Veg out – the Botanist, West Bridgford

Veg out – the Botanist, West Bridgford

The Botanist on Bridgford Road opened last autumn on the site of the former ‘Fire and Ice’.  Its theme is plant based cocktails using herbs and botanicals.

But on the occasion I visited with my friend we were only interested in its new vegan menu. So with much anticipation our server brought it to us, and then it was decision time

botanist vegan We opted to share the truffle mushroom starter, I ordered the beetroot and fig tart and my companion ordered the Malaysian curry for our main course. Dessert was yet to be decided!

I also love the fact that their website showcases its vegan menu

botanist

While we waited for the first course it gave us time to take in our surroundings; lots of exposed brick, a variety of tables for couples to large groups and good music that wasn’t too loud.  They also have live music on certain nights.

And then the starter arrived and it looked so appetising.

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It had some lovely peppery rocket too and a generous portion of mushrooms.  The taste didn’t disappoint either it had a deep intense mushroom flavour, and it was certainly big enough for two (£5.25).  I would definitely order it again

Nottm Post

 

You can also view my review online at Nottingham Post

 

 

 

 

Our main courses were also a feast for the eyes.  The Malaysian vegetable curry (£9.95) had such a vibrant colour and chunky vegetables that were definitely al dente

veg out the botanist

I had a sneaky taste of my friends dish and it was very well flavoured with a nice amount of heat. The addition of peas to the rice provided a pop of colour and some much needed protein.  To make the meal more balanced the addition of cashew nuts, edamame beans or tofu would have added protein

veg out the botanist My beetroot tart (£8.95) was equally as attractive and just as tasty.

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The accompanying generous salad was light and crunchy with crisp apples and walnuts. A flavour that goes really well with beetroot is horseradish, so maybe an adaptation for this dish would be to serve a horseradish dressing.

botanist vegan

 

botanist vegan

 

My empty board says it all!!

On that note what’s your thoughts about boards, especially as a vegan if the board had previously had a steak on it?!

 

We decided it would be rude not to have a pudding, we chose to share the banana, peanut butter and chocolate ice-cream (£5.50).  It made a pleasant change from the ubiquitous fresh fruit salad or sorbet

The taste was amazing but the portion for the price was a bit meagre.  A good addition would have been some roasted or griddled bananas

Overall we were really impressed with the separate vegan menu, the service was very efficient and friendly and the surroundings were very comfortable.

Definitely a place that vegans and non vegans can enjoy

 

 

 

 

Veg out – No 12 Hounds Gate, Nottingham

Veg out – No 12 Hounds Gate, Nottingham

 

For various reasons many of you are trying ‘veganuary’, a world wide Campaign to encourage people to be vegan for the whole of January.

veganuary

As you know I was a lifelong vegetarian and a recent convert to vegananism and I’m always on the look out for new places to try that are either wholly vegan/vegetarian or have great vegan options. And No 12 Hounds Gate in the City centre (formerly the white rabbit teahouse) is a great new find. It’s a small independent vegan/vegetarian café run by a young couple, Ritchie and Lauren who pride themselves on making dishes from scratch using locally sourced ingredients and suppliers.

no 12 hounds gate

The owners Lauren and Ritchie

 

And their promise is that anything on the menu can be made vegan

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They shut at 4.30, so my friend and I decided to have a very late lunch or was it an early tea and arrived at 3pm, there was not a seat to be had. But the other visitors kindly moved around and with some rejigging and many apologetic smiles for nudging and bumping we were seated.

specials

Now time to concentrate on the menu and the specials board. We were spoilt for choice I didn’t know whether to have an open sandwich, with some delicious and unusual sounding fillings, a robust salad or make up my own Buddha bowl. But we both agreed we needed to save some room for a pudding!

pastrami

Pastrami and wholegrain

 

In the end I opted for Pastrami and wholegrain – homemade vegan pastrami, wholegrain mustard, mayo, sauerkraut, gooey vegan cheese and rocket served on toasted bread for £5. My friend ordered the ‘special’ warm roasted carrot salad with quinoa, mint, clementine, cranberry’s, vegan cheese and walnuts for £7.50

carrot salad

warm roasted carrot salad

 

Check out my review online at the Nottingham Post http://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/vegan-reviewer-cant-fault-nottingham-1089499

NP vegan review

When my open sandwich arrived it looked pretty impressive, as was the large carrot salad. Both looked beautiful, but equally as important they tasted delicious and not to miss out we shared the dishes. Ritchie and Lauren had somehow elevated the humble carrot to being the star of the show and I still don’t know how they made the pastrami but it was amazing and each mouthful had so many different flavours and textures.

