg was a nice touch and the radish added an interesting flavour that was slightly fermented and possibly not to everyone’s taste, but I loved them.  The sweet potatoes fries didn’t let the side down either, they were thin and crispy and plentiful.

petit paris

I was reliably informed that the chicken supreme (served with fondant potatoes and a watercress sauce) was very tasty and moist too.

petit paris

We really didn’t have room for a pudding but I was determined to try one so we shared what was hopefully the lighter option: roasted pineapple, dark rum caramel and sorbet.  It was very well cooked,  not overly sweet and a fairly small portion, so we just about managed to finish it

 

Overall I was really impressed with the level of choice, the dishes themselves, the service offered by this long established restaurant and the value for money (starter and dessert £5.95 and Mains  £12.50).

As a vegan if you’re bored of pasta and pizza then pay a visit to Petit Paris and try food from all over the globe. You wont be disappointed.

Cheff, Trent Boulevard

 Cheff, Trent Boulevard Lady Bay – the new healthy eating takeaway

cheff

The old Locksmiths shop on Trent Boulevard has recently been transformed in to Cheff, a new takeaway outlet.  But this is a fast food place with a difference it serves healthy ‘clean’ food.  The owner and inspiration behind the venture is Adam Sinnott..  You may think that Adam has a spelling mistake in the name of his business, but you’d be wrong because Cheff stands for Clean, Healthy, Energising, Fresh Food.

cheff

These are bold claims so I went along to buy and try some of his ‘clean’ food.  As its early days Cheff is operating a slightly reduced menu that will expand over the coming weeks and months.

cheff

Adam and the 5 steps

 

There are ‘5 steps’ to obtain your healthy food;

Step 1 (this sounds like a song!) choose your size, I went for the mini box for £5.95.

Step 2 Choose your protein; being vegan I could either have the homemade falafels or tofu.  I plumped for tofu.

Step 3 choose your base (basically your carbs), garlicky new potatoes for me.

Step 4 choose your veg (either hot or cold or both) roasted parsnips with maple syrup, crunchy slaw, roasted veg and spinach were all packed in to the recyclable cardboard mini box.

salad

My full review can all be seen on the wonderful West Bridgford Wire, where plenty of locals have also shared their comments https://westbridgfordwire.com/susan-hart-review-cheff-clean-food-takeaway-in-west-bridgford/?fbclid=IwAR2mO-Bl34YkrgF7RRJbL3u5A3_EmJ0Wcaah2sC33ogB9aHktesXtXveR7c

chef

Step 5 Choose your sauce. I’m not a huge bbq fan so I opted for the homemade blueberry sauce.  Secure the lid, take home and scoff!

mini tofu box

Which is exactly what I did.  And goodness me it was tasty.  I loved all the textures and flavours and the ‘mini‘ portion was certainly enough for lunch. If you were eating it in the park or in the car (not ideal but I know many of you do) then you can pick up compostable or recyclable cutlery and napkins.

The fresh colours of all the different veg made me feel very happy and healthy. The lightness and lack of stodge also made me feel energised and the absence of processed ingredients certainly fulfilled the ‘clean’ element. The protein packed tofu had me feeling nice and full

chef coffee

Another time I’d be happy to pop in for a coffee, not only does Cheff serve coffee from 200 degrees,  a local supplier  but they have a selection of plant based milks to go with them.  If you’d rather have a cold drink, the cabinet is full of healthier energy drinks, vitamin rich fruit drinks and water

As well as local coffee Cheff also sells locally made chocolate from Lovely Fodder , who just happen to be next door

chocolate

So if you’re in the area why not give the ‘golden arches’ a miss and pop down Trent Boulevard, Lady Bay, West Bridgford, Nottingham for some healthy fresh fast food.  I know I’ll be back

Copper cafe, Central Avenue

Copper cafe, Central Avenue

They’ve added a vegan breakfast to the menu

Copper

It was 18 months ago that I first went to Copper cafe on Central Avenue in West Bridgford to have breakfast. And I was presented with a less than appetising ensemble for the price of £7. I vowed never to go back.

copper breakfast sept 17

vegan breakfast sept 2017

But fast forward 18 months and I thought I’d give them another try,  and there is now a vegan breakfast on the menu and it was very tasty.  It’s basically a vegetarian breakfast but the scrambled egg and halloumi have been substituted for vegan friendly avocado and wilted spinach.  The little falafel balls were so flavoursome and had a lot of different textures, the mushroom was juicy and well cooked and they even had vegan spread for the hot toast. All for a standard price of £7.50

