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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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 – 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.

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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

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 – Chaka Le India

Veg out restaurant review

Chakh Le India, Trent Bridge, Nottingham

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

chakh-le-indiaOn the way home I spotted that the old Chinese restaurant on Trent Bridge had reopened as an Indian restaurant; Chaka Le India. Cue a visit one Friday night!

 

 

 

We were welcomed by traditionally dressed staff who couldn’t do enough for us. A drinks order was quickly taken, menus presented and pleasantries passed. Good start

food-menu

potato-cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The menu was a mix of family favourites like onion bhaji and vegetable samosa. But I decided to be a bit more adventurous and ordered the Aloo Tikki Ragda, which is potato cakes served with masala chickpeas and a yoghurt dressing. The presentation was amazing and rivalled anything the meat and fish eaters had. In fact mine looked the best on the table. And the taste didn’t disappoint either; a sheer delight

 

My omnivore companions chose Fish Amritsari (fish pakoras) and Puri prawn (a puffed up deep fried bread topped with spicy prawns). They were equally impressed with their choices

 

sweetcorn-curryFor my main course I opted for Khumb makai; a sweetcorn and mushroom curry. The sauce was tomato based which makes it very nutritious without the calories and fat from a creamier sauce. It was also nice and spicy but still very flavoursome. And the portion size was perfect.

 

The non veggies had a king prawn biryani, which can be served with either a masala sauce or a yoghurt raita, the Karahi chicken and Malabar chicken, flavoured with coconut milk, chillies, curry leaves and mustard seeds. There were no complaints and all the plates were returned to the kitchen virtually wiped clean

veg outMy review is also online at Nottingham Post.  You will also be able to buy the paper on Wednesdayveg-out-le-indian

Jugs of cold tap water were regularly replaced and the service throughout was impeccable.

 

When I go again I will definitely have the potato cakes for my starter. And for my main course order a couple of ‘sides’ so I can try more. That way I can dispense with the carb heavy white rice. I think the kalojoni baingan (Aubergine cooked with onion seeds and tomatoes) and the Chana masala (chickpeas with tomatoes, ginger, onions and spices) have my name on them!

 

This has to be one of the best Indian restaurants I’ve been to all year

Veg out restaurant review – The Peacock, Nottingham

peacockVeg out restaurant review – The Peacock, Mansfield Road, Nottingham

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

Last month the Peacock hotel, on Mansfield Road temporarily closed its doors for a refurbishment. When it re-opened on 5th September it had become a vegan dining pub. Yes that’s right its whole food menu was vegan.

 

Well that obviously meant I had to pay it a visit! And it seems many others had the same thought, because there was hardly a seat to be had on a Friday evening a few weeks ago.

interior-peacockEventually we squeezed ourselves in to a table for two and told that there would be a 45 minute wait and that food orders stopped at 8pm. Not a good start but maybe it shows how popular vegan food has become and how much this type of establishment is needed in Nottingham.

 

A quick trip to the bar to order drinks whilst perusing the menu, confirmed that (at the moment) it is only the food that is 100% vegan. So do be careful when ordering beers etc.

np-peacock

 

 

My review is online at Nottm Post review

 

 

 

np-paperIt is also in today’s (28/9) Nottingham Post

Now on to the menu, unless you paid attention before entering the pub you could be fooled into thinking their menu is like any other with classics such as fish, chips & mushy peas, chicken stuffing & mayo sandwich, lasagna with chips & garlic bread or an all day breakfast with bacon, sausage, egg etc

It does however clearly state on the front that it is a ‘vegan kitchen’, but it lacks any description of the ingredients

 

A quick chat with the staff answered some of the questions, but there is probably still a training need to get them all fully up to speed.

 

So a 45 minutes later two plates arrived with fish & chips and the asparagus, pea and onion pie with mustard mash

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I was immensely pleased with my choice of fish and chips, which turned out to be tofu wrapped in seaweed, then battered and fried. Served with crispy homemade (skin on) hand cut chips and a generous portion of mushy peas and tartar sauce. As a vegetarian it is so rare to be able to have battered food because it is often cooked along side fish and meat products. So I really enjoyed the crunch and texture of the batter, which complimented the soft and salty filling. But because of the relatively high calorific value it is not something I would eat weekly.

peacock-pie

My other half was a little disappointed with his meal. The mashed potatoes were very dry and heavy with mustard. The dish was served with roasted veg and a salad. And in his opinion the salad should have been dropped and exchanged for some vegan gravy, which may have gone someway to moisten the claggy potatoes.

 

On the whole I was very impressed with the food and the choices on offer. It may bother some vegans and vegetarians that words like fish, battered sausage and chicken are used. But personally I’m ok with that.

 

I hope that the Peacock remains as busy, vibrant and welcoming as it was on the evening we visited. And I will most certainly be back to try their ‘all day breakfast‘

Have you been to the Peacock, what did you think?

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

 

 

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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

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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.

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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.