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


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

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


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

Veg out – Review of Wagamama, Nottingham


Veg out – Review of Wagamama, Nottingham  

When I heard recently that Wagamama was going to introduce a new vegan and vegetarian menu that was my cue to get on down there!



Not only had the menu undergone a transformation but the interior of the restaurant had too. And it was so much cosier, great start


My fellow vegan companion and I were handed a separate vegan and vegetarian menu with everything clearly marked. We were very excited! Our server who was also vegan was very happy to talk us through the options and share her personal recommendations. We started as always with tap water and green tea – both free!


Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 14.19.09My review is also online in the Nottingham Post

Normally even at Wagga’s perusing the menu doesn’t take very long because the vegan options are quite limited, but not now we were spoilt for choice and had to keep sending the server away because we couldn’t decide.


In the end we ordered Yasai gyoza (steamed dumplings) and miso soup for starter (yes I know everything is cooked to order and can come at any time, but you know what I mean!). To follow Kare Burosu ramen (fried tofu, grilled veg, udon noodles all sitting in a curry broth) and yasai samla curry (tofu and mushroom coconut curry served with white rice)

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The gyozas and miso soups were the first to arrive. They were both absolutely delicious. The miso was warming and tasty and the little dish of pickles added another intense flavour. It was great to be able to have a non-fish version of this fab soup. It’s low in calorie and filling, so a great choice the calorie conscious diner. The steamed dumplings were also tasty mouthfuls, especially when soaked in the salty hot dipping sauce. They were packed with vegetables and had a great chewy texture .

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On to main course, we decided to share both dishes. The ramen dish was hot and spicy (but not too spicy) and looked so beautiful. The broth was light and flavoursome and the tofu was in plentiful supply. It was a shame I had to stop eating it and swap for the other dish. But, as soon as I tasted the samla curry I loved it. It was hotter than the ramen dish and had a thicker creamy texture. Again it was awash with tofu pieces. The dish came with white rice and next time I will ask for the more fibre rich nutty tasting brown rice.

Throughout the meal our server was very attentive and our water glasses and green tea cups were replenished on a regular basis.


The price of vegan and vegetarian dishes ranged from £3.75 – £5.75 for starters (or sides!) to £8.50 – £10.95 for main courses. The meal came to about £27 for two, which I thought was really good value as every dish was superb. There is definitely enough variety on the vegan menu to keep me coming back


Should you go Vegan?

Should you go Vegan?

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

The subject of veganism is appearing more regularly in the media; Lewis Hamilton is the latest big name to follow in the footsteps of Serena and Venus Williams and adopt a vegan lifestyle.  Vegetarian and vegan inspired cafes, pubs, restaurants are springing up all around the country – we have a plethora of them here in Nottingham – number 12 hounds gateRobe roomPeacockhorse and plough, binghamOscar and Rosiesangel microbrewery,cafe royaCrocus cafe to name but a few.  And of course I offer vegan cookery lessons in West Bridgford for those who wish to dip their toe in to vegan waters or for anyone that wants to incorporate more veggies in to their diet

vegan cookery class

Being vegan means not consuming any animal products or by-products.  Obviously that means no meat, fish, dairy and eggs.  For some it also means no honey.  They will also not wear leather or fur.  For many it is also more than just food, it’s a lifestyle choice centred around animal welfare, ethical treatment of animals and people and the conservation of the planet

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This article has also appeared in the local online resource West Bridgford Wire




Here’s just some of the vegan food on offer in our Nottingham eateries


5 reason why veganism is worth considering

1. Vegans and vegetarians generally have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index),  which can lead to a reduced risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

IMG_66442. Eating a more plant based diet means more antioxidants and phytochemicals which help fight free radicals and reduce inflammation; high levels of both could lead to an increase in chronic diseases like arthritis, heart disease and some cancers

3. Getting your 5-a-day.  Nearly two thirds of adults don’t manage to eat their recommended 5 fruits and/or vegetables a day.  These multicoloured powerhouses give us fibre, vitamins and minerals and help to stabilise our blood sugar levels


4. Reduced food costs?  A tin of beans costing beans50p has up to 10g of protein.  Buying fruits and veg when in season makes them more affordable they also contain optimum nutrition.  Dried beans and lentils can be bought in bulk.  Frozen fruits and vegetables are nutritionally equal to fresh and are often more convenient. Many fruits and veg can be obtained free of charge from local allotments, friends and family or by growing your own.

