Veg out, restaurant review – The Frustrated chef, Beeston

Veg out, restaurant review – The frustrated chef, Beeston

outside

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 – 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 review of The Robe Room

Veg out review of The Robe Room at National Justice Museum, High Pavement, Nottingham

 

Last week I noticed a banner attached to the steps of the National Justice Museum (Galleries of Justice as was), it beckoned me inside to try the new café run by Beccy’s Global Kitchen. Some of you may know the name if you hang out around Nottingham because for a number of years Beccy Spurr has run ‘pop up’ cafes all round the City.

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Jill Carter of Pulp Friction (A Project that provides opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities to develop work-readiness, social and independence skills) and Beccy have forged a formidable partnership to run the café. Serving up great tasting veggie and vegan food, with the help of a team of young adults.

 

 

See the whole review online Nottingham Post

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Well, that only meant want thing…”lunchtime’. I was directed to the back of the entrance hall and in to the café. In front of me was a chiller cabinet full of platters of sandwiches; so as well as serving the public the café also runs an outside catering service too.

 

 

 

The menu looked varied and interesting with a good mix of veggie and vegan options. It changes regularly as its dictated by the food that arrives via the ‘fair share East Midlands’, a scheme that enables cafes to use surplus supermarket food.

menu robe room

After much deliberation I opted for the ‘A.L.T’; a vegan take on the classic BLT with Aubergine taking centre stage. I also spied a rather swanky coffee machine serving the very lovely Stewarts coffee, so a soya cappuccino was quickly ordered.

robe coffee

 

Also on the menu were various sandwiches, soup, ‘not’ hot dogs and other light bites; all very reasonably priced. As well as a selection of cakes, muffins and sweet treats

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My cappuccino was the first to arrive and served as a rather tasty starter! It certainly whetted my appetite for the main event and that didn’t disappoint either. If you are the person who says they don’t like aubergine, maybe it because it hasn’t been cooked properly. It has to be roasted until the point of collapse and then smothered in flavour. This was exactly what the cafe had done to the A.L.T. It was soft and unctuous and bursting with smoky Asian flavours, that worked will with the vegan mayo and salad. I could have eaten it twice over

aubergine robe room

The café has only been open a few weeks so it needs a few more finishing touches, like pictures and paintings and I believe some comfy sofas are being delivered soon. But there is plenty of room to meet a few friends, enjoy some healthy veggie or vegan food and still have a considerable amount of change left over.

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It has a lovely atmosphere and is set in a wonderful building, it is free to enter and is open everyday between 10am and 4.00pm during School Holidays and 10.00am and 4.00pm Wednesday to Sunday at all other times.

 

 

If you like to eat in a place with a conscience then check out the Robe room

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)

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!

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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: the Kiosk, Nottingham

Veg out restaurant review: The Kiosk, Nottingham

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

Many of you may recognise the name of the restaurant I recently visited but you may not recognise the venue!

 

inside-shotThe Kiosk in Sherwood was the recipient of my very first Veg Out review for the Nottingham Post back in July 2014. They have since opened up a second café in Cobden Chambers off Pelham Street, Nottingham.

My review is also available via Nottingham Post online, and will be in the hardcopy paper tomorrow.kiosk-review

Beth, the owner left the Sherwood Kiosk in the capable hands of her brother and opened her latest café in early November. She offers the same type of Middle Eastern cuisine but with her touch and flair for colour and great flavour combinations.

So it was with much excitement that I paid them a visit

kiosk-menuMy friend had travelled down from Yorkshire and I was excited to show her what Nottingham could offer. We started with some tap water that was all laid out on the tables with some glasses. After perusing the menu and looking at the specials we were still no nearer making a decision! Then Beth came over to help us out.   She carefully went through the options, describing each dish perfectly and with such care. Our minds were made up; I opted for 3 freshly made salads with a piece of Turkish bread and my friend ordered the flatbread with oil, spices and feta with 2 of the salads.

 

flatbreadSalad #1 was roast heritage carrots on a bed of labneh (hung yoghurt to you and me) topped with singed spring onions and hazelnut dukha. Salad #2 was kushari rice with brown lentils, fried onions, figs and cinnamon. And salad #3 was date Fatush green salad with dates, feta ,crisp breads and date syrup dressing. They were amazing, every mouthful was a delight and different flavours tickled my taste buds. I just wish all vegan and vegetarian food looked and tasted this good

There was no doubt I’d seriously upped my veg and fibre content that lunchtime!

 

hazelnut-dessert

 

We were having such a relaxed time we decided to stay a bit longer and share a dessert, a gluten free hazelnut extravaganza, and a pot of fresh mint tea to accompany it

 

My friend was also impressed with the food; her flatbread was heavenly. But she was equally impressed with the venue. Cobden Chambers seems to be the place to be! The Kiosk is housed in a building (part of the THiNK space) that can be used for meetings, events or just casual get together’s like the one I was enjoying.

 

cakes

 

If you want to try some different flavour combinations, nice healthy portions, and interesting veggie and vegan food the Kiosk at Cobden chambers is the place to go