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After a suitable gap we decided to share a pudding and opted for the ‘special’ toasted homemade banana bread with vegan peanut butter and chocolate ice cream topped with caramelised walnuts for £4. Now who wouldn’t want to tuck in to that and we weren’t disappointed when it arrived. It was gooey, chocolatey and peanut buttery. I was very pleased we decided to share because it was a rather generous portion

banana cake

toasted homemade banana bread

 

I would highly recommend this café to anyone. The owners are very accommodating and engaging and were happy to talk to us about their plans for the future of the café. It has a very sociable feel to it, partly because it is so cosy and the tables are quite close together.

We were the last to leave and the closed sign had just been put up but a young couple were standing outside in the cold looking at the menu so Ritchie said they could come in and eat something whist they tidied up the café. How kind is that

steamy outside

 

Veg out review – Chocks Away, Nottingham City airport

Veg out review – Chocks Away, Nottingham City airport

 

The saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ couldn’t be more apt for this local café. It is on the site of Nottingham City Airport at Tollerton and originally it only catered for the staff and crew.

chocks away

From the outside it looks like you’re entering the control tower, but continue along the passage way and you’ll enter a very cosy and welcoming café. Alison the chef and manager is a vegan and has been the driving force behind the cafes increased and impressive range of vegan food. The kitchen is tiny but somehow Alison and her staff produce a raft of both vegan and non-vegan food. But she is meticulous about food separation so us vegans can eat her food in the full knowledge that there is no cross contamination

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A word of caution though, the news about this friendly place is spreading so at times you may have to wait for a table and you could be surrounded by little diners who have their own play corner.

 

 

On my first visit to Chocks Away I ordered a cappuccino and the spicy veggie burger. I was offered soya, coconut or almond milk in my coffee, I plumped for almond. The coffee was hot and delicious so I was off to a good start.

chocks away

My burger arrived about 10 minutes later and was very tasty. It came with a generous salad, and some spicy topping on top of the burger. From a nutrition point of view I would have preferred a wholemeal bun, but the staff told me next time to order it on wholemeal bread. Sorted! I was too full to take advantage of the cakes, but I made a promise to revisit.

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My review is also in the Nottingham Post online http://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/hidden-gem-outskirts-nottingham-caters-806362

My second visit was for Sunday brunch, which it turns out is a very, very popular occasion at Chocks Away as we had to wait 20 minutes for a table. But it gave me plenty of time to peruse the menu and decide that I wanted the tomahawk vegan breakfast, consisting of vegan sausages, beans, tofu scramble, mushrooms, tinned tomatoes and wholemeal toast (with vegan spread). My other half had the meat version with extra hash brown, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

chocks away

It is fair to say that it was a no fills breakfast; the presentation is simple and unfussy but that didn’t detract from the fact that it was very tasty, filling and also reasonably priced at £4.95. We decided to take home a couple of vegan sweet treats for the afternoon energy slump; a salty peanut butter shortbread and a fudgy chocolate cupcake. Both were delicious and very moreish

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If you want a good selection of reasonably priced home cooked vegan food this is the place for you. There’s also the added bonus of being able to watch small planes and helicopters do their thing

Top vegan restaurants in Notts

Top vegan restaurants in Notts

I know its only been three months since I last did a top 5 vegan restaurants list, but In Nottingham (and I’m sure it’s the same further afield) there’s been an explosion in vegetarian and vegan eateries as well as regular places providing vegan only menus

Here are 6 more places I 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

In no particularly order

Horse and Plough, Bingham

This rural pub is part of the ever expanding Castle Rock Brewery chain and they are all, to varying degrees vegan friendly.  However, the Horse and Plough is leading the way.  It has a dedicated vegan menu that is mouth wateringly tempting. But don’t just take my word for it take a trip out to Bingham and try their Starburger followed by the delicious chocolate brownie, all washed down with some very quaffable vegan beer

Alchemilla, Nottingham

Recently opened 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.  I bet you’ve never had cauliflower, roasted yeast and almonds, or a heritage tomato with lovage puree that looks as pretty as a picture and tastes even better.  As for puddings (yes you get two!); the raspberry, coffee and black garlic dessert will amaze you