5. And we can’t get away from animal welfare, global warming and sustaining the planet.

If you want to take the plunge but don’t know where to start then consider attending my vegan and vegetarian cookery classes that run weekly on most days (except Thursdays) and Tuesday evening

veg cookery poster jpeg

NP media cookery courseThe Nottingham Post online also covered the opening of my cookery school Nottingham Post article

So come along and make something new and nutritious

Contact me on 07946 301338 or



A vegan diet can be naturally lower in calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.  But with some careful meal planning vegans can incorporate these micronutrients into their diet.

Marmite and soya (B12), Mushrooms and sunshine (Vitamin D), Flaxseeds (Omega 3), Green leafy Veg and pulses (Iron), citrus/dried fruits and sesame seeds (calcium) and Tofu, nuts and seeds (*zinc)

vegan cookery testimonial J Pemberton 2

Vitamin D was in the media this week; with Public Health England suggesting that everyone should take a supplement in the winter months due to the reduced sunlight.   One of the best ways to obtain this crucial vitamin is to be in the sun for about 10-15 minutes a day without sunscreen. so take a break at lunchtime and go for a quick walk, spend some time in the garden, walk the dog or take the children to the park.  All those activities done without sunscreen for 10 minutes should help your body to make Vitamin D.  After all it’s called the sunshine vitamin! 

* Unrefined grains such as wholemeal bread, pasta and rice, are high in phytates, which can block zinc absorption


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

Veg out review of The Robe Room

Veg out review of The Robe Room at National Justice Museum, High Pavement, Nottingham


Last week I noticed a banner attached to the steps of the National Justice Museum (Galleries of Justice as was), it beckoned me inside to try the new café run by Beccy’s Global Kitchen. Some of you may know the name if you hang out around Nottingham because for a number of years Beccy Spurr has run ‘pop up’ cafes all round the City.


Jill Carter of Pulp Friction (A Project that provides opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities to develop work-readiness, social and independence skills) and Beccy have forged a formidable partnership to run the café. Serving up great tasting veggie and vegan food, with the help of a team of young adults.



See the whole review online Nottingham Post

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robr room3


Well, that only meant want thing…”lunchtime’. I was directed to the back of the entrance hall and in to the café. In front of me was a chiller cabinet full of platters of sandwiches; so as well as serving the public the café also runs an outside catering service too.




The menu looked varied and interesting with a good mix of veggie and vegan options. It changes regularly as its dictated by the food that arrives via the ‘fair share East Midlands’, a scheme that enables cafes to use surplus supermarket food.

menu robe room

After much deliberation I opted for the ‘A.L.T’; a vegan take on the classic BLT with Aubergine taking centre stage. I also spied a rather swanky coffee machine serving the very lovely Stewarts coffee, so a soya cappuccino was quickly ordered.

robe coffee


Also on the menu were various sandwiches, soup, ‘not’ hot dogs and other light bites; all very reasonably priced. As well as a selection of cakes, muffins and sweet treats


My cappuccino was the first to arrive and served as a rather tasty starter! It certainly whetted my appetite for the main event and that didn’t disappoint either. If you are the person who says they don’t like aubergine, maybe it because it hasn’t been cooked properly. It has to be roasted until the point of collapse and then smothered in flavour. This was exactly what the cafe had done to the A.L.T. It was soft and unctuous and bursting with smoky Asian flavours, that worked will with the vegan mayo and salad. I could have eaten it twice over

aubergine robe room

The café has only been open a few weeks so it needs a few more finishing touches, like pictures and paintings and I believe some comfy sofas are being delivered soon. But there is plenty of room to meet a few friends, enjoy some healthy veggie or vegan food and still have a considerable amount of change left over.

robe room2

It has a lovely atmosphere and is set in a wonderful building, it is free to enter and is open everyday between 10am and 4.00pm during School Holidays and 10.00am and 4.00pm Wednesday to Sunday at all other times.



If you like to eat in a place with a conscience then check out the Robe room

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.