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.

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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 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.

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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

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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 – 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!

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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

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But I have about 28 reasons to return!

Cheers!

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.

The Embankment bar

Veg Out – The Embankment, Nottingham

 

IMG_5863The Embankment pub on London Road just near Trent Bridge is an historical and iconic Nottingham building, being the site of the Boots store and social club. Castle Rock Brewery has recently restored it to its former glory, retaining many of the original features.

I have visited a couple of times over the last few months but only to quaff a few glasses of wine and the odd bottle of vegan beer. But this time I had my sights set on the menu and specials board

 

IMG_5845The pub has three distinct menus; Tapas, Pizza and Bar meals plus an extensive specials board, all with a decent amount of veggie options. I could have chosen a curry, stroganoff, risotto, burritos, various pizzas and numerous tapas sharing dishes but in the end I plumped for a veggie burger, off the specials board. My companions eventually chose red snapper curry, lamb tagine and a steak sandwich

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My review ca also be found in todays (27th April) Nottingham Post

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_5832Burgers are regular vegetarian fayre and if I’m honest are often a disappointment because of their lack of flavour, poor presentation or absence of added extras. However, this burger was a pleasant surprise; it came in a lovely soft brioche bun, not the ubiquitous white roll.   The burger itself was very tasty, generously seasoned and full of veg. It sat on top of a bed of salad and some delicious little gherkins, and it wasn’t smeared in mayonnaise, ketchup or other sugary, fatty accompaniments. The chips were hand cut, proper crispy ones with a side of creamy coleslaw. These simple touches made the whole dish really enjoyable and the reason why I told the staff it was the best veggie burger I’d eaten in a long time.

 

My companions were all equally as impressed with their food; the fish curry was particularly praised for its flavour.

 

As tempting as the puddings were, I was too full but I spied a big coffee machine and asked for a soya cappuccino. Sadly they currently don’t have soya milk so my dining experience had to end there.

 

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All in all I was mightily impressed with the Embankment; the veggie options are numerous, the flavous are great and the setting is impressive. What more does a veggie need!

 

 

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Ps I enjoyed the Embankment so much I went back a few days later for a quick lunchtime bite to eat. The roasted vegetable, mushroom and cheese panni (with a side salad and coleslaw) was delicious.

Veg out review – handmade burger Co, Nottingham

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

 

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 http://www.nottinghampost.com/Veg-veggie-nutrition-coach-Susan-Hart-Handmade/story-28783210-detail/story.html

 

 

 

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

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Vegan Vegetable and bean burger

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Beef and cheese classic

 

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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?!

 

Veg out, restaurant review – Zaap, Nottingham

Veg out – Zaap – did they Thai hard to please!

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

IMG_4784As a vegetarian, eating out can be a bit of a nightmare for me, but generally I do really well when I try Asian cuisine. So I have high or should that be ‘Thai‘ hopes when I visited Zapp, which promised Thai street food in the heart of Nottingham

 

IMG_5195My review of the veggie options at Zaap is in today’s Nottingham Post (27/1/16) and on their website Nottingham Post Zaap review

They have certainly gone to town on trying to recreate a typical street scene, and you will either love it for its kitchness or hate it for its tackiness. I actually loved IMG_4858it. I managed to book a table on a busy Saturday night for 8 people. We were seated very quickly and then left to look at the extensive menu. But really all we did was look around at all the artwork, the open kitchen and play about on the tuk tuk bike. But eventually we concentrated on the menu and made our choices

 

I’d previously phoned ahead and asked about veggie options and they said most recipes could be adapted, just ask the server. So I did!

I ordered edamame (Soya) beans – they look a bit like mange tout and are full of protein and are delicious. A good start. For my main course I decided on Pad Pak Kanar – and for those that don’t know its Stir fried Spring Greens with oyster sauce, garlic and chilli, served with jasmine rice. I spoke to the server and explained that I was veggie and that for me that meant no fish or meat so the oyster sauce was out. She said it would be made with veggie sauce and added tofu. Happy days!

My fellow guests were amazed at the choice so took their time to order. But eventually settled on corn cakes, tiger prawns in batter, Thai fish cakes, spring rolls and chicken skewers with satay sauce. The beauty of this type of food (unless you are veggie) is that you can share and mix and match.

For main course they ordered various meat and fish noodle dishes a few fish curries all washed down with copious amount of beer! They also have a good selection of non IMG_4785alcohol drinks., like the An Chan Soda – 
Butterfly pea juice with soda water and lemon juice. Very tasty and not too sweet

 

The service is exceptionally quick and many of the mains arrived within a few minutes of the starters so the table was groaning under the weight of all that tasty food

From a nutrition point of view many of the dishes are either fried or deep fried making them quite calorific and a bit oily. But they nearly all came with salad of some description. The rice was white jasmine or stirfied but I would have loved to have seen and eaten some wholegrain rice, for extra fibre and a lower GI

All of us really enjoyed our food, it was very hot and spicy – even the mild ones had a decent kick so be aware when ordering the dishes with a spicy symbol – they may blow your head off!

Zaap is a place best experienced in a group. It has lots to keep your attention and interest, the service is quick and efficient, the prices are reasonable. And there is sufficient vegetarian choices, if you explain exactly what you can and can’t eat. I shall definitely return