Veg out – Lagan Indian Tapas, Beeston

Veg out – Lagan Indian Tapas, Beeston

 

I’d heard via Facebook that a new Indian restaurant had opened in Beeston and the word on the street was they had a good selection of vegan options. That was my cue to pay a visit.  A group of us booked a table for Saturday night and were very pleasantly greeted by the staff and immediately shown to our table.  The place was quite full and it had a really buzzing atmosphere.

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In true Indian restaurant style the drinks menu was given first and a suggestion that we have poppodoms whilst we peruse the extensive menu.  I was driving so just tap water for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the poppodoms and the staff helpfully pointed out the vegan dips

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The tapas element to the restaurants name had some family favourites like onion bhajis and samosas and some interesting twists like prawn lollipops and chicken drumsticks.  You could order three veggie ones to share for £12.95 or meat for £14.95. They also had a larger than average selection of salads that can either be for a starter or main.

lagan menu

As is common in many restaurants there wasn’t a separate vegan menu, but again the diligent staff made a note for me of all the options I could have they were either naturally vegan or could be adapted.  This meant I could have most of the vegetarian dishes as well as some specials.  I was spoilt for choice and eventually opted to skip the starters or “tapas” and go straight for a veggie Thali, which for those that don’t know is a small selection of different curries with rice and a naan.  The staff were again very helpful and said they would make sure all the dishes were appropriate for me.

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When my Thali arrived it looked really appetising our server explained that my naan had been exchanged for a roti as it was dairy free and instead of a small desert, which contained honey I had an additional vegan curry dish. That’s a winner in my book.

My review is also online at the Nottingham Post and will be in the paper later this week

https://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/beestons-lagan-indian-tapas-restaurant-1822982

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Without exception the curries were really tasty, not greasy and had lots of bite and texture.  I really enjoyed eating small bowls of different flavours and strengths of heat and spice, and although it was my first time trying a Thali it certainly won’t be my last.  A couple of my friends had the meat Thali and they also enjoyed the tastes and textures of their dishes.

 

The restaurant itself is a mix of traditional and modern, my only criticism is that the lighting was a bit on the harsh side, especially the coloured lighting under the bar; it was quite distracting.  But none of us could fault the service or the food.  My Thali was £14.95, which I thought was good value. I would definitely like to return and maybe have some vegan tapas and a salad; just to be different!

Veg out – the Passionate chef, Lady Bay

Veg out – the Passionate chef, Lady Bay

I am not a great consumer of takeaways, as I like to know what’s in the food I’m eating and also be in control of the portion size.  But the name of a Chinese takeaway in Lady Bay; the passionate Chef had me intrigued – what or who was passionate about the takeaway?

Passionate chef

So early one weekday evening my friend and I took a walk to the takeaway. It’s a bright and airy place with books to read, poems to look at and a menu to peruse.

passionate chefThere were plenty of vegan or vegan adaptable dishes on the menu and we really struggled to make a choice.  The owner Snowy Wong came over and asked if she could help, we explained our predicament that we weren’t use to so many vegan choices especially in a Chinese restaurant that is often known for its fish and oyster sauces.

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Snowy couldn’t have been more helpful we even got to see in the kitchen where she showed us the separate fryers and prep areas for vegan and gluten free foods.

passionate chef menu

We took her advice and ordered the large homemade spring rolls  (the small ones contain egg), a potato curry (made to her mums family recipe) and a starry with mock duck and crispy tofu. Accompanied by some simple steamed rice. Snowy also mentioned her vegan bean dessert, which sounded intriguing

I always wonder why takeaway’s don’t offer the more nutritious wholegrain rice, as an option.  It has more fibre and is therefore more filling than the white stuff.  I must ask the next time I visit the Passionate chef

 

snowy in kitchen

After a short wait the food was ready and we walked back with the smell of tasty food in our nostrils.  The first thing I have to say is the portions are huge, when you go to the passionate chef go with your appetite.  Secondly, all the food is cooked to order so it is super fresh and al dente and no msg is used in Snowy’s dishes (unless it is requested).

spring roll

The very well stuffed spring roll was a delight very fresh and crunchy with a really crispy coating.  The starter was a winner now on to mains.  The curry was so tasty (not too spicy) and had a really comforting creamy texture.  It was full of veg and very flavoursome, I could eat that all day long.

