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.

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-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  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 – 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!


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



But I have about 28 reasons to return!


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.

Veg out – Signature steak house, restaurant review

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

signatureA few weeks ago it was mothering Sunday and I thought what better way to celebrate than by taking my mum for afternoon tea, but where? After scouring the Internet I found that Signature on Melton Road, West Bridgford had a lovely menu so I booked a table for four; well we couldn’t leave the men out!

signature NPMy review of Signature has appeared in the Nottingham Post.  Check it out online or buy todays paper


So at 3pm prompt we arrived with a card and a bunch of daffs ready for our ‘tea’. Now I have to explain that I’d previously made 2 phone calls and popped in to the restaurant to check the veggie options. They assured me they could make adaptations to meet any of our requirements. So I had high hopes


IMG_5542We were seated in the main restaurant with the other diners all enjoying their Sunday lunch. A quick conversation with the manager and we were re-seating in the ‘casual’ dining part of the restaurant with the other afternoon tea-ers.


The restaurant was naturally very busy so it took the staff a while to take our order. We asked for a variety of sandwich fillings, all on wholemeal bread and desserts that were suitable for vegetarians. I’d previously checked and was told the cheeses were not suitable so I opted for egg and cress and avocado and black pepper.


IMG_5544 IMG_5543Our drinks arrived, and then there was quite a long wait. Eventually some cutlery and plates arrived, shortly followed by 2 cake stands suitably groaning under the weight of our afternoon tea goodies. But it soon became apparent that not all was as it should be; the tuna and chicken were combined in to one sandwich filling, with enough for four people. IMG_5547Which possibly explained why my veggie sandwiches were missing. After a 10 minute wait the absent sandwiches arrived (although the egg was fresh from the pan and therefore rather hot!)


We all tucked in and enjoyed the light and soft savoury course, but I was disappointed not to see any salad in the fillings or on the plates. On to the sweet course, first of all an enormous fruit scone (the size of a tea cup) that was light and delicious, we only had two servings of jam and cream so had to ask for extra. Personally I thought as lovely as the scone was, it was too large for an IMG_5546afternoon tea as we all felt quite podged. However we ploughed on to the last sweet dish a rich chocolate mousse. Again I felt the need to call over a member of staff to check that it was veggie friendly – a quick check with the kitchen and I tucked in. It didn’t disappoint it was rich, thick and very chocolatey and not overly large. To accompany it our tea pots were replenished


Overall I thought it represented good value for money at £17.95 for two. (add champagne it comes to £31.95 for two).   Although as is often the case I would have preferred more savoury treats than sweet ones – maybe a mini quiche, some olives, sundered tomatoes or just simply more delicate sandwiches.  The restaurant setting is good and has a nice atmosphere. There is definitely a high proportion of regular customers– so they must be doing something right. The service was very polite and helpful if haphazard; maybe it was extra busy because of Mothering Sunday. Having said that the ‘afternoon tea’ market has a lot of competition so I would probably go to another restaurant next time I fancy some mid-afternoon delicacies.

Veg out review – handmade burger Co, Nottingham

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website


IMG_5384I always like a bargain, so it was with great excitement I came across a voucher for the new handmade burger restaurant in Nottingham. The restaurant is situated in the recently revamped part of Victoria centre. So I was keen to give it a try


I downloaded my 50% of any vegan burger and I was good to go!   All I needed was my meat-eating sister to accompany me

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 18.08.56My review is now available on line via the Nottingham Post




IMG_5369We arrived on a Tuesday lunchtime and it was surprising busy, I would even say ‘buzzing’. We were quickly seated and as we were ‘Handmade’ newbies, the server spent some time explaining the menu and talking us through the options.


I had about 6 or 7 vegetarian or vegan burgers to choose from, my sister took slightly longer to make her choice because of the extensive 50 burger menu.   A quick trip to the till and we’d ordered a small vegetable & bean burger for me (£4.25) minus the bun but with a mixed salad. My sister ordered a small beef cheese classic (£5,25), again minus the bun and with a salad (the other alternative is a bowl of freshly prepared coleslaw). And we shared a bowl of rosemary salt seasoned chips (£3.45) – recommend by our server


About 15 minutes later the dishes arrived and we weren’t disappointed. My vegan burger was really tasty with a good hit of spice and heat. My sister said her beef burger was one of the best she’s had; very moist and tasty. And the server was right to recommend the rosemary chips they were heavenly, and one portion was definitely enough for two


Vegan Vegetable and bean burger


Beef and cheese classic










And that brings me on to why I like this place so much. You pay for what you want not what they want to serve you. All the burgers come with a small salad as standard and that’s it. If you want chips, toppings and other sides you have to pay extra. So it encourages me to really consider how hungry I am and to choose accordingly


However If I was really hungry and wanted the full works of a veggie burger, with extra toppings like cheese and mushrooms, a side salad (with toppings) and two sides it could possibly cost me upwards of £15. But I know I wouldn’t be able to finish it all and I wouldn’t need to eat for the rest of the day. What I had was more than adequate for a lunchtime meal

With my 50% off voucher, courtesy of Veganuary my meal came to under a fiver.


I will certainly be returning to handmade burger Co with or without a voucher!

Handmade voucher


By the way the voucher is valid until the 29th February, so what’s stopping you?!