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

http://www.nottinghampost.com/gusto-in-west-bridgford-was-really-accommodating-and-helpful-says-veggie-food-reviewer/story-30277092-detail/story.html

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.

Veg out restaurant review – Haveli, Chilwell

Veg out restaurant review – Haveli, Chilwell

 

Who doesn’t love a good curry but they are often consumed at 11pm after a night on the beers. So I decided to break with tradition and visit Haveli in Chilwell at 6.15pm, with the added benefit of being eligible for their two for one offer on all main meals when the table is vacated by 7.30

 

HaveliThe restaurant is enormous, and that might explain why it was a bit on the chilly side. But to say it was so early about half a dozen tables were already occupied; more bargain hunters!

 

haveliYou won’t find too many familiar sounding curries so a quick chat with the traditionally dressed member of staff told me that dhal makhani was a lentil and bean dish, achari aubergines was a masala spiced dish.

 

If something a bit different and exotic doesn’t take your fancy they also have a smaller selection of more traditional dishes like balti’s, korma’s and biryani’s

 

Before we could make a decision a selection of poppadum’s and dips were beautifully presented, which we happily munched on whilst studying the menu.

haveli

We decided to bypass the starters (bhajis, chicken tikka, puris etc) and went straight for a main course. I was taken with the dhal makhani and my other half (a non-veggie) went for king prawn karahi. With a side order of boiled rice and a Roti (less filling than a naan bread – give it a try if you haven’t already)

haveli

The service was quite swift so within 10 minutes of our empty poppadum dish being removed, large bowls of steaming curry replaced it. My dish was exactly as described; beans and lentils cooked until it becomes a thick and unctuous sauce. Not the prettiest dish I’ve ever seen but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 

I was really impressed with the portion sizes – we shared a bowl and rice and it was ample, any more and we would either have felt really stuffed or left a lot.

 

I absolutely loved the earthiness of my dish, it was ‘Indian comfort food’ at its best. Some might want different textures and tastes within the dish (like mixed veg) but I really liked the texture and the taste was more about great flavour than heat

My other half also enjoyed his prawn dish, which was bursting with seafood. His only minor complaint was the intensity of the tomato flavour.

Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 16.53.19My review is also online at and will be in Wednesday’s Nottingham Post  http://www.nottinghampost.com/haveli-serves-indian-comfort-food-at-its-best-according-to-veggie-reviewer/story-30215419-detail/story.html

Overall I was impressed with the variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes (mine was vegan) and it was lovely to try something different. Vacating our table by 7.30 meant we qualified for the two meals for one offer, which was just as well because the prices are more expensive than most Indian restaurants. My dish was £13, the prawn dish was £17, rice and roti were both £3 each; which meant £13 was taken off the bill. Now that’s what I call a result!

haveli

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!

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

Veg out restaurant review – the Stratford Haven, West Bridgford

Veg out restaurant review – the Stratford Haven, West Bridgford

 

tofu-steakLast month I was asked by Castle Rock Brewery to be on their judging panel for new vegan and vegetarian food that may eventually find its way on to their menus. It was a great day and the winning dish was a tofu steak made by Tom the head chef at the Stratford Haven.

 

So with that in mind I decided to pay the Stratford a visit, unfortunately the Tofu steak was not on their Christmas menu, but a nut roast was!

stratford-xmas-menu

stratford-haven-001-455x338Now anyone who knows the Castle Rock pubs will know many of them are famed for their beers rather than their food and I think the Stratford is no exception. It is a very busy, lively pub at the best of times but even more so at Christmas, so we tucked ourselves away in a quietish alcove and got ready for our pre-ordered festive menu to begin

 

stratford soupThe piping hot parsnip and apple soup soon arrived and it looked so appealing. The small bowl hid some wonderful little details, like the crispy croutons and the curly parsnip crisps. The soup was really smooth, rich and tasty. It was served with a hot white crusty baguette, which of course we ate but wished we hadn’t as it filled us up to much!