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Initially we were a bit put off by the stirfry because the mock duck looked very un-vegan, but it added an interesting texture and taste.  The crispy tofu was delicious and plentiful and all the crunchy vegetables were perfectly cooked.

all the food

food on a plate

The bean dessert was like nothing I’d ever tasted before it was sweet and sticky and actually rather tasty.  We had plenty of leftovers for lunch the following day and all that for under £15

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After meeting Snowy I absolutely know that the name of her takeaway comes from her passion to provide well cooked fresh and tasty food.  She single handily cooks all the dishes and puts her heart and soul in to it.  I can now say I am a convert to Chinese takeaways, well Snowy’s at least

Nottingham postNP

 

My review can also be read online and hard copy in the Nottingham Post  ihttps://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/west-bridgford-takeaways-chinese-best-1715938

 

Veg out–The Avenues café Sneinton Market

Veg out – The Avenues café

 

A few weeks ago Nottingham Posts Food Sleuth thought he might have found the ‘best breakfast’ in Nottingham.  Well I think I’ve found another contender, the Avenues café,  Sneinton Market

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I’d heard much about this café from a vegan Facebook group who were regularly singing the Avenues praises, as a place that offered a no-frills vegan breakfast for a very reasonable price

The Avenues cafe

outside

So one Sunday morning I went with my other half to see for myself. The outside is ordinary and understated and the inside continues with that theme.  But don’t let that fool you in to thinking the food will be the same.

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I looked at the menu but only one dish was on my mind; the ‘vegan breakfast’- 3 hashbrowns, 3 vegan sausages, beans, tinned tomatoes, mushrooms, a bubble and squeak pattie, fried bread and wholemeal toast with vegan spread.  Plus a choice of coffee, tea, or juice.  All for an amazing price of  £4.50.  Only a couple of the ingredients are handmade but I suppose that’s how they manage to keep the price so reasonable

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 12.50.58My review also appears online at https://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/best-vegan-breakfast-nottingham-costs-1499844 

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and via twitter

 

 

 

 

 

My other half ordered the standard meat breakfast, containing all the usual suspects for £4. What I also noticed on the menu was a note saying that the vegan food was all kept and cooked separately, which for someone who choses not to eat meat or any by-product is really good to know.

vegan breakfast

Even though I knew what to expect when my breakfast arrived I couldn’t believe the size of it.  It was all piping hot, well cooked and appetising.  But most importantly it was tasty. The coffee was also good, I had the standard filter and my other half had an Americano, served with a little Biscoff biscuit, which also happens to be vegan.  We didn’t feel rushed so took our time read some of the free papers listening to the chitter chatter of other diners and watched a steady stream of customers come and go.  Everyone thanked the staff for their food and commented on the great prices.

 

If I’d had room I would have ordered another coffee and a slice of vegan cake and although my purse would have coped my waistline wouldn’t.  This café is definitely a place that serves a hearty breakfast at an incredible price and the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ could have been written for it.  I challenge the food sleuth to pay a visit and maybe they will reconsider which venue offers the best breakfast.

 

Ps I was so full that the next time I had something to eat was that evening and I could only manage a salad

Veg out – the Botanist, West Bridgford

Veg out – the Botanist, West Bridgford

The Botanist on Bridgford Road opened last autumn on the site of the former ‘Fire and Ice’.  Its theme is plant based cocktails using herbs and botanicals.

But on the occasion I visited with my friend we were only interested in its new vegan menu. So with much anticipation our server brought it to us, and then it was decision time

botanist vegan We opted to share the truffle mushroom starter, I ordered the beetroot and fig tart and my companion ordered the Malaysian curry for our main course. Dessert was yet to be decided!

I also love the fact that their website showcases its vegan menu

botanist

While we waited for the first course it gave us time to take in our surroundings; lots of exposed brick, a variety of tables for couples to large groups and good music that wasn’t too loud.  They also have live music on certain nights.

And then the starter arrived and it looked so appetising.

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It had some lovely peppery rocket too and a generous portion of mushrooms.  The taste didn’t disappoint either it had a deep intense mushroom flavour, and it was certainly big enough for two (£5.25).  I would definitely order it again

Nottm Post

 

You can also view my review online at Nottingham Post

 

 

 

 

Our main courses were also a feast for the eyes.  The Malaysian vegetable curry (£9.95) had such a vibrant colour and chunky vegetables that were definitely al dente

veg out the botanist

I had a sneaky taste of my friends dish and it was very well flavoured with a nice amount of heat. The addition of peas to the rice provided a pop of colour and some much needed protein.  To make the meal more balanced the addition of cashew nuts, edamame beans or tofu would have added protein

veg out the botanist My beetroot tart (£8.95) was equally as attractive and just as tasty.

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The accompanying generous salad was light and crunchy with crisp apples and walnuts. A flavour that goes really well with beetroot is horseradish, so maybe an adaptation for this dish would be to serve a horseradish dressing.

botanist vegan

 

botanist vegan

 

My empty board says it all!!

On that note what’s your thoughts about boards, especially as a vegan if the board had previously had a steak on it?!

 

We decided it would be rude not to have a pudding, we chose to share the banana, peanut butter and chocolate ice-cream (£5.50).  It made a pleasant change from the ubiquitous fresh fruit salad or sorbet

The taste was amazing but the portion for the price was a bit meagre.  A good addition would have been some roasted or griddled bananas

Overall we were really impressed with the separate vegan menu, the service was very efficient and friendly and the surroundings were very comfortable.

