The ultimate vegan burger

The ultimate vegan burger

The Horse and Plough at Bingham has over the last year or so been increasing its range and diversity of vegan food.  But now I think they have excelled themselves by creating what, in my opinion is the ultimate vegan burger

horse and plough

Dan the manager took to Facebook to ask what the new creation should be called; third was ‘no piggin way’, a very close second came ‘I cant believe its not suffered’ but the winner was ‘fakey McBacon face’.

burger

So last night I went with my other half to try out this experience for myself.  We were shown to our table upstairs away from the hustle and bustle of a busy bar.

IMG_7004

I was given an extensive separate vegan menu and my O-H the standard menu.  All my options sounded delicious from the Dansak curry to the tempeh fish and chips.  But there was only one dish on my mind and that was fakey McBacon face.

IMG_7002

And when it arrived I wasn’t disappointed, first of all it looked like a normal burger; same ciabatta bun, same salad garnish, same skin on chips.  It was just the contents that set it apart from my partner’s meat version

IMG_7007

The burger itself was thick, chewy, sticky and had a great smoky taste.  The facon and vegan cheese was a nice touch, as were the gherkins, the dry and crispy chips and the wasabi infused salad dressing,   I was also offered vegan mayo, of course I sad yes.

When you take a big bite all that the flavour is overwhelming, but absolutely delicious and I made a complete mess of it so I went in with my knife and fork to maintain a modicum of restraint.

horse and plough burger

It was all washed down with a vegan beer, and I could had had a choice of them which was a lovely surprise.

IMG_7006

The best thing about this burger was the chefs attention to detail, it wasn’t just a run of the mill mass produced vegan burger, it was handmade, correctly seasoned, great texture and had the right accompaniments.  It made me really appreciate the attention to detail and thought that had gone in to it

IMG_7007

Dan and his team at the Horse and Plough are doing us vegans proud, their vegan options are so delicious even my omnivore other half would have happily ordered the fakey Mcbacon face burger. High praise indeed

Pizza Express review

Veg out restaurant review – Pizza Express, West Bridgford

Pizza Express review

I recently discovered that if you download the Pizza Express App and enter some personal information you’re rewarded with a free pizza.  So that’s exactly what I did and one late Friday afternoon my friend and I rather excitedly walked in to the West Bridgford restaurant.

pizza App

 

We were not only excited at the thought of having a free pizza but also that the pizza would have on it vegan cheese.  We rather half-heartedly perused the menu having already decided that we’d skip the ‘bready’ starters and go straight to the classic Vegan Giardiniera.

pizza Epress

But we’d made a schoolgirl error by not looking at the T&Cs; the offer wasn’t available on a Friday and Saturday, Doh!  But all wasn’t lost because the App held out a little olive branch in the form of a starter and main course for £9.95 available on a Friday.  Not the free pizza we were hoping for but a bit of a bargain non-the less

Pizza offer

PE

 

 

My review is also online at the Nottingham Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of the starters are not vegan friendly but the staff were really accommodating and, contrary to the specific offer, informed us that we could order anything from the appetizer and starter section.  We opted for marinated olives and roasted tomatoes and asked for the classic Vegan Giardiniera pizza.

pizza

We eagerly tucked in to our generously portioned starters, and were only half way through when our pizzas arrived.  They looked like regular pizzas, an important issue for many vegans because we like to eat food that doesn’t draw undue attention to our food choices.  The size was perfect, a thin crispy base, a well flavoured sauce, generous amount of toppings (Artichoke, closed cup mushroom, red onion and black olives, with tomato and garlic oil) and the all important vegan mozzarella alternative, which was gooey and melting

pizza

We finished every last piece and it was delicious. The only minor downside to this tasty eating experience was the level of noise.  We ate at 5.30, prime children’s tea time and they were out in force. It’s great that the restaurant is so accommodating but the acoustics and hard surfaces make the sounds echo and bounce around which can be distracting.  So if you want a quiet meal I’d suggest you eat later.

