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


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.


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.


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 – 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



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

The Parlour

Step in to the Parlour for breakfast


14344975_1246108248742642_812204112531224888_nA number of months ago the Parlour, on Bridgford Road, changed hands and has undergone a mini transformation. Thankfully it still retains its quirky mis-matched furniture, happy hour cocktails and hopefully its pleasing food menu


As a vegetarian I was really excited when the Parlour (under its previous ownership) dedicated more of its menu to vegan and vegetarian options, but sadly the choice has been slowly eroded. So it was with some trepidation that I arrived one weekday morning. Happily the menu was littered with veggie options, but only a few vegan ones, which was disappointing. The veggie choice ranged from the full works veggie breakfast (with all the usual suspects), granola, an egg banjo pretzel (no I don’t know either!), scrambled egg on toast, eggs Florentine and Colombian eggs. All egg heavy and nothing specifically vegan. Maybe they could serve the granola with soya milk and without the honey, or toast and jam. Not thrilling is it?!


Well I had a long day ahead of me so I went for the full veggie breakfast and a soya cappuccino. Both arrived at the same time (which I like) and both were piping hot. Two ticks so far! The toast was a multigrain and nice and thick; another tick. The tomato was well cooked and nice and soft; tick. Anyone who knows me knows I hate undercooked grilled tomatoes! The veggie sausage (homemade possibly) was slightly burnt and quite bland; no tick! That was a really shame because the Parlour was on course for quite a high breakfast score. But the soya cappuccino was as ever a winner, tick.


My companion who’s a meat eater ordered the ‘Hangover hash’, Chorizo, pepperonata, hash browns, fried egg and spicy sauce; all served in a piping hot skillet. Although he said it was very tasty he would have either preferred a larger portion or some of my lovely chunky toast.


I asked the team about their changes to the menu and the reduction of vegan dishes in particular. Apparently they couldn’t perfect the vegan sausage so some options were dropped off the menu. Linda McCartney do a great range of vegan sausages and the Co-op is only next door; just saying!parlour 18449927_10154617819456903_938501313_n

On the whole we enjoyed our breakfast (although £7 for the veggie option is at the top end) and I will probably return to the Parlour to try the egg banjo pretzel.

Veg out restaurant review- Gusto, West Bridgford

Veg out restaurant review- Gusto, West Bridgford

I’d heard mixed reviews about the new Gusto restaurant in West Bridgford (the site of the former Monkey Tree pub), so it was an obvious place to visit to check out their veggie options.

GustoThese days all the info you need is online, a quick look at their menu and I was pleasantly surprised to see a note about vegetarian cheese. That’s something I don’t see every day. It makes life so must easier as a vegetarian to know which of the cheeses are suitable.

As I was making a booking for a large number we had to pre-book which gave me an opportunity to talk through the veggie options. The restaurant was really accommodating and helpful; their goat’s cheese is veggie friendly so that could be substituted for all the other cheeses. They also suggested an option that wasn’t on their regular menu


So on Saturday night 11 of us arrived and we were quickly taken to our table. It was a higher than average table with bigger chairs, and when you’re only small they are a bit tricky and heavy to manoeuvre; needles to say lots of shuffling took place!

gusto inside

To say the place was buzzing is an understatement. It was chocker, but that meant (as with many modern establishments) it was very noisy, making it hard to hear everyone.   The noise levels weren’t helped by the occasional clatter of plates and cutlery being dropped by the staff as they descend the stairs with large, full round trays.

NP Gusto


My review is also online at the Nottingham Post and will be in the hard copy tomorrow

Our order was checked for any changes and after 20 minutes or so our starters arrived. My generously proportioned roasted butternut squash and chickpea salad was delicious and looked very healthy. It also happened to be vegan. The other winners were Caesar salad with chicken, mussels, hummus (with a huge flat bread!) and garlic mushrooms. The pate however didn’t pass muster as it was lacking flavour and would have benefited from more bread, but on the whole we were a happy bunch


On to the main course I plumped for a dish suggested by the restaurant that wasn’t on their menu ‘sweet and sour aubergine with polenta chips’. I’m not a big sweet and sour fan (it often tastes artificial) but when the plate arrived it smelt amazing, more Asian spices than saccharin sweetness. It was a whole roasted aubergine that had been cooked to the point of collapse; in my opinion the only way to eat aubergine. And the polenta chips were unbelievable; crispy on the outside soft and squidgy in the middle. A big hit with everyone that tried to steal one off my plate

gusto aubergi

My fellow dinners enjoyed their pizzas (lovely thin crispy bases), roast chicken and meatballs. A couple of friends said their tagliatelle and prawns and the cod and lentils were unexpectedly sweet.


We toyed with the idea of having the chocolate and hazelnut brownie, the sticky toffee pudding or the mini doughnuts with cream and chocolate sauce. But in the end we were just too full.


Overall the restaurant coped well with a large party on a very busy night and for the most part our food was very tasty. I really enjoyed my vegan meal and would be happy to order that again.


A few of things to note though; As a veggie/vegan it would be really helpful to have the ‘V’ or ‘VG’ symbol on the menu when making food choices. It looks like the on line menu has changed and my delicious salad is now longer listed, might be worth checking with the restaurant. And my main course wasn’t on the menu so if you are struggling to find veggie and vegan dishes its always worth ringing the restaurant and having a chat. Gusto in particular is very on the ball and helpful.

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!