Friday, 27 September 2019

Greenhalgh's Family Bakers

Greenhalgh's are a bakers in Bolton established in 1957 with sixty one shops and recently entered the vegan market, offering a vegan sausage roll, pasty and sandwiches.   Greenhalgh's contacted me offering to send samples, though as they were soya based, Steven kindly volunteered his services on my behalf.   In all honesty he is a much better critic, as he has struggled to find satisfying vegan alternatives, so this was a good test.

I served the pasty warm and the aromas on opening the oven door had me salivating.   The pastry was crisp and melt in the mouth, packed with a lovely meat like peppery filling, reminiscent of pasties Steven had as a child, just an excellent vegan alternative.

The sausage roll also served warm, was equally as scrumptious as the roll, lovely flaky pastry, loads of tasty filling and a good sized portion.   Steven thought it was so good he considered it superior to the Greggs sausage roll, quite an accolade.

The spinach wrap filled with couscous, tomato and red onion, was less of a success, it was lacking flavour, so Steven added smoked houmous and sriracha and what a difference it made.   I passed on Steven's comments about the wrap to Greenhalgh's social media team, who were happy to take them on board, so maybe they will tweak the recipe.

Overall Steven was impressed and would definitely buy the sausage roll and pasty when out and about and of course we love to support a Lancashire company.

Disclaimer:  I received free samples of these products and have not been paid for this review and all opinions are my own.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Chiquito Middlebrook Business Park Bolton 20th September 2019

Chiquito introduced a vegan menu earlier this year and on a visit to Bolton for a wedding, it made an ideal lunch stop, as it was near our hotel. 

Chiquito use well known vegan products by the likes of  Oatly, Oumph and Violife, as well as jackfruit and banana blossom to create a very interesting range of dishes.

I checked the allergen information which highlighted soya in the nachos, yet Violife cheese and Oatly creme fraiche are soya free, so I queried this with the Chiquito social media team.   I was unsatisfied with the reply the cheese contained soya protein concentrate, as Violife is coconut based, so queried it again.   It turned out I was right, the allergen information was incorrect, however at least it was not the other way round and the dish contained soya and it did not say so on the allergen information

I cannot fault staff's attention to detail about allergies, they asked as we sat down if we had any and ensured the kitchen was aware of what I could not eat.   The dishes I chose were all fine apart from the Violife cream cheese containing sunflower seeds on the burger, which I cannot eat, but can be omitted.

Steven ordered sweet potato skins and I ordered nachos to start, with a large coke and large sparkling water, no alcohol as we would be drinking at the wedding, but good to see vegan drinks labelled on the menu.

The sweet potato skins were far too small, needed at least another one, the nachos were much better value and totally scrumptious, so I let Steven pinch a few, we loved the clear vegan sign on both dishes.

Main courses were banana blossom burger with cassava fries for me and jackfruit tacos with a side of fries for Steven.

The burger was lovely and juicy, not dry at all served on a soft sourdough bun with slaw and lettuce, it was delicious as were the cassava fries.   The three jackfruit tacos served with guacamole in Steven's opinion is more a starter, so he was glad he ordered fries.   The tacos were tasty enough, although both dishes would benefit from some hot sauce, which we did ask for, but beware it contains dairy.

Overall we liked the venue, staff were brilliant and the vegan menu offers fabulous sounding options, the downside are the way over the top prices.   The vegan burger at £14.49 is more expensive than five of the burgers on the main menu, the vegan croquettes £2.19 more than meat ones and the jackfruit tacos at £11.69 with fries to bulk it out came to £15.18.

I can only conclude Chiquito have joined the vegan bandwagon, where restaurants think they can charge more, because vegans are desperate to dine out.   I asked our waiter if the vegan menu was proving popular, his reply being it did on launch, but footfall had fallen since, no wonder.   I am sorry Chiquito I refuse to be taken advantage of, with so many places offering food just as good but easier on the pocket, I doubt whether I will return until you reassess your pricing policy.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Nibble Oldham Street Manchester 14th September 2019

Nibble is a quirky cafe with a passion for food, with excellent options for their vegan customers and other dietary requirements and I have visited several times for cake, but my latest visit was for breakfast.