 

Finally, PE’s website has a helpful vegan menu, which is great but if you are a vegan and a regular visitor to the chain you may soon get bored of the delicious but quite limited options.

 

The big lunch launch

The big lunch launch

The West Bridgford Wire showcased a new exciting initiative that is taking place in Nottingham City centre next week

big lunch

https://westbridgfordwire.com/nottingham-big-lunch-gets-ready-for-launch/?utm_source=West+Bridgford+Wire+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=3ba7839f08-Wire+Daily+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_38341112ed-3ba7839f08-432354685

Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID), have come up with this idea, taking place from Monday 21 May to Friday 25 May 2018. The aim is to persuade people to change their normal routine by leaving their desks and encouraging them to get out and discover Nottingham’s amazing choice of eateries.

The only catch is……..

To obtain one of the 1,300 free lunches, you must work at businesses who are BID members.

Establishments that have signed up to this initiative include  Harts, Jamie’s Italian, Pit & Pendulum, Cock & Hoop, Malt Cross, The Castle, The Cheese Shop and The Herbert Kilpin.

I’m happy to support the big lunch because the ‘lunch hour’ is becoming a thing of the past, with workers often forgoing their lunch or eating at their desk.

Time-taken-for-lunch-break-graphics

Image attribution to http://www.savoystewart.co.uk/ .

A lunch break away from your desk (no matter how short) can have both personal and business benefits

  • improves concentration
  • movement makes the body weight bearing
  • potentially increases vitamin D levels
  • releases happy hormones
  • improve productivity, focus and creativity

taco4With a wealth of cafes and eateries in Nottingham you’ve got no excuse for taking a break.  Or why not make a healthy packed lunch including some wholemeal carbs, lots of vegetables or salad and some low fat protein

The weather looks set to be good next week, so folks no excuses leave your desk and workstations and go and find free food

 

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

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 12.28.48

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.

pastrami1

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 – Annie’s burger shack

Veg out review – Annie’s burger shack

 

Annie’s burger shack in Nottingham’s Lace Market is renowned for its extensive menu and the fact that everything can be made for a meat eater, vegetarian or vegan. I’ve eaten there a few times and could never make my mind up what burger to have.

outside shot

This time I decided to go for brunch to see if the choice was as extensive and the portions just as generous – I wasn’t disappointed on either count!

 

We arrived at 10.30 and it was already half full with fellow breakfast diners all tucking in to large plates of food.

20403349_10154850600971903_155510769_n

 

 

You can also read my review online and hard copy in the Nottingham Post

Nottingham Post Annie’s review

 

 

 

Now all you vegetarians and vegans out there will understand that generally perusing a menu takes a few minutes, because the choice is limited. That’s not the case at Annie’s, we had to tell the server to come back three times because I couldn’t make my mind up!

menu

I was torn between the pancakes, breakfast burroito and the North East flannel hash. After much deliberation I chose the hash, but immediately wished I’d gone for one of the other two. It was always going to be a win win situation so I didn’t mind

I asked for my coffee to come with my food, because I knew there’d be a wait. But in the meantime we were served with lots of fresh water.   On the coffee front I was surprised to see just a small pre- selected machine, which meant I couldn’t have a cappuccino or latte just black coffee with soya milk on the side. But that was a minor irritation.