Crocus cafe, Lenton

Situated in the heart of Lenton is the Crocus Cafe, a dedicated vegan and vegetarian restaurant with a social conscience.  It is Nottingham’s longest-running community café that is volunteer-led and  not-for-profit. And on top of that it serves food that people love.  The atmosphere is relaxed and inclusive and if you have enjoyed your meal you can enable someone less fortunate to experience it too as the cafe has a ‘suspended’ meal programme meaning you can pay in advance for someone’s else to eat for free

 

Baresca, Nottingham

You’ll find this vibrant restaurant tucked away on Byard Lane.  It is a modern Spanish tapas eatery and part of the Perkins family group.  I was really pleased to see it had a separate vegan menu that offered a full range of animal free delights.  I felt just like every other diner as I couldn’t make my mind up so I over ordered!! Don’t be surprised if like mine your eyes are bigger than your belly!!

Marigold restaurant, West Bridgford

Generally indian restaurants have always catered well for vegans, but the Marigold is exceptional.  For a start the price of the vegetable curries are much less than the meat or fish versions (often a personal bugbear of mine). The portions are generous without making you feel stuffed and the dishes themselves are not oily but more flavoursome relying on delicate spicing (although if you ask for they can also be deliciously hot).  And as if that wasn’t enough they offer a discounted loyalty card making your visit even better value

Angel Microbrewery, Stoney Street

The pub has been around for years and has undergone a recent transformation into a microbrewery.  So not only can you get a decent vegan pint (or half in my case) but it can be accompanied by a rather tasty pulled jackfruit burger.  Or you may be tempted by the pie, ‘fish’ and chips or ‘steak’.  Whichever one you choose save room for pudding!

Veg out restaurant review. Zizzi Nottingahm

Veg out restaurant review. Zizzi Nottingahm

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

 

I love Italian food but as a vegetarian it can sometimes be tricky when it comes to cheese. As regular readers will know just because it says veggie on the menu doesn’t mean it is if the restaurant or chef doesn’t understand the subtleties of vegetarianism and scatters Parmesan over everything.

zizzi-nottingham-2

 

I am also supporting veganuary so it was with some trepidation that I booked a table for two at Zizzi’s in town. But happily my concerns were unnecessary.

 

 

vegan ragu on menu

Because as soon as we sat down I saw the ‘specials’ on the wall and there was a vegan lentil ragu; we’re off to a good start! After our drinks order was taken (which included a note of vegan options) the server presented me with the ‘vegan’ menu and it was littered with tasty morsels.

 

 

NP zizziMy review is also online at http://www.nottinghampost.com/other-restaurants-take-note-vegan-menu-at-zizzi-in-nottingham-gets-the-thumbs-up/story-30078916-detail/story.html and will appear in Wednesdays Nottingham Post

zizzi NP

zizzi Vegan menuWhat delighted me the most was the addition of vegan cheese with the pizza and pasta dishes. In other establishments I’ve noticed that the vegan options are just vegetarian minus the dairy or egg. But I could choose from a vegan bruschetta with super green pesto, green goddess salad, pizzas with tasty toppings such as butternut squash, balsamic tomatoes and roasted garlic cloves to name but a few

We decided to go for the Sicilian antipasti, which included non vegan buffalo mozzarella but they kept that away from the rest of the vegan food on the wooden board. The olives, artichokes, peppers and roasted tomatoes were all delicious. And served with ‘little soul’ bread (doughy puffs baked with garlic & smoked sea salt.) Great flavour combinations that tasted really good

vegan platter

For my main course I was very tempted by the lentil rage but in the end I plumped for the vegan margherita rustic, a thinner and crispier pizza with vegan mozzarella, accompanied by a simple mixed leaf salad (just to up my 5-a-day).  Please note the glass of water (along with the red wine) – you have to stay hydrated!

vegan pizza

It was delicious and full of flavour and best of all looked like all the other pizzas being presented to diners. It even came with a pizza cutter clearly marked vegan, so no cross zizz4contamination worries. My companion ordered casareccia pollo piccante (spicy chicken in a creamy sauce with fresh tomatoes & baby spinach to you and me!), which I’m told was very spicy and tasty.

If I’d had room for dessert I would have tried the vegan coconut and chocolate ripple gelato.

I am really impressed with the effort a chain restaurant has made to offer a wide range of vegan options throughout its menu (other restaurants please take note). And it was a real treat to have food that looked and tasted like everybody else’s. It’s definitely one to revisit and this time I will forgo a starter and have that coconut ice-cream