Nibble is small with a lovely cosy atmosphere, with a roaring wood burning stove in the winter and outside seating when the sun shines and as much of the food is homemade as possible.

The breakfast options are excellent and Nibble are accommodating for allergy requirements, so I chose 'not just avocado on toast' with herby chickpeas and roast vegetables, with vegan breakfast for Steven.   The dishes were scrumptious, I particularly like their twist on the usual avocado on toast and Steven loved his breakfast, we polished it all off with an Americano coffee.

Nibble also have a great selection of vegan cakes every day too and on my last visit I had a slice of their stonkingly scrumptious chocolate and beetroot fudge cake, worth a visit just for this with a large mug of tea.

I am impressed that for takeaway food and drinks, all cutlery is made from wood and food cartons from cardboard, another big thumbs up.

I love Nibble, its an oasis in Manchester city centre and very popular, evident by the constant stream of people coming in to eat and buy takeaways.   Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Maxwells Cafe Bar King Street Clitheroe 11th September 2019

Maxwells Cafe Bar part of Dawsons department store, introduced a vegan menu awhile back and have recently upgraded it, with much more appealing options.

I visited on a Wednesday lunchtime and it was really busy, always a good sign, managing to find a table in a cosy corner.   I asked the waiter what vegan cheese they used and was pleased to hear it was Violife, so I chose nachos, aubergine fritters and a portion of chips, to share with Steven.

The food was scrumptious, the nachos had plenty melted cheese, were a good sized portion and at £4.95 excellent value for money.   The aubergine fritters had a light crisp batter, with a hint of chilli and turmeric and a salad dressed with sweet chilli dressing and it was all quickly polished off.

I returned a few weeks later for lunch with a friend, ordering a roast vegetable bun with cheese and pesto, side salad and crisps, which was scrumptious, I particularly liked the brioche bun.

I was impressed with the vegan options, especially as there are excellent desserts and not just some sorbet or fruit, will have to make sure I leave room next time.

Monday, 2 September 2019

No. 1 Tearoom At Townhouse B&B Birtwhistles Yard Skipton 2nd September 2019

No. 1 Tearoom is inside Townhouse B&B owned by Jackie and Mick Courcier, tucked away in Birtwhistles Yard, away from the hustle bustle of the town centre and open 11 am to 3 pm Monday to Friday.

Jackie caters for all diets and there is no doubt vegans are catered for, when you see this sign and clearly labelled vegan options on the menu.   Jackie does all the cooking, so knows exactly what ingredients are in each dish, a big bonus for people like me and offers vegan spread, plant milks and Violife cheese.

I chose avocado, sun blush tomato salsa and cheese on wholemeal bread and Steven a jacket potato with Moroccan spiced vegetables and vegan cheese, with pots of Earl Grey and peppermint tea.

The food took awhile to arrive, but being made fresh to order, we were happy to wait and worth it.   I loved the homemade sun blush tomato salsa, which brought the generous filling together, the sandwich was scrumptious and a nice touch was being offered olive oil to drizzle on my salad.   The jacket potato with its spicy filling, vegan spread and vegan cheese was delicious and devoured quickly by Steven as he was starving.

I had a brief chat with Jackie, who is so enthusiastic about her vegan cooking, she bakes her own bread, is exploring using jackfruit, recently made her own cashew Parmesan to make pesto and makes her own houmous and vegan cakes.

I will definitely return to try other vegan options and when we next stay in Skipton, we will be staying at Townhouse B&B as its in a very quiet location, yet so handy for the town centre.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Trove Cafe Murray Street Manchester 1st September 2019

Trove Cafe in Ancoats is one of three owned by Trove Foods and most Mancunians know Trove's renowned sourdough, as so many places have it on the menu and in my opinion it is the best in Manchester if not the world.

There are quite a few vegan options on the menu, but I have had my eye on the vegan breakfast for awhile, so it was easy to make a choice, along with a decaf Americano.

The breakfast was scrumptious, using quality ingredients, perfectly cooked and seasoned and with that amazing sourdough bread and great tasting coffee, it was my ideal start to the day.

I will be visiting Trove again for sure, as will many others I am sure, because shortly after we arrived the place was packed, so its a very popular place.