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!

 

outside

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

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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!

menu

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 14.19.09My review is also online in the Nottingham Post http://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/new-vegan-menu-nottingham-wagamama-645831

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.

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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

 

Alchemilla, Derby Road

Alchemilla, Derby Road

A veggie paradise!

You may not have heard of this new fine dining restaurant, or if you have you may not know where it is. Well let me enlighten you; according to its website Alchemilla delivers ‘contemporary British cuisine’, using plenty of plant-based ingredients. All cooked by Alex Bond and his team. Alex has worked in some illustrious kitchens including our very own Michelin stared Sat Bains

outside

Booking a table is quite tricky as the restaurant is already a big hit with Nottingham diners. But I managed to get a table for two one Friday lunchtime. Now all I had to do was find it!

It’s located on Derby Road not far from the entrance in to the Park. It has a very subtle door that has a ‘living wall’ next to it, we descended in to the subterranean restaurant, where we were taken to our table via a view of the kitchen; which looked very calm, orderly and clean. No Gordon Ramsey rants here!

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My review has also appeared in the West Bridgford Wire – a great local online resource

 

 

 

As usual I’d phoned ahead to say I was vegan and happily informed that it wouldn’t be a problem. We were each given a menu and the server said the chef would make the vegan adjustments I just had to choose the menu I wanted. So on offer was a 5, 7 or 10 course tasting menu with or without a drinks pairing menu. We opted for the 5 course with drinks (£35 and £25 respectively).

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Very quickly we were presented with homemade sourdough bread with butter and fermented olive ‘butter’ for me, along with tap water. The bread and olive spread was amazing and we were very tempted to ask for more.

 

After a suitable pause to take in our surroundings and check out the other diners our first course was served, heritage tomato with lovage puree for me. Not only was it beautiful to look at but the taste was so fresh and light, a very light wine was also served.

alchemilla tomato

Tomato dish

 

On to the next delicacy, cauliflower, roast yeast and almonds. And now this is my favourite! It was very comforting, soft and unctuous with a real ‘meaty’ favour, courtesy of the roasted yeast I think, all washed down with a rather lovely wine or was it a beer? More bread was brought to us and our water glasses were regularly refilled.

cauliflower

roasted cauliflower

 

Course three was BBQ Hispy, hazelnut milk and toasted hazelnuts. Now for those that don’t know (and I was one of them!) hispy is a type of cabbage. It was as far removed from school dinners as you could get and served another chilled wine.

Hispy cabbage

Hispy cabbage

At this point on a Friday afternoon I’m very grateful that the portions are delicate and the drinks are not full measures because out came number four of five and it was the first of the desserts; raspberry, coffee and black garlic – an unlikely combination but boy was it tasty! And it looked as pretty as a picture and again accompanied by a dessert wine.

raspberry dessert

raspberry dessert

And last but not least chocolate, miso, banana and lime; I have it all the time, don’t you! It was just delicious. The ice-cream mousse was so tasty without being sweet, that came from the caramelised banana. And the whole thing was as a delight.

 

chocolate and banana

chocolate and banana

If you’re not vegan you might be interested to know what my other half had:

Squid bolognaise; cauliflower, roast yeast with almonds and Parmesan; beef short rib, apple pie and finally strawberry, fennel and tarragon. He thoroughly enjoyed all his dishes but the squid bolognaise was the highlight

wine

Now you may have to forgive me If I got slightly muddled about the whys and wherefores of the wines and beer, but it was 2pm in the afternoon and I’m not a big drinker!

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The whole experience was fantastic. The staff were knowledgeable, attentive and courteous without being a nuisance. The restaurant itself is very open, architecturally stunning and not contrived or overly formal. And the pace of the meal was just right, it allowed us time to savour each course and gently sip the drinks. We finished with some very strong coffee and a promise to ourselves to return again.

wall

Veg out review – Annie’s burger shack

Veg out review – Annie’s burger shack

 

Annie’s burger shack in Nottingham’s Lace Market is renowned for its extensive menu and the fact that everything can be made for a meat eater, vegetarian or vegan. I’ve eaten there a few times and could never make my mind up what burger to have.

outside shot

This time I decided to go for brunch to see if the choice was as extensive and the portions just as generous – I wasn’t disappointed on either count!

 

We arrived at 10.30 and it was already half full with fellow breakfast diners all tucking in to large plates of food.