The wait for the food afforded us the chance to check out the other diners and what they had chosen. The young boy in the superman costume next to us was tucking in to pancakes, they looked so light and delicious. A couple were sharing their breakfast and looked like they’d ordered the chilli and the Boston franks and beans. Some finished plates had quite a lot of food left, maybe the portion size was too much for some.

veggie

When our food (and coffee) arrived I wasn’t disappointed by my choice. I had sweet potato, beetroot and onion hash, tofu scramble and two slices of chunky toast. My other half had the wagon train scrambler (corned beef hash, poached eggs and toast). I greedily tucked in because it all looked so delicious and initially it was. But something on my plate was incredibly salty; I couldn’t tell if it was the hash or the tofu scramble. Half way through I asked for more water but it was getting to the point where I couldn’t finish it. My partner said his was salty too

meat

I mentioned the over seasoning when our plates were taken away with reassurances that it would be relayed to the kitchen. We heard nothing else. So for me, my Annie’s brunch ended on a low note. The positives were good coffee, extensive vegan and veggie options and huge portions (although that can also be a negative). But the down side was the salt content and how it affected the taste and enjoyment of my meal.

Would I go back; yes but I would certainly ask for the seasoning to be adjusted

Veg out – the Marigold, West Bridgford

Veg out – the Marigold, west Bridgford

 

marigoldI’m always keen to try new restaurants, so when I walked past the recently opened Marigold Indian restaurant on Gordon Road, West Bridgford and noticed it offered local residents a discount; well that was all the encouragement I needed

That weekend I booked a table for 6 and was ready to try some interesting flavours. The restaurant itself is spacious with enough room between the tables, the décor is subtle and the bar was well stocked, so the first job was to order 6 draft Cobra’s whilst we Marigold studied the menu. This is always a much quicker task when like me you’re vegetarian or vegan, as the choices are more limited. But to be fair I was pleasantly surprised with the options. The staff (who were incredibly hospitable and helpful) were also able to offer advice and suggestions.

 

Whenever I go to an Indian restaurant I’m always seduced by the mouth watering array of starters and therefore fill up and have very little room left for the main course. So with that in mind we all opted for one popadom each and all the little chutneys. For my main course I decide to try ‘Desi Handi’ a medium spiced vegetable dish – the description was giving nothing away.

My full review of the restaurant is in the Nottingham Post both online and hard copy (Wednesday 21st)

The poppadum’s were as expected; dry, crisp with lots of spicy and cooling dips. Then my curry arrived and it ticked all the boxes; the portion size was perfect (not too big and overwhelming), the sauce wasn’t oily, the vegetables were chunky and it was bursting with flavour and spice. I always share a plain steamed rice (all the fancier ones have extra calories!) and a roti (its thinner and smaller than a naan with no butter/ghee/oil daubed on the top)

Goodness it was good! My dinner companions also enjoyed their meals; the biryani dish was enormous and could easily feed to moderately hungry adults, the garlic chilli chicken also received a lot of praise as did the Tava karahi; a spicy dish served on a cast iron plate

The marigold is not the cheapest restaurant of its type in West Bridgford or even Nottingham but it has a very welcoming price difference between meat and veggie options. My vegan curry was £9.95 the meat versions were £12.95, king prawn dishes £18.90 with Rice on top. But thankfully we all received the local residents £25% discount. But fear not if you are not from West Bridgford – pick up their ‘Diners’ members card and you will receive 20% off your food bill. Very nice indeed

Marigold

 

So with all of that in mind the Marigold has become my number one Indian restaurant in West Bridgford if not Nottingham!! Give it a try and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed

Cuzina, West Bridgford – restaurant review

Cuzina, Radcliffe Road, West Bridgford

 

cuzinaA number of years ago I can remember visiting Pappas Greek restaurant, in West Bridgford. It then closed, reopened as an Indian street food establishment, closed again and over the last few months has transformed in to a modern Greek restaurant called Cuzina.  The west bridgford wire  also contacted me as they’d featured it in their online West Bridgford resource

So the idea of tapas style Greek morsels was too hard to resist, an online booking for four was made and excitement built. As a vegetarian I often struggle to find veggie friendly cheese (the sort that is animal rennet free), so after a quick phone call to the restaurant I was able to ascertain that both the feta and halloumi were suitable. The owner Nick went to great lengths to make sure the information he gave me was spot on and also reassured me that items like the vegetable skewers were cooked away from the meat versions, so I felt confident that I would have a good night

cuzina 1Inside the setting is bright and modern, with a collection of intimate tables and areas for larger parties. Amstel on draught got us off to a good start. We were advised to order a max of three dishes each and as they are cooked and prepared to order they may come out at different times.

