Alchemilla, Derby Road

Alchemilla, Derby Road

A veggie paradise!

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

outside

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

alchemilla tomato

Tomato dish

 

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

cauliflower

roasted cauliflower

 

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

Hispy cabbage

Hispy cabbage

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

raspberry dessert

raspberry dessert

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

 

chocolate and banana

chocolate and banana

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

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

wine

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

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

wall

The Parlour

Step in to the Parlour for breakfast

 

14344975_1246108248742642_812204112531224888_nA number of months ago the Parlour, on Bridgford Road, changed hands and has undergone a mini transformation. Thankfully it still retains its quirky mis-matched furniture, happy hour cocktails and hopefully its pleasing food menu

 

As a vegetarian I was really excited when the Parlour (under its previous ownership) dedicated more of its menu to vegan and vegetarian options, but sadly the choice has been slowly eroded. So it was with some trepidation that I arrived one weekday morning. Happily the menu was littered with veggie options, but only a few vegan ones, which was disappointing. The veggie choice ranged from the full works veggie breakfast (with all the usual suspects), granola, an egg banjo pretzel (no I don’t know either!), scrambled egg on toast, eggs Florentine and Colombian eggs. All egg heavy and nothing specifically vegan. Maybe they could serve the granola with soya milk and without the honey, or toast and jam. Not thrilling is it?!

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Well I had a long day ahead of me so I went for the full veggie breakfast and a soya cappuccino. Both arrived at the same time (which I like) and both were piping hot. Two ticks so far! The toast was a multigrain and nice and thick; another tick. The tomato was well cooked and nice and soft; tick. Anyone who knows me knows I hate undercooked grilled tomatoes! The veggie sausage (homemade possibly) was slightly burnt and quite bland; no tick! That was a really shame because the Parlour was on course for quite a high breakfast score. But the soya cappuccino was as ever a winner, tick.

parlour

My companion who’s a meat eater ordered the ‘Hangover hash’, Chorizo, pepperonata, hash browns, fried egg and spicy sauce; all served in a piping hot skillet. Although he said it was very tasty he would have either preferred a larger portion or some of my lovely chunky toast.

parlour

I asked the team about their changes to the menu and the reduction of vegan dishes in particular. Apparently they couldn’t perfect the vegan sausage so some options were dropped off the menu. Linda McCartney do a great range of vegan sausages and the Co-op is only next door; just saying!parlour 18449927_10154617819456903_938501313_n

On the whole we enjoyed our breakfast (although £7 for the veggie option is at the top end) and I will probably return to the Parlour to try the egg banjo pretzel.

Veg out – 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!