Friday, 7 June 2013

Bishop's Stortford -The Prickly Pear

Last night we decided to go out for a late Birthday meal. We've been talking about trying the Prickly Pear, an American and Mexican restaurant for a while, so this seemed like a good opportunity.

We booked a table online which all went smoothly.

On arrival we perused the menu, and spotted a tasty sounding starter - fried potato skins with avocado, tomatoes, and cheese, with a side of sour cream. We explained that we did not eat dairy products, so they kindly offered to add extra salsa instead of the cheese and cream.

There was plenty to share and it was very tasty.

For mains we plumped for the vegetable fajitas, again without cheese or cream, and they offered to give us extra guacomole and salsa, which was appreciated.

The fajitas were tasty, but some more adventurous vegetables and a bit of chilli and spice would have been nice. We were also disappointed that there were no refried beans on offer as a side dish.
But the servings wer generous, with plenty of tortilla wraps provided.

We passed on the dessert menu and plumped for cocktails instead :-)

The restaurant has a nice ambience, the staff are friendly and helpful, and it's a bit more upmarket looking that many other Mexican restaurants.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Sunny Brighton

Well, a Dirty DC concert at Concorde 2 in Brighton made for a good excuse to spend the bank holiday in Brighton.

Brighton is always a hot spot for vegan food, so we visited some old favourites and found a couple of new places.

First stop was The Prince George Pub for a late lunch before the concert. This is an old favourite, a vegetarian pub that never fails to impress.
Prince George
We went for the Falafel Bites for two. This was a very tasty platter of falafel, olives, pitta bredd topped with pesto and chilli, fruit, salad, and flavoured seeds. Very tasty!
Please note that the website seems to be a bit out of date as it was still showing the winter menu today.

On Sunday we headed out to Wai Kika Moo Kau for a full vegan breakfast. No trip to Brighton is complete without this.
With vegan sausages, potato rosti with black pepper, mushrooms, pesto topped tomatoes, tofu, beans, and toast, this certainly set us up for the day!

Wai Kika Moo Kau

We skipped lunch due to lack of space in our stomachs, and decided to sample a different restaurant in the evening. As fans of nexican food, we were impressed to find that the menu at La Choza stated that they catered for vegans and coeliacs! The menu was well labelled so we decided to give it a try.

La Choza

Although it was very busy when we turned up, they took our number and said that they would give us a ring in about half an hour when a table became available. We visited the Basketmakers Arms for a quick beverage, and got the call just under half an hour later.

The food was very very tasty, and the staff very friendly and efficient. We mentioned on ordering that we were vegan, just to avoid any slip ups, and our waitress smiled and wrote "Vegan" with a smiley face on her pad!

We both plumped for soft corn tacos, stuffed with roasted spicy squash, sweet potato and guacomole, with a hot salsa and a side order of refried beans. Delicious!
We'll certainly return there on our next visit.

Today we decided to try V Bites for breakfast. Previously situated in Hove, they have now moved into central Brighton into the old premises of Aloka (sadly missed).

V Bites

Although much of their menu is centred around "fake meat", which is not to our taste, they had afew tasty looking items on the menu.

We decided to try the tarragon and black pepper mushrooms with humous and spinach on toast.  It was full of flavour, although the portions were a bit on the small side.
We were also dissapointed that the juice was bottled, rather than the fresh juice we are used to at Wai Kika Moo Kau.

Good to have another vegan rstaurant in Brighton though.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Monsal Head Hotel

I've been a little remiss this year, and not kept this blog as up to date as I should.

This weekend's fine dining really does need a mention though!

We travelled up to Monsal Head, near Bakewell in the Peak District, for a long weekend.

We had rung ahead and asked the Monsal Head Hotel if they could cater for vegans. No problem, we were told.

Well, they really did cater well for us!

At breakfast, out came the soya milk and vitalite vegan margarine. A cooked breakfast was on offer, complete with vegan sausages, but we both plumped for the fresh fruit platter, followed by what tasted like home baked seedy bread toasted. The fresh fruit varied each morning, and was always tasty and fresh.

In the evening, we were presented with our own 100% vegan menu, with a choice of around 5 options for each of the 3 courses. Everything that we selected was well cooked, well thought out, and very tasty.
From interesting salads (no cucumber, tomato, and limp leaves in sight, but plenty of wild mushrooms, fennel, fenugreek etc...), to tasty and spicy pasta dishes (forget the usual pasta in tomato sauce, how about pasta in a butternut squash sauce with plenty of veggies and spice).
And the puddings, well, forget the usual offerings of fruit and sorbet, these were "proper" puddings, and included plum pudding and soya custard, and crumble with soya cream.

We needed our long walks over the hills to walk off the food that we consumed!!!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Vegan down under!

Well, over Christmas we visited Adelaide over in South Australia and got chance to sample some vegan cuisine down under!
Our first meal out was an evening visit to The Boatdeck Cafe in Mawson lakes. This is an omnivorous restaurant, but we were able to find a few vegan or veganisable options!
We had a very tasty vegetarian Pizza without cheese. We also visited one lunchtime and enjoyed a falafel and humous wrap. Very tasty.

Our next visit was to the Port Noarlunga hotel in Port Noarlunga.

Here we discovered a fantastic salad and veg bar. For Aus$8.95 you can fill your plate from an amazing array of salads and vegetables. We sampled the chickpea salad, mixed bean salad, marinated  mushrooms, stuffed vine leaves, and various other salads. Definitely worth a visit!

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know by now that we can’t visit a new city without trying a local Mexican restaurant! Well this visit was no exception. A quick google search led us to Zapatas in North Adelaide.

The service was very disappointing (our starter never turned up!), but the main course was very tasty. We had vegetarian fajitas, which were delicious.  It wasn’t really a busy night, but no one waiter/waitress seemed to be assigned to our table, which seemed to lead to confusion.  We saw another table’s starter go all around the restaurant before finding the correct table! It’s a shame to see poor organisation mar an otherwise good dining experience.

Having tried Italian and Mexican food, our next visit was to an Indian restaurant in North Adelaide, Beyond India.

Although omnivorous, there is an excellent vegetarian selection, with many dishes marked as vegan. (Gluten free dishes are also marked). The food was so good that we visited twice.
We sampled the following dishes;
Mixed Vegetable Pakora Flavour Profile: Ajwain and Coriander  (nb although the meal was marked vegan one of the sauces served on the side of this dish wasn’t vegan)
Aloo Tikki Flavour Profile: Ginger and Garam Masala (Again, watch the sauces served with this)

Aloo Chana Massala Flavour Profile: Cardamom and Ginger
Mushroom Baigan  masala Flavour Profile: Lemon and Tomato
Masoor Daal
And a dish that I can’t quite remember the name of, but it was something Manchinian and was delicious!!!!!

The food was very tasty and the service excellent. The air conditioning was very welcome on our second visit when the evening temperature was still in the late 30s!

So all in all, some very good dining experiences down under!!!!!