Vegan breakfast Feb 2019

Vegan breakfast Feb 2019

The breakfast is the only item on the menu that is specifically labelled as vegan, so I’d advise you to phone ahead to ask about the lunch time menu, cakes, etc. to see what if anything is on offer

Portello Lounge, West Bridgford

Veg out – Portello Lounge, West Bridgford

Restaurant review

There is one large retail space on Central Avenue in West Bridgford that, over the last few years has had more reinventions than Madonna.  It reopened just before Christmas as ‘Portello Lounge’, part of a chain of restaurants across the country, with one of its sister restaurants, Bendigo Lounge doing very nicely in Beeston

Portello Lounge, West Bridgford

It use to be Mudcrab; a large unit over two floors that I always found was half empty. What drew me in on this particular Sunday was their promotion on Facebook of a separate vegan and gluten free menu.

Portello Lounge, West Bridgford

 

The doors open at 9am for weekend breakfast so we got there at 9.30 and it was relatively quite; a few couples were there with their dogs enjoying the papers and a coffee whilst relaxing on the sofas.  A young family arrived and there was plenty of room for the buggy and the energetic children.  The restaurant has a reasonable supply of board games, crayons and paper to keep the young diners amused and relatively quiet

Portello Lounge, West Bridgford

We sat at a table at the back and asked for the vegan menu.  I’d already glanced at it on line but I wanted to see what else they did.  The vegan breakfast sprang out, but I was also tempted to try the ‘bacon’ roll or the avocado on ciabatta.  But no I’ll stick with my first choice along with an oaty cappuccino.  My other half wanted to try the halloumi and sweetcorn fritters so he ordered the veggie breakfast.  You have to order at the bar and remember your table number.  On the way back it’s a chance to pour yourself some iced water from the large Kilner jars

Portello Lounge, West Bridgford

The coffees arrived first and were nice and hot and strong; good start.

portello lounge

About 10 minutes later the hot breakfasts were delivered and the server asked if we needed any sauces etc.

portello lounge

My breakfast looked like a very satisfying plateful.  The beans are served in a separate enamel cup and my toast had some vegan spread on it (or at least I hope it was).  The lonely falafel was small but lovely and crunchy I could have eaten a few more of those. I’m not a big fan of vegan bacon as it tastes too salty but it provided a chewy texture.  The mushrooms looked and tasted like they came out of a tin and had been boiled, not a pleasant eating experience and quite a disappointment. The peppers on the other hand were delicious and sweet and again I could have eaten a heap of those. On the whole the £7.50, the same for the veggie breakfast, seemed a reasonable price.

My review is also online with Nottingham Live https://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/its-very-difficult-spot-who-2444567

portello lounge

 

The vegetarian breakfast also went down well.  The much anticipated halloumi and sweetcorn fritters were a bit of a disappointment, apparently the sweetcorn was the overriding flavoured, although he liked the crunchy texture.

 

We never felt rushed or crowded and the server was very diligent and asked how the food was and if we wanted anything else.  On the subject of the staff, without a badge, uniform or apron it is very difficult to spot who are workers and customers.  At busy times I can image this could be a frustration if you want to get someone’s attention.

 

We were very pleased with our food, drinks and service, but I also visited the Lounge the week in between Christmas and New Year and it was bedlam. Packed, noisy, uncleared tables, unavailable food items, over an hours wait for food, partially delivered orders etc. So my advice is choose your timings carefully

Veg out – The Cross Keys

Veg out – The Cross Keys

We all know how important it is to start the day with a good breakfast. Normally I have porridge with fruit and peanut butter but at the weekend I like to spend a bit more time relaxing with the papers, a coffee and something more substantial, but I don’t always want to prepare it.  That’s where the Cross Keys at Weekday Cross in Nottingham came to the rescue one Sunday.

cross keys vegan

I’d heard their name mentioned a number of times when recommendations were sought for good vegan options.