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You can also read my review online and hard copy in the Nottingham Post

Nottingham Post Annie’s review

 

 

 

Now all you vegetarians and vegans out there will understand that generally perusing a menu takes a few minutes, because the choice is limited. That’s not the case at Annie’s, we had to tell the server to come back three times because I couldn’t make my mind up!

menu

I was torn between the pancakes, breakfast burroito and the North East flannel hash. After much deliberation I chose the hash, but immediately wished I’d gone for one of the other two. It was always going to be a win win situation so I didn’t mind

I asked for my coffee to come with my food, because I knew there’d be a wait. But in the meantime we were served with lots of fresh water.   On the coffee front I was surprised to see just a small pre- selected machine, which meant I couldn’t have a cappuccino or latte just black coffee with soya milk on the side. But that was a minor irritation.

The wait for the food afforded us the chance to check out the other diners and what they had chosen. The young boy in the superman costume next to us was tucking in to pancakes, they looked so light and delicious. A couple were sharing their breakfast and looked like they’d ordered the chilli and the Boston franks and beans. Some finished plates had quite a lot of food left, maybe the portion size was too much for some.

veggie

When our food (and coffee) arrived I wasn’t disappointed by my choice. I had sweet potato, beetroot and onion hash, tofu scramble and two slices of chunky toast. My other half had the wagon train scrambler (corned beef hash, poached eggs and toast). I greedily tucked in because it all looked so delicious and initially it was. But something on my plate was incredibly salty; I couldn’t tell if it was the hash or the tofu scramble. Half way through I asked for more water but it was getting to the point where I couldn’t finish it. My partner said his was salty too

meat

I mentioned the over seasoning when our plates were taken away with reassurances that it would be relayed to the kitchen. We heard nothing else. So for me, my Annie’s brunch ended on a low note. The positives were good coffee, extensive vegan and veggie options and huge portions (although that can also be a negative). But the down side was the salt content and how it affected the taste and enjoyment of my meal.

Would I go back; yes but I would certainly ask for the seasoning to be adjusted

Horse and plough, Bingham – Food review

Horse and plough, Bingham  – Food review

A vegan feast!

The Horse and Plough at Bingham is part of the Castle Rock Brewery chain and they are definitely upping their game when it comes to vegan options in their establishments

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The pubs manager, Dan Brown put on a whole vegan night on Tuesday, I heard about it via a FaceBook groups called the Vale of Belvoir Vegan community. So I went with my vegan friend and had an amazing night, as did the sixteen or so other dinners who came along

 

 

For all you omnivores out there, you are used to scanning a restaurant menu and taking your time to choose what you want from a wide array of options. It’s a whole different ball game when you are a vegetarian or vegan. There may be nothing on the menu other than chips or a salad. But on Tuesday evening I felt like a normal customer; decisions, decisions!

pea fritter

I eventually decided on the pea fritters with satay sauce, the classic roast and chocolate brownie for dessert. My friend chose a different main course; the sweet and sour aubergine. Even the drinks were vegan friendly with two draft beers and a numbers of vegan friendly wines to choose from, but as the nominated driver, it was soda water for me!

 

The pea fritter was really tasty and just the right size for a starter. The satay sauce was delicious and the accompanying salad had a great dressing.   I’d say that was a good start!

vegan roast dinner

vegan roast dinner

My classic roast dinner was tempeh (fermented soya beans) coated in a mint dressing, roast potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower cheese, a Yorkshire pud and lots of gravy. The cauliflower cheese was amazing, it had a pungent cheesy kick with lovely crunchy bits, but I think the Yorkshire Pud needed a bit more work as it were very flat (but tasty nonetheless)

sweet and sour aubergine

sweet and sour aubergine

The sweet and sour dish was a very generous portion of slow cooked aubergines, peppers and onion served with lots of white rice. My friend thought the balance of sweet and sour was just about right but maybe wholegrain rice would have been a nice touch.

WBW

 

 

My review of the Horse and Plough has also appeared in The West Bridgford Wire

 

 

 

Our dessert was heavenly and everything you would want from a brownie; only just warm, soft, chocolatey and gooey! Served with a fruit coulis and some very creamy ice-cream. Winner!

chocolate brownie

chocolate brownie

The other diners also enjoyed their starters which included gazpatcho, beetroot hummus and potato bombas .

Other mains on offer were courgette lasagne, curried courgette chimichanga and Thai pineapple fried rice, served in the pineapple case. Portions were a good size, although the lasagne looked small compared to the others

Lasagne

Lasagne

Chimichanga

Chimichanga

And to finish; Strawberry Oreo Shake, Ice Cream and Sorbets or Waffles

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There were empty plates all round and I think all diners left full and happy. The cost of the 3 course meal including live music by Matty Haynes was £25. It would certainly be less if you didn’t eat all 3 courses, but on this occasions it would have been rude not to!!

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?!

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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.

parlour

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.

parlour

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 – 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

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!

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