I saw on Facebook that cuzina’s signature dish was a Greek salad served inside an artisan bread. So that was dish one sorted, second dish was hummus and pitta (I later realised I’d gone overboard on carbs!) and my final dish was giant beans. my dining companions ordered the courgette and aubergine fritters, spanakopita spring rolls, grilled halloumi, chicken skewers, chicken gyros, calamari and a portion of chips. They all came out at different times, but my Greek salad was first to arrive so I tucked in! It was amazing. The bread was crusty on the outside but inside it had been smeared with crushed tomatoes, then filled to the brim with cucumber, salad leaves, red onion, tomatoes, olives, feta and a dressing; by far the best dish on the table. The fritters were very tasty and moreish and the beans also deserve a special mention.

greek 1

I couldn’t fault the food and if anything I over ordered. Next time (and there definitely will be a next time) I will order the hummus minus the pitta, the Greek salad and maybe…. Well I’m not sure because it was all absolutely scrummy!

 

If you visit Cuzina at lunch time then the Greek salad is enough by itself and it becomes a very reasonable meal out at £5.50. In the evening if you add on a beer or two and three dishes you will be paying over £20 a head. But what you will be experiencing is lots of taste sensations and a steady stream of food arriving at your table (which can get a little overcrowded!)

 

Cuzina is definitely a place to come to with friends and try lots of different small meals. And as I now know which cheeses are veggie friendly I will definitely come with a veggie friend or two and enjoy a Greek feast

Veg out – Ala Turka, Compton Acres

Veg out – Ala Turka, Compton Acres restaurant review

IMG_9943A few weeks ago I looked in the fridge and nothing inspired me so we decided to go for a bite to eat but where to go that was local and a bit different? Then I remembered reading in the local online resource the West Bridgford Wire about a new Turkish restaurant that had opened on Compton Acres. So off we went

 

It looked very welcoming from the outside with twinkling lights in the windows and flickering candles on the tables. We were seated very quickly and presented with menus, which stated that they catered for all dietary requirements including vegan and vegetarian.

 

I spoke to a member of staff who at first was unclear about the menu options available to me, but after I explained what vegan meant she was able to list quite a few tasty possibilities. The chef even came up with a vegetable stew that he could make to order as a hot vegan main course.

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 12.25.17My review is now online in the Nottingham Post and a hardcopy will be available to buy on Wednesday.

We opted for bread, dips and olives whilst we made our minds up; all of which were delicious. I plumped for hummus for my starter and the vegan stew, as recommended by the chef, accompanied by a mixed salad and rice. There were obviously more vegetarian options than vegan ones, but I would always check that the cheeses were veggie suitable. My meat eating other half ordered vegetarian courgette fritters followed by Chicken and lamb shish kebabs

 

My hummus was creamy and garlicky, but came without bread so we ordered another portion, which arrived very quickly. And my stew was intense, rich and very, very flavoursome. The accompanying salad was really fresh and colourful and bursting with goodness. My hubby enjoyed both his starter and main course. The price of all dishes was very reasonable; generally the starters were £3.50, veggie main courses were under £8 and meat and fish dishes ranged from £9- £13

 

It can be tricky eating out as a vegan let alone a vegetarian, so I would always recommend ringing ahead or speaking to the chef when you get to the restaurant, as there are often as was the case here misunderstandings about what can and cannot be included. But the restaurant was very amenable and willing to adapt their menu. I suggested that they include the stew as a standard vegan item as it was that tasty and I would happily eat it again. Next time I will ring ahead and ask if the courgette fritters could be ‘veganised’ and check that the stew was available. And I’m sure that if it weren’t the chef would have a batch ready for me!