The pub was nice and quite so we sat at a window table and perused the menu.  The vegetarian breakfast with vegan options sounded just the ticket; my other half ordered the Eggs Benedict.

cross keys vegan

 

Whilst we waited for the food to arrive we had a look through the free Sunday papers, admired the beauty of the building and watched more tables fill up with fellow brunchers

cross keys vegan

Our food arrived together and (as requested) with our two black coffees.  I was really pleased with the portion size, not too big, not too small and only two slices of bread.  The homemade sausages had a crunchy outside texture, so did the potato hash, the avocado was lovely and soft as was the well cooked grilled tomato half and the mushrooms had been fried rather than boiled; all in all an almost faultless breakfast.  I have it on good authority that the eggs benedict were also tasty and filling.  Our coffees, which are included in the price were also substantial, hot and tasty.   My vegan breakfast was £6.95 and the eggs benedict was £6.75.

Would I go back?  The food I had was absolutely great but looking at the menu there is only one dedicated breakfast option, which is not enough choice to make me a regular visitor.  Likewise there are no specific main course dishes, but rather surprisingly I could have vegan cheeses as a dessert.

Maybe the menu is a work in progress but high marks for a very tasty well cooked vegan breakfast

La Storia, West Bridgford

Veg out restaurant review

La Storia, West Bridgford

Back in early 2017, a few months after this family run Italian restaurant opened its doors on Musters Road West Bridgford, Alec of ‘Frusher on food’ paid them a visit and he wasn’t too complementary.  Well I decided to see what’s happened to the restaurant in those intervening two years

la storia

https://frusheronfood.co.uk/2017/01/25/la-storia-italian-nottingham-west-bridgford/

First of all it looks really pretty from the outside with all the twinkling lights and red checked tablecloths, I could be somewhere on the Amalfi coast if it weren’t for the number 6 bus going into town!

la storia

The staff were really friendly and welcoming and seated us in the side extensive (all rustic brick and vines).  I remember looking at this place when it first opened but as a vegetarian and now vegan a ‘traditional’ Italian restaurant doesn’t often have great options. 

You can also read my review at Nottingham Post online https://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/west-bridgford-restaurant-la-storia-2088416

la storia

But how times have changed because I am presented with a separate vegan menu and it looks very appetising indeed, I had the choice of 4 starters, mains and desserts and felt spoilt for choice. 

la storia

After much deliberation I opted for the melon with flakes almonds and balsamic glaze. It was fresh and light, the perfect way to start a meal. 

la storia

After a suitable wait my main dish arrived ‘Melanzane fritte napolenane’; breadcrumbed fried stuffed aubergine to you and I.  It looked as good as it tasted; the aubergine was really well cooked making it soft and buttery which melted in the mouth and was served with a fennel and rocket salad.  It was a very pleasing portion but not so large that I felt stuffed which was good because I was already looking at the dessert menu.

la storia

If you’ve ever eaten out with a vegan you will be familiar with their excitement at finding a pudding option that isn’t sorbet, so imagine how I felt when I had four options.  Realistically there was only going to be one winner and that was the Chocolate and hazelnut semifredo.  It was amazingly rich and smooth and chocolately.  Delicious.

la storia

And for those interested in non vegan options my other half thoroughly enjoyed his crab bruschetta and monk fish main

The restaurant has a lovely atmosphere, the staff are the right side of attentive and the tables are a decent distance away from each other. The prices are probably a bit more than I would usually pay; £6.50 for my starter, £13.50 for main course and £6.50 for that indulgent pud. I would hope that if Alec visited again he would have a more positive experience. For me the whole meal was a pleasure to be repeated 

https://lastorianottingham.co.uk

Top restaurants in Notts for vegan food

Top restaurants in Notts for vegan food

Its over a year since I last did a ‘top vegan restaurant’ list, but what a year its been.   In Nottingham (and I’m sure it’s the same further afield) there’s been an explosion in vegan eateries as well as regular places providing separate vegan menus, from small independents like La Storia  https://lastorianottingham.co.uk  and No 12 hounds gate https://www.no12houndsgate.co.uk to the large chains like zizzi https://www.zizzi.co.uk  and Wagamma https://www.wagamama.com

Here are lots more places I or friends and family have recently visited, that have really proved themselves to be truly catering for vegans.  But if your favourite isn’t on the list then please let me know and I may pay them a visit

vegan friendly eateries

And a few chosen highlights
La Storia, West Bridgford
A traditional family run Italian restaurant that serves great vegan food, including a yummy dessert.  You can imagine yourself somewhere on the Amalfi coast

Pudding Pantry, city centre

Don’t let the name fool you, this cosy cafe offers a full range of food and regularly has vegan only nights. Check their FaceBook page for the next event.  They will shortly be opening a new cafe in Sherwood.  Lucky Sherwood!  http://www.thepuddingpantry.co.uk

