Thursday, 8 December 2016

Lolo's Vegan Restaurant & Bar Market Street Ramsbottom 7th December 2016

Lolo's has been on my radar for ages and I knew if I did not put a date in my dairy, I would never get there, so I chose the 7th December.   Lolo's is in Ramsbottom, not far from Bury and describes itself as a 1920's style vegan restaurant and cocktail bar.   I loved its art deco retro style and complimentary sound tracks of the era, making for a very relaxed atmosphere for dining.

Lolo's use organic and local produce where possible, offering fresh cooked dishes, along with some vegan junk food and cakes made on site.   Their commitment to being environmentally friendly and sustainable, includes using renewable electricity, recyclable and biodegradeable products, with all cleaning products and things like hand soaps all vegan.

Lolo's were runner up in The Observer Monthly Food Awards for best ethical restaurant of 2016 and listed in Manchester Evening News best vegan restaurant list 2017.

They are open Wednesday to Saturday, for lunch and dinner, with a wide range of beers, organic wines and delicious sounding cocktails, have events like Jazz evenings and the venue is available for private hire.

The lunch menu is varied and how brilliant I could order anything I fancied, so I ordered an Earl Grey tea and Steven a Fentimans ginger beer, whilst we made our choices.

I chose the spinach tart, with Mediterranean salad and basil dressing, the three potato hash for Steven and a side order of raw green salad to share.

The food was delicious, my salad included many favourite ingredients, artichokes, pine nuts, olives, basil and Steven loved the hash, with three kinds of potato including purple, which added a vibrant colour to the dish, fried tofu, sour cream and avocado. The simplicity of the raw green salad, with live sprouts could have been bland, but I could have eaten a large portion on my own, it was so tasty.   If it were not for the fact, that we had to leave due to other commitments, we would have tucked into one of their desserts or cakes.

Service was friendly and efficient and I had a brief chat with our waitress Natasha, a vegan of twelve months, who was very enthusiastic and explained that all the chefs were vegan, how comforting for their vegan diners.

We both immediately said, we would have to revisit in the New Year for dinner and to sample some cocktails.  I am hoping to arrange to meet up with my vegan Twitter friend Chris Balmer (@ThePlayandRatel) a local lad, who I am sure can recommend which cocktails to dive into first.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Nino's At The Fighting Cocks Inn Red Leeds Road Burnley 4th December 2016

Nino's At The Fighting Cocks is an Italian restaurant, with breath-taking views over the countryside, owned by the Pilliteri family, who have built up a thriving business.   The building itself is quite imposing and inside has been beautifully furnished and is spacious, with plenty of seating.   Every Friday and Saturday evening, there is live music and they have outdoor seating, with a barbecue area, for alfresco dining, in the summer months.

Our visit was for lunch, to meet up with friends, who had asked Steven and I to be godparents, to their young baby son.   There are no specific vegan dishes on the menu, so I asked our waiter a couple of questions and was happy that I could be catered for.   However beware, I nearly opened the packet of breadsticks, read the label and realised they had lard in.

I kicked off with tomato bruschetta, drizzled with loads of olive oil, with pea shoots, which I love and with a good grind of black pepper, is a favourite dish of mine.

I love pasta and was relieved the spaghetti and linguine are egg free, so I ordered spaghetti alla Norma, made with aubergine, chilli and tomato and a side salad.

I love all the ingredients in this dish, the pasta was perfectly cooked, nicely cooked aubergine, great tomato sauce, fresh side salad, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I was too full for pudding, not that there is a vegan alternative, so I finished with a large espresso coffee, which I normally avoid later in the day, as it always keeps me awake, but I was driving, so that was a good thing.

I would definitely revisit Nino's, the food was excellent, service was friendly and efficient, so maybe next time I will try one of their pizza.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Emporium Moor Lane Clitheroe 12th April 2017

The Emporium was the first venue, in the family of what is now James' Places Group, housed in a three storey Methodist Chapel, converted to create an informal place to eat, drink and shop, in the market town of Clitheroe.

Originally a coffee shop, The Emporium has evolved over the years, to encompass a wine bar, brasserie and interior design shop, with furnishings on show, available to purchase.   I love its warm, inviting, relaxed atmosphere and as described on the website its Parisian Grand Cafe style, appeals to all.

They introduced a vegan menu last year (see below), but when I visited last night, this was not available, as they are in the process of creating a new extended version, as it has proved so popular.   I will add the new menu, when it is available.   Last night I was handed a paper copy, with their apologies, as the new menu was at the printers, so off the top of my head, dishes included:  

Vegan breakfast
Avocado on toast
Porridge made with soya milk or water
Bread and oils
Nachos (little or large)
Onion fritters with mango and lime dressing
Club sandwich
Vegan plank including houmous, falafels, pitta bread, salad, artichokes, olives
Asparagus and pea risotto
Vegan pizza
Pineapple carpaccio

I kicked off with a small nachos with salsa, chillies and guacamole, I wonder how big the large is, as it was a good sized portion.   The nachos were fabulous, with a good kick of spice and delicious guacamole, they made a great starter.

Main course was asparagus and pea risotto, again a generous portion and very tasty, however I took some Good Carma vegan Parmesan with me to sprinkle over.   Maybe The Emporium could add this or nutritional yeast, to their store cupboard, to add cheesy flavours to their vegan dishes.

I ordered an Emiliana Adobe Viognier white wine to drink, suitable for vegans and a perfect accompaniment to my risotto.   There are a good number of vegan wines, on the list, perhaps these will be highlighted in the future, for their vegan and vegetarian customers, who like me do not want to drink wines, fined with the likes of isinglass.

I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner and look forward to visiting again, to try other dishes on the menu, as the onion fritters in particular caught my eye.

The photos below show a couple of other dishes, I have eaten on previous visits and as you can see, you do not go hungry, unlike some places, where they think vegans have the appetite of a mouse.