Definitely a place that vegans and non vegans can enjoy

 

 

 

 

Veg out review – Chocks Away, Nottingham City airport

Veg out review – Chocks Away, Nottingham City airport

 

The saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ couldn’t be more apt for this local café. It is on the site of Nottingham City Airport at Tollerton and originally it only catered for the staff and crew.

chocks away

From the outside it looks like you’re entering the control tower, but continue along the passage way and you’ll enter a very cosy and welcoming café. Alison the chef and manager is a vegan and has been the driving force behind the cafes increased and impressive range of vegan food. The kitchen is tiny but somehow Alison and her staff produce a raft of both vegan and non-vegan food. But she is meticulous about food separation so us vegans can eat her food in the full knowledge that there is no cross contamination

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A word of caution though, the news about this friendly place is spreading so at times you may have to wait for a table and you could be surrounded by little diners who have their own play corner.

 

 

On my first visit to Chocks Away I ordered a cappuccino and the spicy veggie burger. I was offered soya, coconut or almond milk in my coffee, I plumped for almond. The coffee was hot and delicious so I was off to a good start.

chocks away

My burger arrived about 10 minutes later and was very tasty. It came with a generous salad, and some spicy topping on top of the burger. From a nutrition point of view I would have preferred a wholemeal bun, but the staff told me next time to order it on wholemeal bread. Sorted! I was too full to take advantage of the cakes, but I made a promise to revisit.

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My review is also in the Nottingham Post online http://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/hidden-gem-outskirts-nottingham-caters-806362

My second visit was for Sunday brunch, which it turns out is a very, very popular occasion at Chocks Away as we had to wait 20 minutes for a table. But it gave me plenty of time to peruse the menu and decide that I wanted the tomahawk vegan breakfast, consisting of vegan sausages, beans, tofu scramble, mushrooms, tinned tomatoes and wholemeal toast (with vegan spread). My other half had the meat version with extra hash brown, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

chocks away

It is fair to say that it was a no fills breakfast; the presentation is simple and unfussy but that didn’t detract from the fact that it was very tasty, filling and also reasonably priced at £4.95. We decided to take home a couple of vegan sweet treats for the afternoon energy slump; a salty peanut butter shortbread and a fudgy chocolate cupcake. Both were delicious and very moreish

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If you want a good selection of reasonably priced home cooked vegan food this is the place for you. There’s also the added bonus of being able to watch small planes and helicopters do their thing

Veg out – Review of Wagamama, Nottingham

 

Veg out – Review of Wagamama, Nottingham  

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

 

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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!

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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

 

Veg out, restaurant review – The Frustrated chef, Beeston

Veg out, restaurant review – The frustrated chef, Beeston

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The name alone is enough to make you want to visit! So I took a trip out to the Frustrated Chef in Beeston one evening with a few friends.

21209079_1980680522201062_1511859067_nMy review is also in the Nottingham Post (online and in the paper)

http://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/veggie-food-review-frustrated-chef-392819

 

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The restaurant is cosy, rustic and intimate; so far so good. I’d rung ahead to check that they had some options for a vegetarian/vegan and they reassured me they could adapt recipes. One of the group was also dairy and egg free so as a table I think we were quite a challenge.

And in true trooper style they rose to it by presenting us with a separate menu that could accommodate our dietary requirements. Although we did need to clarify a couple of menu options.

table of tapas

As it’s a tapas style restaurant it was suggested that we order two or three small dishes each or more if we were sharing. From our ‘special’ menu we ordered vegan versions of hummus with fried broad beans and crostini (£5) – for some reason we were missing the broad beans, Asian slaw (£6.75) and fine beans with baby corn and a lime and mint dressing (£6.25), spicy Mexican potatoes (£4.50) and mange tout with a chilli and sesame seed dressing (£5.50)

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The others ordered bread with olive oil and balsamic (£3), tandoori monkfish (£9.25), grilled beef sirloin (£10.75), meatballs (£7.25) and almond crusted sea bass (£9.25)

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As with all tapas places the food comes out whenever its ready, which meant some of us had to sit there watching our friends eat. But that’s how it goes!

 

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On the whole I was really pleased with the food the Frustrated Chef offered me. The slaw in particular was incredibly tasty and I would order it again. However it could easily be for two so I would prefer a smaller portion and a smaller price. The hummus was creamy and garlicky and the Mexican potatoes were good and crispy. In general the price of the vegetarian/vegan food was comparatively expensive compared to say the meatballs

 

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Tapas style eating is not cheap, you get over excited by the choice and over order and then the bill comes! I especially felt the small portion of mange tout at £5.50 represented poor value. The fish eaters too were surprised that they only had 3 cubes of marinated monkfish for nearly a tenner!

 

mange tout

That said the ambiance is great, the choice even for vegans is good, the tastes are varied and the pace relaxed.

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.

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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

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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