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Castle Rock Brewery pubs; in particular the Horse and Plough, Bingham and Bread and Bitter, Mapperly

Both these pubs are leading the way in producing great vegan food, including dedicated and imaginative vegan menus, as well as vegan beers.

https://www.castlerockbrewery.co.uk/pubs/horse-and-plough/ 

https://www.castlerockbrewery.co.uk/pubs/bread-and-bitter/

Coffee House of Nottingham

You will find this gem of a place tucked away up Hurts Yard.  It serves amazing toasties, as well as sandwiches, an array of coffees and sweet treats https://www.thecoffeehouseofnottingham.co.uk

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rickshaw

 

Rickshaw Indian kitchen, sherwood

This is one of the new kids on the block.  They are a vibrant and modern indian restaurant and takeaway service that has a great selection of reasonably priced vegan options, including this lovey chickpea dish

http://www.rikshawtakeaway.com

 

 

Alchemilla, Nottingham

Opened last year by Alex Bond, this unassuming restaurant serves contemporary British cuisine. There is no hiding from the fact that this is the most expensive restaurant on my list but boy does it deliver!  They serve 5,7 and 10 course tasting menus ranging from £35  to £60.  You can also have a wine pairing menu and they start from £25.  The vegan options, as with the other meat/fish dishes deliver a unique eating experience.

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Christine’s Delights in Beeston

This is a small intimate cafe on a busy high street.  It has plenty of unusual vegan options including desserts and pastries, and their greek coffee is great too

Bread and butterflies, West Bridgford

A family owned business that has wonderfully mismatched furniture and china cups and saucers.  It also sells locally made crafts and every Saturday you can order fresh bread from bake off and pie

https://www.breadandbutterflies.co.uk

Piano in Southwell

A traditional family run Italian restaurant, housed in a beautiful Georgian building. They have a separate vegan menu with some traditional favourites like vegetable risotto, penne arrabbiata and limoncello sorbet

http://www.pianosouthwell.co.uk

Chocks away! Nottingham airport, Tollerton

Their vegan menu has just celebrated its first anniversary and can now boast vegan breakfasts, No Bull burgers, 3 bean chilli , edamame bean burgers, spicy cheese toasties, wraps, and of course amazing home made cakes!!  Its also very child friendly and relaxed

chocks away

L’olivia in Beeston

 

sushi

 

Sushimania, Nottingham

They do unlimited sushi for £16.80 per person!

 

 

 

Pistachio, Sneinton

https://www.pistachionottingham.co.uk

Sneinton Market Vegan Food Market

Nottingham’s monthly Vegan Market hosted on Sneinton Market Square the 1st and 3rd Saturday every month 11-3pm

And finally……….

A fab Sunday roast (at my house!) with a delicious Vork pie taking centre stage

https://www.vorkpie.co.uk

vork pie sunday roast

Is there such a thing as a vegan doner kebab?

Is there such a thing as a vegan doner kebab?

Yes there is!  I recently visited the Horse and Plough pub in Bingham, they are part of the Castle Rock dynasty so I knew I’d be able to have some vegan beer (if I so desired) and a good selection of vegan dishes

horse and plough

horse and plough

And there it was; vegan doner kebab with all the trimmings.  Sold!

My other half had boring old regular fish and chips (no imagination).  The kebab is served in a homemade flatbread smothered in chilli sauce, minted yoghurt and plenty of salad and a basket of thin French fries.  The ‘meat’ itself was, I think, thinly sliced seitan that was heavily seasoned with herbs like rosemary.

vegan

My appetite was certainly whetted and fully sated by the end.

Horse and plough

I’ve never eaten a meat kebab, but this vegan version certainly looked like the real deal and tasted even better.  The flatbread wasn’t overlarge or doughy, all the added extras worked really well together and the texture of the ‘meat’ was nice and chewy and contrasted well with all the other softer textures.

In short it was an absolute triumph.  The vegan reputation of the Horse and Plough is growing and this dish will certainly not disappoint

IMG_9307

Veg out – Pistachio

Veg out – Pistachio

The other day I drove up Carlton Road, near the bottom of the hill close to Sneinton Market and I spotted a new restaurant called Pistachio, serving modern Persian cuisine.  After checking them out on the Internet, my friend and I paid them a visit later that week. We arrived early (5.30) and were seated in an almost empty restaurant; fingers crossed it fills up.

pistachio

As we perused the menu, we noticed a sign saying ‘cash only’.  Oh no, we started counting our money and pooling resources.  Phew we’d have enough to share a starter and a mains each!

