Vintage Inns – March 2019

Vintage Inns run a network of country pubs across the nation and launched a vegan menu last year. I have heard people raving about it so when my friend Samarra and I decided to go to dinner this week we The Mint in Banstead. Samarra is Muslim so a vegan menu also extends the options she is able to choose from.

The menu online looked quite extensive and I had pre-chosen the pasty to start and the pasta for main but unfortunately neither of these were on the menu when we arrived to the pub.

Instead I went for the soup of the day which was tomato and basil which was lovely. It came with bread and a wedge of something that looks suspiciously looked like butter so I left that to the side.

For my main I had the burger which unfortunately doesn’t come with chips as they use the same fryers for non-vegan items. The burger came in a ciabatta roll which did not appear for for purpose as the burger poked out on all sides! The patty was really nice though. The salad that came with it just seemed like extra burger toppings and not the roasted vegetable and grain salad on the menu so when the waitress asked if everything was ok with my meal I raised this and she got the kitchen to make up the correct side.

I didn’t want a dessert but decided to go for a hot drink while Samarra was tucking into her crumble but again, unfortunately, they do not have any plant milk options so I went for a peppermint tea.

It seems like Vintage Inns have gone to the effort to produce a vegan menu but the execution just isn’t there. I don’t know if this just The Mint of extends to their pubs. I do think it is really poor to offer a vegan menu but not having a separate vegan fryer or offer plant milk. I may try a different Vintage Inn in the future but I won’t be rushing to.

Have you eaten at Vintage Inns as a vegan? Did you have a better experience than me? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Vintage Inns – March 2019

My Old Dutch – March 2019

My Husband and I walk past a branch of My Old Dutch pancake house every week on the way to and from the language school we attend near Holborn. I saw a post on the best places to get vegan pancakes (sorry, I can’t remember who from!) and found out that My Old Dutch had vegan options so we decided to go before our class this week.

You can veganise the standard savoury pancakes on the menu with a vegan pancake and vegan cheese.

There is also a completely vegan pancake which oddly we couldn’t see on the menu so we pulled it up from the website to order. As this seems to be the only pancake advertised as vegan I assume it doesn’t have its own vegan menu so it was odd it wasn’t on the main menu.

My Husband chose this one along with with a vegan vanilla shake.

My Husband enjoyed his pancake although he did find it a bit stodgy and could have done with a drizzle of sauce or something. He also really liked his milkshake and it’s great to see an omni place offering vegan milkshakes.

I ordered a vegan version of the asparagus. Described as below –

When it first arrived it looked like this –

I was suspicious the cheese was dairy due to the texture and smell so I called over a staff. Instead of just apologising and correcting me order they argued that I had only ordered a vegan base. As my Husband had ordered vegan pancake and milkshake think it as pretty obvious we were a vegan couple. They also confirmed the spinach is creamed as well although this isn’t mentioned on the menu. If you were vegan and/or lactose intolerant surely you would need the whole dish to cater to those needs? The only situation I can envision that you would not is if you were allergic to eggs. Some staff training required I think

They took this dish away and remade it with vegan cheese and fresh spinach so a little while later (by which time my Husband had almost finished his) I had a replacement come out.

I found it tasty and filling but was a little undone for my liking (and I tend to like things edging on underdone).

Although this was central London I do feel like these were expensive for what they were and would expect mine to be around £8 and maybe £10 for my Husband’s.

We didn’t have dessert but I don’t think I’ll be rushing back to try them which is a shame. If you do go make sure you are very clear about your dietary requirements.

Have you been to My Old Dutch? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

My Old Dutch – March 2019

Busaba – March 2019

I haven’t been to be to Busaba in a good long while and having seen they have added some dishes using Oumph! meat alternative (which my Husband loves) we thought we’d pay them a visit.

We visited the Westfield Stratford branch on Sunday afternoon, as it was between traditional meal times is wasn’t packed but service was still slow.

We were looking forward to the Weeping Tiger Jay but unfortunately they were all out.

Instead we chose the sriracha ho fun, aubergine curry with Chinese broccoli and Thai soyamari (using Oumph!) on the side.

My aubergine curry was a yellow curry base with chargrilled aubergine and other vegetables. I loved the smokey flavour of the aubergines and this dish wasn’t too spicy which I sometimes struggle with when eating Thai dishes.

I tried a bit of my Husband’s ho fun but this was way too spicy for me although he enjoyed it.

The soyamari was crispy and tasty but I didn’t think it really resembled calamari although my Husband said he thought it would if the pieces were sliced more thinly.

My side of broccoli came with mushrooms and garlic and was very tasty although I seemed to just had stalks and not any floretty bits of the broccoli.

Overall the food was really tasty but definitely on the pricey side. These dishes plus two soft drinks and 12.5% tip (automatically included) came to over £50 which is a bit much for quick dinner on the go.

So although we do want to head back to try the Weeping Tiger Jay we will ring ahead to make sure they have it in stock!

Have you been to Busaba? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Busaba – March 2019

Shrove Tuesday @ The Birds

As you probably realise from my blog posts I do try and get round to as many places with vegan options as possible but I can’t be everywhere (unfortunately!) so we have a guest post today from my Sister-in-law, Gemma who enjoyed Pancake Day at The Birds with a couple of friends.

So over to Gemma…

“A couple of friends from work and I decided we would go check out the options “The Birds” in Leytonstone had on offer. We had seen on Instagram they were doing a special pancake menu.

We shared the non spicy dirty fries, salt and pepper cauliflower bites and the chickenish burger.

The fries were fab but could have done with some more toppings.

The cauliflower bites were delicious and had a great sauce.

The burger was made from seiten and was quite dense but still super tasty with plenty maybe, bacon and perkins.

