Tag: eating out

Review – The Brewery Inn, Cosheston, Pembrokeshire

I love every bit of being vegan. Well, sometimes going out to dinner can be tricky. Okay, okay, going out to dinner at a non-vegan place fills me with dread. Will the waiters and waitresses know what a vegan is? Will the chef? Will I be served a plate of veg or have to make do with chips and salad? I worry quite a bit while dining in Oxfordshire, but I was quite concerned with the prospect of eating out in my native Pembrokeshire this weekend. It’s been tough to be vegetarian in Pembrokeshire at times, so I was a little apprehensive. Fortunately, my sister is incredibly supportive of my veganism, as is Phil, and between them, I was well catered for.

First up was Saturday lunch and my sister decided on The Brewery Inn in Cosheston. Having eaten there herself before, she knew it was a lovely, relaxed, dog friendly inn, with great food and service. She got in contact with them to find out what vegan offerings they had and they replied promptly, stating that as they cook everything from scratch, they could whip anything up, including a pudding. Well, with the offering of a pudding, I was more than happy to try there.

The Brewery Inn Cosheston vegan burgerThe Brewery Inn Cosheston chocolate mousseHello, my name is Crafty Chai and I am a burger addict. I’m not 100% sure what the burger was, other than is was vegetable based (I’m thinking squash or sweet potato) and delicious. It was in a wholemeal bun (not all burger rolls are vegan *side eyes at M&S*) and had generous portions of sliced tomato and lettuce. It was lovely. So much so I barely said a word while eating it. Always a good sign of a content Crafty Chai. I was offered triple cooked chips, french fries or sweet potato fries. No contest really – I went for the triple cooked chips. OMG. They were to die for. I felt thoroughly spoilt. Plus virtuous, as my burger was basically vegetables meaning PUDDING! A chocolate mousse, no less. It came out of the kitchen in this rather large cup and saucer. I had pretty much given up on the idea of pudding, with the exception of sorbet (which I will never have. It’s pretty much a grown up, boring version of a Slush Puppy, without the capability of turning your tongue blue) so anywhere that offers a vegan pudding, I’ll be more than happy to dine in. This was a pretty epic pudding and it did defeat me. It was chocolatey, and velvet smooth. I will definitely be going back there. It’s got a lovely feel to it, it’s been decorated to a high standard and they had a cosy log burner on the go in the bar area when we were there. Plus, the staff were lovely, but not intrusive. I didn’t feel out of place at all (and I have done in some other places). Nothing was too much trouble. They had quite a few vegan mains available, you just have to give them advanced warning of your arrival. Their website is in the process of being updated, but they update their Facebook page regularly. So why not treat your vegan valentine for a tasty, cruelty free meal?

Review – Jamie’s Italian, Oxford

I can remember when Jamie’s Italian Oxford opened, not too many years ago. People queued down the street for a table and I enjoyed many a breakfast there. Then, after a while, I started to find that things weren’t as good as they were when they first opened, and as there are many great places to eat to Oxford, we ventured elsewhere. So when I was asked to review it for A Crafty Chai, I jumped at the chance. As always, I checked out the menu in advance, pleased to see they’d sectioned off the vegetarian offerings. Word to the wise, there are many more options available to both veggies and vegans than it might first appear on the website – just ask your waiter/ess for the veggie menu. (Or take a look at the pic below!)

Veggie Menu

My lunchtime companion was my friend Mary, and her 2 year old daughter. When booking, I’d asked for a high chair and was really pleased to see a childrens menu, a pack of crayons and a viewfinder with a copy of the menu on at our table. What a great way to show the menu! Plus, a nice little retro reminder for those of us who had them as kids (Have to admit, I think I played with the viewfinder more than Mary’s daughter!) Now, I have no idea what it’s like to go out for dinner with children or how well restaurants generally do catering for families, but Mary was really impressed. She liked the fact that the childrens menu was full of food a grown up would eat, not too babyish and just like they’d get at home. The portions were sensible too, both for children and adults.

Childrens Menu

There were a number of great options that I could easily have chosen, but it was a miserable day so I wanted something warm but not too filling. I ordered the small portion of the Penne Pomodoro and had some extra chilli, along with a simple green salad. We started with the World’s Best Olives on Ice and they came with a tapenade and music bread. The olives were good, tasty and fresh, as was the tapenade. The music bread was good too, but I wouldn’t call it bread, more like a wafer. I also opted for a non-alcoholic cocktail, the Refresher, well, why not eh?!