 

np-onlineMy review is feature online at http://www.nottinghampost.com/is-this-the-best-veggie-christmas-menu-in-west-bridgford/story-29996754-detail/story.html.  And will also appear in Wednesdays Nottingham Post

Nottingham Post article

Nottingham Post article

On to the main course; the nut roast. Now as a lifelong veggie I’ve had my fair share of nut roast and this was probably one of the best. It was incredibly savoury, flavoursome and substantial with a nice rich winey background flavour and topped with crispy parsnips curls. And the accompaniments really showed it off; the roasties were crispy and plentiful, the stuffing was crunchy and herby, and the veg was deliciously al dente and included carrots, Brussels and cauliflower. Hidden underneath the nut roast was spicy braised red cabbage. And all smothered in a jug of veggie gravy

stratford veggie meal

It’s not very often that a veggie dinner is equal (in looks and substance) to a meat version but in this case I think my meal looked better than my partner’s steak

 

We could have had a third course and if I’d had room I might have gone for the Christmas pub (there was also vanilla cheesecake, Christmas Sundae and cheese and biscuits). But no ‘v’ symbols were shown and I would have needed to make sure they were all suitable for vegetarians. But as I said we were both stuffed and felt two courses were more than sufficient.

 

The price was also very reasonable; £15.95 for two courses or £18.95 for three. However it wasn’t clear if the ‘Afters’ of coffee and mince pies were included in the price or extra. As it happens we were so full it didn’t matter

 

There is no dedicated restaurant area like there is at another local Castle Rock pub, the Embankment so you may struggle to enjoy a quite meal for two. But persevere and you will taste some of the best vegetarian food in West Bridgford

Where  do you think is the best place in Nottingham for a

vegetarian Christmas meal? 

Veg out restaurant review: the Kiosk, Nottingham

Veg out restaurant review: The Kiosk, Nottingham

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

Many of you may recognise the name of the restaurant I recently visited but you may not recognise the venue!

 

inside-shotThe Kiosk in Sherwood was the recipient of my very first Veg Out review for the Nottingham Post back in July 2014. They have since opened up a second café in Cobden Chambers off Pelham Street, Nottingham.

My review is also available via Nottingham Post online, and will be in the hardcopy paper tomorrow.kiosk-review

Beth, the owner left the Sherwood Kiosk in the capable hands of her brother and opened her latest café in early November. She offers the same type of Middle Eastern cuisine but with her touch and flair for colour and great flavour combinations.

So it was with much excitement that I paid them a visit

kiosk-menuMy friend had travelled down from Yorkshire and I was excited to show her what Nottingham could offer. We started with some tap water that was all laid out on the tables with some glasses. After perusing the menu and looking at the specials we were still no nearer making a decision! Then Beth came over to help us out.   She carefully went through the options, describing each dish perfectly and with such care. Our minds were made up; I opted for 3 freshly made salads with a piece of Turkish bread and my friend ordered the flatbread with oil, spices and feta with 2 of the salads.

 

flatbreadSalad #1 was roast heritage carrots on a bed of labneh (hung yoghurt to you and me) topped with singed spring onions and hazelnut dukha. Salad #2 was kushari rice with brown lentils, fried onions, figs and cinnamon. And salad #3 was date Fatush green salad with dates, feta ,crisp breads and date syrup dressing. They were amazing, every mouthful was a delight and different flavours tickled my taste buds. I just wish all vegan and vegetarian food looked and tasted this good

There was no doubt I’d seriously upped my veg and fibre content that lunchtime!

 

hazelnut-dessert

 

We were having such a relaxed time we decided to stay a bit longer and share a dessert, a gluten free hazelnut extravaganza, and a pot of fresh mint tea to accompany it

 

My friend was also impressed with the food; her flatbread was heavenly. But she was equally impressed with the venue. Cobden Chambers seems to be the place to be! The Kiosk is housed in a building (part of the THiNK space) that can be used for meetings, events or just casual get together’s like the one I was enjoying.

