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!

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

 

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)

green beans

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

Veg out – the Marigold, West Bridgford

Veg out – the Marigold, west Bridgford

 

marigoldI’m always keen to try new restaurants, so when I walked past the recently opened Marigold Indian restaurant on Gordon Road, West Bridgford and noticed it offered local residents a discount; well that was all the encouragement I needed

That weekend I booked a table for 6 and was ready to try some interesting flavours. The restaurant itself is spacious with enough room between the tables, the décor is subtle and the bar was well stocked, so the first job was to order 6 draft Cobra’s whilst we Marigold studied the menu. This is always a much quicker task when like me you’re vegetarian or vegan, as the choices are more limited. But to be fair I was pleasantly surprised with the options. The staff (who were incredibly hospitable and helpful) were also able to offer advice and suggestions.

 

Whenever I go to an Indian restaurant I’m always seduced by the mouth watering array of starters and therefore fill up and have very little room left for the main course. So with that in mind we all opted for one popadom each and all the little chutneys. For my main course I decide to try ‘Desi Handi’ a medium spiced vegetable dish – the description was giving nothing away.

My full review of the restaurant is in the Nottingham Post both online and hard copy (Wednesday 21st)

The poppadum’s were as expected; dry, crisp with lots of spicy and cooling dips. Then my curry arrived and it ticked all the boxes; the portion size was perfect (not too big and overwhelming), the sauce wasn’t oily, the vegetables were chunky and it was bursting with flavour and spice. I always share a plain steamed rice (all the fancier ones have extra calories!) and a roti (its thinner and smaller than a naan with no butter/ghee/oil daubed on the top)

Goodness it was good! My dinner companions also enjoyed their meals; the biryani dish was enormous and could easily feed to moderately hungry adults, the garlic chilli chicken also received a lot of praise as did the Tava karahi; a spicy dish served on a cast iron plate

The marigold is not the cheapest restaurant of its type in West Bridgford or even Nottingham but it has a very welcoming price difference between meat and veggie options. My vegan curry was £9.95 the meat versions were £12.95, king prawn dishes £18.90 with Rice on top. But thankfully we all received the local residents £25% discount. But fear not if you are not from West Bridgford – pick up their ‘Diners’ members card and you will receive 20% off your food bill. Very nice indeed

Marigold

 

So with all of that in mind the Marigold has become my number one Indian restaurant in West Bridgford if not Nottingham!! Give it a try and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed

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

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