Worlds best olives

Refresher

Pomordoro

Simple Green salad

The pasta was delicious and the extra chilli gave it a lovely bit of heat, without overpowering the flavour. I always like a fresh green salad with a pasta dish and really liked the simple green salad, especially as the dressing was put in a cute little bottle on the side for me to add myself. Service was good, despite it being a busy Wednesday lunch time during half term holidays. They did forget to bring my side salad, but were hugely apologetic and prompt getting it when I asked. I’m pleased to say our waiter wasn’t intrusive and only asked once to see if everything was okay. Plus, even though I didn’t order a dessert (I had to get back to work after all), he brought me a spoon, just in case! And I used it, as Mary ordered this little beauty:

Epic Brownie

This is the Epic Brownie. If you go to Jamie’s Italian, leave room for this bad boy because it is amazing! If you’re full, order it anyway and see if someone will share it with you. Totally worth it!

Jamie’s Italian is a lovely place to go in Oxford. It has a lovely opulent feel, without being expensive. Our meal came to less than £50 for three of us, which I think is pretty good.

Jamies Jamies Italian

I am so pleased I was asked to review Jamie’s Italian, as otherwise I might never have eaten there again and missed out on such great food. I would definitely go back, either for light lunch or more of a fancy meal in the evening. Plus, I really like the fact that veggies and vegans get their own menu so there’s no confusion over ingredients. As a vegetarian, you feel like your diet choices are considered, thought about and treated equally, which is something other restaurants need to pay attention to.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Jamie’s Italian, all opinions are my own.

Fallowfields Hotel & Restaurant

Afternoon Tea Fallowfields

On Saturday evening four of us heading out to Fallowfields Hotel & Restaurant. I didn’t really know what to expect except good food.

Upon arrival we were greeted very warmly & given the choice between the lounge & the bar area. I opted for the lounge as there was a fire to sit beside! We were offered drinks & canapes. The waiter checked for dietary requirements so I was given vegetarian ones. This impressed me. The attention to detail, the quality of service & the taste of the food.

We decided against starters, well it was still January after all! In hindsight I’m so glad we did. In total we had 7 courses and while the portions are sensible & not too big or too small, 7 courses is enough for anyone! When we arrived at our table, we were given Jerusalem artichoke veloute, truffle ream, confit artichoke. This wasn’t to my taste as I don’t really like artichoke, but my less fussy OH really enjoyed his. We were also given delicious bread & butter to eat while we waited for our mains. I had ordered the cauliflower risotto & it was so delicious. It was, quite possibly, the best risotto I’ve ever tasted.

Finally, pudding. I broke one of my food rules & went for the Amaretto crème brulee. But before this arrived we were given lemon posset in a sugar basket. It was amazing & I’m not a fan of lemon at all, but it was lovely. The crème brulee was perfection too, although, because I’m greedy & love crème brulee, I could’ve easily had a bigger portion!

Throughout the meal the waiters were attentive without being overbearing & kept my wine glass topped up nicely. When we were given our coffee, we also received a delicious ganache chocolate each. Perfect. As a vegeatarian it was nice to see food that didn’t look like it was an afterthought.

It didn’t feel appropriate to keep taking photos of each dish, plus I couldn’t wait to tuck in so that’s why there aren’t any pictures. But trust me when I say that if you are looking for somewhere extra special to go for a meal, this is the place for you. A real delight.

Pancakes at Greens Cafe

Pancakes at Greens Cafe

Sunday morning my OH suggested we go out for breakfast – like I need to be asked twice – I got dressed and off we went.

Pancakes at Greens CafeWe wanted to do a bit of shopping too so parked near Greens Cafe in Oxford & headed in. One reason I wanted to go there was because I knew they did pancakes & I’ve never tried them. Obviously I had a huge mug of chai to wash them down.  I couldn’t believe the size of the pancakes. They were huge! Not to mention delicious. It came with a lovely side of fruit & the pancakes filled me up for most of the day. Perfect!

One criticism was that there was no atmosphere in the cafe whatsoever. It was quite early so they weren’t very busy. There was no music, TV or papers to read. It was really quiet and was a bit like eating breakfast in a museum! I’ve never known it so quiet there. If you go later in the day it’s usually buzzing. But the pancakes were awesome! And I love my pancakes x