 

cakes

 

If you want to try some different flavour combinations, nice healthy portions, and interesting veggie and vegan food the Kiosk at Cobden chambers is the place to go

Veg out restaurant review – Escabeche, West Bridgford

Veg out restaurant review – Escabeche, West Bridgford

 

escabecheA bright summers evening calls for some light and fresh food, so what better place to go than Escabesche in West Bridgford. It serves Spanish tapas and even has a menu of the day which includes flatbread and dips, two tapas and a side dish for a very reasonable £9.95

 

Sadly I arrived too late to take advantage of the daily menu offer, but on the plus side I could choose anything veggie. And they have quite a lot to choose from. As I often do, I rang ahead to check that the cheeses were suitable and they told me what was and wasn’t vegetarian. Good start!

menu1menu2

The service is very efficient and relaxed, so our drinks order was quickly taken and we settled in to peruse the menu. And true to their word all the options they talked about on the phone were clearly marked with a ‘v’. There is a lovely buzz about the place, staff are clearly visible and busy and there is plenty of restaurant chatter

Nottm postMy review is also featured in Todays Nottingham Post and online Nottingham Post Online

As you may know Tapas style eating is not about starters and mains it’s about small plates of food that arrive when they are cooked. I could have gone classic and had flatbread and some dips, potatas bravas, olives, potato & onion tortilla or go a bit off piste and try pickled peppers (hopefully picked by Peter Piper!), red lentil, oregano & feta burgers, mushroom risoni rice or manchego, beetroot & apple salad to name but a few. But in the end I plumped for mozzarella, parmesan, red onion & thyme flatbread, butternut squash, feta & raisin empanadillas, potatas bravas and aubergine, chickpea & tomato tagine..

 

Some of you eagle eyed readers may have spotted that I ate a dish containing parmesan, which as many vegetarians know is not suitable for us, due to the inclusion of animal rennet. But escabeche spell theirs with a small ’p’ meaning it is an Italian hard cheese in the style of Parmesan but veggie friendly.

 

All the dishes were exceptional (the empanadillas deserve a special mention) and I most certainly could have pigged out and ordered more. The portion sizes are just right and about 3 dishes per person is a good serving. Their range of veggie options is the best in West Bridgford, if not Nottingham. All in all there were 30 tapas dishes that were suitable for vegetarians. No wonder it took me so long to choose, I’m not use to that

beer

 

But I have about 28 reasons to return!

Cheers!

The Crimson Tree, Sherwood

Veg out review – the Crimson Tree, Sherwood

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

IMG_6411Recently I took a trip back to Sherwood, my old stomping ground to experience the food at the newly re-located Crimson Tree on Mansfield Road. A while ago they took over the old cookery school on the corner of Mansfield Road and Burlington Road and have extended their range, opening times and capacity

 

The night I visited was tapas night, which is usually good news for a vegetarian because who doesn’t love patatas bravas? The menu has some family favourites including hummus, bread and olives and some interesting newbies such as warm figs with blue cheese and almonds

Nottm Post reviewMy review can also be seen at online Nottingham Post Crimson Tree  and will be in the paper tomorrow

Food aside the décor is absolutely amazing; lots of flickering candles and chandeliers, warm colours on the walls, rustic and mismatched furniture which combine to create a lovely relaxed atmosphere.

 

CT NPUpdate: catch my review  in today’s Nottingham Post (22nd June), along with the new 200degree coffee shop

 

 

IMG_6424

Veggie plate

I went with a group of women friends and as we all like different things so it made sense to order the sharing platters and to add some extra dishes. The food arrived on wooden boards and both the vegetarian and seafood platters looked really interesting and appetising.

Sorry their isn’t a picture of the complete veggie platter; it looked so good we dived right in before I could take a picture!