My review is also online at Nottinghamshire live https://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/veggie-review-nottinghams-new-persian-1956310

Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 15.42.37

Our server, Orash who was also the owner said there was a free cash machine a few hundred metres away.  But be warned, cards (at the moment) are not accepted

menu

On to the food; the menu highlighted vegetarian options, but I didn’t know if they were also vegan.  The owner was able to swiftly set our minds at rest and pointed out the suitable dishes; at least a couple of starters and 3 of the mains courses were either vegan or could be made vegan by taking out yoghurt for instance.  We settled on aubergine and walnut dip to share as a starter, and then tangy & herby vegetarian stew and roasted aubergine and split pea vegetarian stew for mains

menu1

In the meantime we were served tap water.  Our hot starter arrived and it was delicious and so flavoursome, and ample enough for two as it came with warm Persian bread.  It also has some nice textures thanks to the parsnip crisps and the crunchy toasted walnuts.  What a great start.

Our main courses were equally as generous.  The tangy stew was packed with red kidney beans (loads of low fat protein) and lots of herbs and spices that didn’t overpower the dish.  It also held a hidden ingredient: a pickled lemon, which was a tasty surprise. The accompanying rice made it nice and filling, although wholegrain rice would have been a healthier option.

The Aubergine stew had a really comforting texture and again the split peas added a decent amount of low fat protein.  The handful of dry and crispy chips sitting on top was another pleasant surprise. Both dishes were really tasty and packed with flavour they also looked very appetising.  The total bill was just shy of £25, well worth the money

This is a really lovely restaurant, the décor is bright and modern, the open kitchen allows you to see what’s going on and the staff are the right side of attentive.  And on a positive note by the time we left  well over half the tables were full of happy chatting customers

IMG_8971

As we were leaving the owner said they were considering putting on vegan only nights. So they could offer greater choice without the risk of cross contamination on the open grill.  We will definitely look out for that

Veg out – Lagan Indian Tapas, Beeston

Veg out – Lagan Indian Tapas, Beeston

 

I’d heard via Facebook that a new Indian restaurant had opened in Beeston and the word on the street was they had a good selection of vegan options. That was my cue to pay a visit.  A group of us booked a table for Saturday night and were very pleasantly greeted by the staff and immediately shown to our table.  The place was quite full and it had a really buzzing atmosphere.

lagan

In true Indian restaurant style the drinks menu was given first and a suggestion that we have poppodoms whilst we peruse the extensive menu.  I was driving so just tap water for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the poppodoms and the staff helpfully pointed out the vegan dips

lagan

The tapas element to the restaurants name had some family favourites like onion bhajis and samosas and some interesting twists like prawn lollipops and chicken drumsticks.  You could order three veggie ones to share for £12.95 or meat for £14.95. They also had a larger than average selection of salads that can either be for a starter or main.

lagan menu

As is common in many restaurants there wasn’t a separate vegan menu, but again the diligent staff made a note for me of all the options I could have they were either naturally vegan or could be adapted.  This meant I could have most of the vegetarian dishes as well as some specials.  I was spoilt for choice and eventually opted to skip the starters or “tapas” and go straight for a veggie Thali, which for those that don’t know is a small selection of different curries with rice and a naan.  The staff were again very helpful and said they would make sure all the dishes were appropriate for me.

lagan

When my Thali arrived it looked really appetising our server explained that my naan had been exchanged for a roti as it was dairy free and instead of a small desert, which contained honey I had an additional vegan curry dish. That’s a winner in my book.

My review is also online at the Nottingham Post and will be in the paper later this week

https://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/beestons-lagan-indian-tapas-restaurant-1822982

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 10.15.30

Without exception the curries were really tasty, not greasy and had lots of bite and texture.  I really enjoyed eating small bowls of different flavours and strengths of heat and spice, and although it was my first time trying a Thali it certainly won’t be my last.  A couple of my friends had the meat Thali and they also enjoyed the tastes and textures of their dishes.

 

The restaurant itself is a mix of traditional and modern, my only criticism is that the lighting was a bit on the harsh side, especially the coloured lighting under the bar; it was quite distracting.  But none of us could fault the service or the food.  My Thali was £14.95, which I thought was good value. I would definitely like to return and maybe have some vegan tapas and a salad; just to be different!