We ordered three of the pancakes on offer the orkay, nana and nuts and the stack all to share.

The stand out favourite was the stack which had plenty maple syrup and chicken style strips on top.

The others looked really great but only had toppings on the top. We thought toppings in between each layer with some ice cream would have made them less dry.

The oreo based pancakes should have come with coconut cream so when we enquired, we were told they had run out so we asked for more syrup and so we were brought a jug of maple syrup and some of the peanut butter sauce.

The birds menu is heavy with vegan options but they do a small selection of meat dishes. They also do a good brunch menu.

All of the drinks on the menu and specials board were clearly marked stating which were veggie or vegan friendly.”

Well doesn’t that sound fabulous?! I think I’ll have to get down there soon.

Have you been to The Birds? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Shrove Tuesday @ The Birds

Gallery Café – March 2019

I have been to Gallery Café in Bethnal Green many times and written about it on this blog.

If you haven’t seen those posts before, Gallery Cafe is a fully vegan community cafe which forms part of St Margaret’s House charity where all the profits go to the charity.

I arrived before my friend Charlie so I ordered an oat milk matcha latte. This was gorgeous and not too sweet.

They have a fairly changeable menu with a daily curry, a daily pasta and other specials. When we arrived an hour before closure they had sold out of the curry and the pasta so we both went for the burger.

This is a mushroom and black bean patty on a potato bun with red onion jam, aioli and vegan cheese. Delicious!

Charlie decided to get herself a cake after the burger and chose this blondie/brownie which she loved.

After our meal we headed to BGWMC to see Ashes to Ashes VI a tribute to David Bowie in aid of Cabaret vs Cancer. They raised over £3,000 on the night and you can still get in on the act, there is a David Bowie auction which closes this weekend so get in there quick! There is also another Ashes to Ashes event taking place in July which I strongly recommend.

Plumes x

Gallery Café – March 2019

Recent Mini Haul

I bought these “new items to me” a little while ago but I wanted to wait until I had used them all before I posted about them.

Firstly the snack food. I love these pea snacks, they are so tasty! Aldi do their own version where some of the flavours are vegan too.

I used to have the Rhythm 108 biscuits in coffee shops (I think Costa do them) but I was excited when I started seeing these bars. They do a salted almond (pictured here) as well as hazelnut praline and a coconut bar. They are “fun size” but such a delicious little treat. They’re also doing mini truffle eggs for Easter which are supposedly available in Sainsbury’s but I haven’t seen them yet.

When I was little a fish cake was my go-to at the chip shop so I’m always looking for a good alternative. I like the frozen Tesco ones but I was excited to see these fresh ones from M&S Plant Kitchen range. I also like the fact they contain mashed beans, potato etc rather than a more processed meat/fish alternative. I’ll definitely be getting these again. But maybe I’ll have just one on my plate!

Gardein have been a top seller in the North American plant based food market for a number of years and have finally landed on our shores in Sainsbury’s.

The meatballs were great and savoury but the fennel seeds had that liquorice tang which I’m not a fan of. I’ll stick to my Sainsbury’s own brand I think.

The fishless filets, another Gardein product tasted very nice but were an odd size, sort of between a nugget and a filet.

These products were perfectly fine but as they are imported from America they are on the pricier side. I think in days (or years) gone by we would have rejoiced with the addition of Gardein to our supermarket shelves but now there are so many good British brands at reasonable prices that there’s nothing special enough about Gardein for me to justify the cost.

The last product we have is the smoked salmon slices from Sophie’s Kitchen. When I went into Sainsbury’s to buy some of these foods there was a sample stall for the shrimp from Sophie’s Kitchen. It was served in a Thai coconut curry and I couldn’t really taste much from the prawn/shrimp.

These slices are frozen and you have to defrost the whole pack when you want to use them which was a bit annoying. I first had these “as is” with potato and veg. They smell fishier than they taste although the flavour is not unpleasant. Smoked salmon has an odd texture anyway and this doesn’t match it perfectly but I think it is better served in something like a bagel than on its on.

To use up the salmon slices I used them in an omlette made with Organ easy egg and mushrooms and I think they worked much better this way. Again it’s not a product I’m going to rush out and buy again but it’s a nice option to have when you’re in the mood for it. I was quite chuffed when my Husband said he preferred my marinated carrot lox, but that is quite involved to make.

Have you tried any new foods recently? What did you think? Is there anything left that you still think we need a vegan version of? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Recent Mini Haul

A Vegan Lunch @ Pizza Hut, March 2019

For Veganuary Pizza Hut offered a jackfruit pizza and said if they sold more than 10,000 it would become a permanent menu item. Well of course vegans took to the challenge and after a break for February the jackfruit pizza is back along with a new vegan starter, of jackfruit rolls and a dessert of cinnamon bites.

A great thing about Pizza Hut is the salad bar! (Although I don’t think it’s as good as Harvester’s one). So fill up on veg to give yourself a healthy glow and to counteract the cheesy, doughyness to come!

My Husband and I both had a jackfruit pizza which came with a decent amount of Violife cheese which wasn’t the case on my previous visit. The pizza comes with jackfruit, red onion, sweetcorn and peppers. We both thought the jackfruit got lost a bit in the mix and could have done with one else topping (Husband would lose the sweetcorn and I would lose the peppers).

We also tried the jackfruit rolls. As you can see from the photo these were a bit overdone. The jackfruit was in a sweet chilli sauce which tasted a bit odd to me and I don’t think I would get these again.

Although Pizza Hut are great for providing more vegan options there is still no dairy-free milk for your tea or coffee. I also don’t think it would be too hard to have a tub of Swedish Glace in the freezer so we could enjoy a float of a scoop with dessert.

Have you been to Pizza Hut recently? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

A Vegan Lunch @ Pizza Hut, March 2019