 

But on my veggie board was cheese stuffed sweet peppers, mixed olives, falafels, halloumi, parsnip crisps, hummus and tzatziki. All served with some soft white bread. There was such a variety of tastes and textures that was really pleasing. And a really nice touch was a scattering of very peppery watercress. We also ordered Spanakopita (filo pastry, cheese and spinach). It’s hard to say what my favourite dish was because they all worked so well together, but I especially loved the crunchy falafals. A friend thought the spanakopita was by far the best dish

IMG_6420

Seafood platter

The seafood platter for the fish eaters was equally well received. It included smoked salmon, marinated crayfish, garlic & chilli king prawns, hot smoked mackerel and marinated boquerones (anchovies apparently!) The platter also contained some tasty veggie accompaniments like the piquant pickled fennel, small gherkins and capers. They would have worked equally well on the veggie platter and if I go again I would ask for them to be added.

 

One of our group is diary and egg intolerant and the staff were very good at making sure she was aware of all the food that was ok for her. Major brownie points for them on that score.

IMG_6422

 

The dessert menu was a big too ‘cakey’ for us, so we opted for pots of tea instead

 

 

 

 

IMG_6423Overall I would definitely recommend the Crimson Tree for a vegetarian night out, but I have a few suggestions; I’d like to see a salad or two on the menu just to increase the veggie uptake, it would also be nice to have more artisan type bread like a good robust rye bread or zingy sourdough. The staff need to be a bit more attentive and organised and I would appreciate a bit more variety on the dessert menu

 

I know its early days for the revamped Crimson Tree so I expect these little issues will soon be ironed out. That aside it is a relaxed and convivial place to eat, chat and laugh.

Café Roya

Veg out – Café Roya, Beeston          

It was back in December 2014 when I reviewed a vegetarian restaurant; you may recall it was the Bluebird Café in Sherwood and since then it seems to have gone from strength to strength. It has decided to adopt a vegan approach to its menu as well as branching out and opening a retail shop next door to the restaurant

cafe royaSo I thought the time was right to visit another specific vegetarian restaurant, this time Café Roya in Beeston. I went with a group of friends; one of whom was a fellow veggie and the others were confirmed carnivores.

 

 

 

It is also national vegetarian week; what better way to celebrate than highlight great veggie restaurants in Nottingham

Because of the size of our party we were asked to pre-order. Now for cafe roya menumany studying the menu and deciding what to eat is a bewildering affair because of the choices on offer. That is not usually the case for vegetarians. But in this instance I took ages to decide what to have and it was such a great feeling to know I could eat anything in complete confidence that all the ingredients were going to be suitable.

 

On the night we were shown upstairs and had a little room all to ourselves. The brick walls were adorned with twinkling fairy lights and hopes were high; or at least mine were as the meat eaters looked a little apprehensive

My review has also been published on the Nottingham cafe roya reviewPost website Cafe Roya Nottingham Post

 

 

Our drinks order was quickly taken, we were asked if we wanted to make any changes to the pre orders after looking at the specials board. And then the starters promptly appeared.

 

I had Tempeh and shitake rice paper rolls – filled with ginger, spring onion and kaffir lime leaves and a sweet and sour dipping sauce, which were delicious and, by the way, vegan. My companions had equally tasty food including broadbean and mint mille feuille and raw food tacos – gem lettuce leaves topped with garlic avocado mayo, walnut ‘meat’ flavoured. The empty plates from around the table were taken away and I eagerly awaited the next course.

 

I kept with the Asian theme and my kombu and wakame seaweed and mushroom risotto looked pretty impressive. And it didn’t let me down on flavour either. Other popular choices were buttermilk soaked halloumi – in a crisp batter served with minted crushed peas, nori tartare sauce, vodka spiked tomatoes, pickled new potatoes and preserved lemon relish and oaxacan Mole – Mexican dish with sweet potato, peppers, corn and green beans in a thick sauce made from ground peanuts.

 

With that amount of variety and range of ingredients we all got our 5 a day. The dishes were beautifully presented and the best thing was they didn’t look ‘vegetarian’, just tempting and appetising

It would have been rude not to indulge in a little dessert so I went for a small piece of chocolate cake, while others chose hot banana and custard turnovers or toasted marshmallow skewers – something generally not suitable for a vegetarian because of the gelatine.

And deep joy, I finished off the night with a creamy soya cappuccino. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at café Roya as did my carnivore companions and we will definitely be returning.