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What: Vegetarian restaurant, also vegan offerings.
Prices: Good value for what it is. Starters around £5, mains around £11, sides £2.50, £10 lunch special which includes a main and drink of your choice, £14.50 for afternoon tea. See photos below for menu.
Vegetarian menu: Everything is vegetarian, several vegan dishes, gluten-free options also.
Drinks: All that you can imagine a bar would serve. They only serve regular coffee, no espresso, etc.
Service: Staff are willing to help but need a lot of further training and experience in order to provide a polished service. When we entered there were only two tables occupied and we were invited to choose our own table, which was an excellent beginning (this reviewer finds it offensive to enter a restaurant only to be asked to sit at what is clearly the worst table). When giving our order the waiter walked off before we had completed it. At the end we said that we would like to see the dessert menu and watched for quite a while before the waiter realised that he had forgotten to bring it over. This must have been a good ten minutes. NOTE: We were disgusted to witness one waiter sucking on his finger (perhaps he had cut it?) while chatting to his colleagues behind the bar. This was a disgusting sight, not to mention unhygienic, but then he prepared drinks for another table, even touching the rims of their drinking glasses and had not washed his hands. Doesn’t this mean that folks were drinking out of glasses that potentially had his saliva on the rim? That neither of his colleagues told him to stop sucking his finger or to wash his hands suggests that their hygiene practices are no better. It took them a long time to clear our dinner plates, and they weren’t even busy.
Comfortable? Nice cloth napkins add a touch of luxury, water glasses are nice and heavy, music was at an okay volume and was not intrusive. They seem to favour Amy Winehouse and the like. The chairs were good and didn’t wobble and the table was big enough for two and quite solid.
There were bits of food on the floor around the table next to us. Not acceptable.
Was the food good? Yes, not brilliant, but definitely good. We ordered a starter to share, the ‘sundried tomato and butterbean pate with flatbread’. Bizarrely, this was served without side plates. However, it was very tasty. This reviewer had the ‘broad bean and leek pie with summer vegetables and a red wine reduction’ as a main. It was quite tasty, if unexciting, and looked like it had crashed between the kitchen and the table (see photo below). They were very stingy with the red wine reduction, there wasn’t enough on the plate to go with more than one bite of the main. My companion had the ‘savoury scone with mushroom ragu and summer vegetables’. The presentation of this was superior to that of the pie. It would have benefited from more gravy (the scone was quite dry) but the choice of mushroom was very pleasing. The wine was good. All in all, the food was good and we would order the same dishes again.
Toilets: There’s only one, wheelchair accessible, and it was clean.
My advice to the chef: Try to bring more flair and imagination to the dishes. As they stand they are good but pretty standard. You might consider trying to outdo Terre-a-Terre in Brighton and not replicate it, as it seemed to this reviewer, especially from the battered halloumi and battered tofu. Send out plenty more gravy and sauce on the plates and work on the presentation of some of the dishes. This kitchen has potential to be really, really good but seems a bit too conservative at the moment.
My advice to the manager: You really, really need to send your staff on a training course.
Overall: A pleasant experience. This reviewer would recommend a meal here and would certainly return.
Click on photos for full size image. Note that the date is incorrect, the photos were taken in July 2012.