I have been salivating over their vegan creations for a few weeks and just had to try their banana blossom fish and chips with mushy peas, so I contacted Shaun and booked a table for lunch. Shaun thinks the current menu is limited due to kitchen restrictions, though personally I think it is vegan heaven, but he has loads of new ideas for the menu, once he has moved.
Shaun messaged me the day before our visit, to say he would save me a banana blossom fish, as they were selling out fast. We arrived in pouring rain, so sadly we could not sit in the small outside seating area, but we were both starving, so with fish and chips on order for for me, Steven chose sweet potato and chickpea curry with cumin rice and a side of fries.
The banana blossom fish was amazing, perfectly cooked with a firm texture, flaking very much like fish and reminiscent of jackfruit and makes a fantastic fish alternative. The dish exceeded my expectations, the batter was dry, light and crisp, with fabulous chips and mushy peas, a pretty perfect vegan lunch and a cracker of a dish. If you are gluten free and let Shaun know in advance, he can also make a gluten free fish and chips, so you do not miss out on this spectacular dish.
Steven's curry was equally as good, packed with flavour, not too spicy on the heat front, with perfectly cooked rice and crisp fries, another winning dish, we left clean plates.
We had a small break then, as we were quite full and had a quick chat with Shaun, who kindly nipped home to bring me a can of banana blossom (clearly labelled vegan) to try at home, what a guy.
We then moved onto to dessert, Stacey made a soya free cake specially, so it would have been rude not to partake, how could you resist a big slice of chocolate and strawberry cake, whilst Steven chose vanilla and fruit loaf. The cakes were fabulous, lovely and moist with loads of chocolate buttercream on mine and icing on Steven's, a spot on finish to lunch.
I cannot recommend The Willow Tree cafe highly enough, I love Shaun's enthusiasm for cooking and his attention to detail to customer requests. Its a fair drive for us to get there, but it is sure worth it, I will definitely be returning, once they are in their new home.