Saturday, 18 January 2020

Fellinis Church Street Ambleside 14th January 2020

Fellinis is a fine dining vegetarian restaurant, opened in 2009, right in the centre of Ambleside, incorporating a cinema, so you can have a full evening out.   I have visited Fellinis a number of times in the past and this time was for my birthday and I was really looking forward to the evening.

Fellinis is beautiful inside, very modern with low lighting and perfectly set tables and on a very wet and windy Tuesday evening very quiet.

The menu has plenty vegan options, although I was disappointed to see a poor selection of vegan desserts of only summer pudding, sorbets and ice creams, in 2020 I would expect something much more innovative.

There is a good selection of vegan wine available, so I chose a lovely bottle of Lo Tengo Torrentes Argentian wine, which turned out to be a great choice.

I chose soup of the day, which was spinach and chickpea, with the roast butternut squash starter for Steven.   These were excellent dishes, the soup was thick, velvety and packed with flavour, the butternut squash dish is one I will definitely replicate, Steven said it was scrumptious.

I love cauliflower, so my decision for main course was easy peasy, whilst Steven chose the chestnut and sweet potato loaf. 

I am not a huge quinoa lover, but having never tried black quinoa, am always open to trying new things and so glad I did.   The quinoa was nothing like any other I have tried, it was crisp like popcorn adding texture, the cauliflower was perfectly roasted and with sun blush tomatoes and avocado sauce it was a cracking dish.  Steven loved his main course, so much work had gone into layering the loaf with slices of sweet potato and chestnuts encased in cabbage leaves, with tasty romesco sauce.

We were too full for dessert, although I would not have wanted what vegan options were on offer anyway. as I explained above.   I cannot understand when such effort goes into creative starters and main courses, why the desserts are so unimaginative and dull.

Overall though our visit was very enjoyable, Fellinis is special and it is rare to find a fine dining vegetarian restaurant anywhere and is certainly worth a visit.

Friday, 17 January 2020

The Apple Pie Cafe Rydal Road Ambleside 14th January 2020

The Apple Pie Cafe was established in 1975 and is a Lake District icon and until recently I did not realise they had vegan options, but walking past at Christmas (when it was closed) I saw vegan options on the menu.

I did not take internal photos with it being so busy, as I am wary of intruding on people's enjoyment of their meal, if I am sat snapping pictures with my mobile.  The interior is light, bright and cosy with a constant stream of people coming and going and a long queue forming as people waited for a table.

I asked our waiter if any soups were vegan and on the day of my visit the tomato and lentil soup was vegan friendly.

I chose a falafel and houmous wrap with chips and Americano coffee and Steven a smashed avocado, oven roasted tomato sandwich also with chips and a mug of tea.

Our lunch exceeded expectations, my wrap was scrumptious with delicious roast vegetables, plenty houmous and falafels and a good chilli kick from the harissa.  Steven's avocado sandwich was crammed with lovely fresh filling, on fabulous homemade bread and our chips were crisp, chunky and moreish, we left not a morsel.

The famous apple pie is also vegan friendly, although I was so full I could not manage a piece, that will have to be next visit.   Highly recommended.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Chesters By The River Skelwith Bridge Ambleside 13th January 2020

Chesters by the River is a vegetarian restaurant, with loads of vegan options, has a takeaway and shop for browsing and is a perfect lunch stop.

As you enter the restaurant you are greeted with this bright and colourful wall art, perfectly representing the food they serve, as you walk past four dishes of vibrant salads, although I did not like the fact they were uncovered.

Inside the restaurant is light, bright and airy, with lots of seating and communal tables if you do not mind sharing.

We ordered two pots of tea with plenty of hot water for top ups available and it was most welcome to warm us up as it was cold outside and gave us time to peruse the menu.

We both chose off the brunch menu, so smokey beans and hash brown for Steven, with herb chickpea fritters for me.

The dishes were substantial and satisfying, colourful and scrumptious and packed with flavour.   This is accomplished cooking and we thought the food was much improved since our last visit, maybe a different team of chefs who can certainly cook.

We loved our visit and although initially there were many complaints on Tripadvisor when Chesters converted to a fully vegetarian establishment, obviously many others agree with us, as the place was packed to the rafters, with tables being turned the entire time we were there.

Zefferellis Compston Road Ambleside 12th January 2020

Zefferellis opened in 1980 as a vegetarian restaurant, but now includes a cafe, jazz bar and cinema, all in one building, so it can be a full evening out.   I have been visiting Zefferellis for more years than I care to remember, seen it develop and evolve into what it is today and hope to visit for many years to come.

Zefferellis is always busy, on any night, so it is always advisable to book and even on a freezing cold Sunday evening the place was buzzing.   We had a lovely cosy quiet table and had a drink, whilst we perused the menu.

We chose a very nice bottle of organic wild fermented Verdejo, which was a great choice, it was delicious.

Steven chose avocado caponata, whilst I opted for potato wedges served with the choice of two dips, so I chose houmous and tomato dip.

Our starters were delicious, everything about the dishes was spot on, fresh ingredients, well presented and as there were plenty potato wedges, Steven helped me out and we left clean plates.

Mains were lentil and bean chilli served with brown rice and I asked for my mushroom bourguignon to be served with rice instead of the mashed potato, which contained soya.

The mains were substantial and satisfying, so much so I could not eat all mine, but both were scrumptious, rich and delicious.

We were far too full for dessert, although I think the vegan choices are poor with only summer pudding, sorbets or ice cream available.   

Overall we had a great visit to Zefferellis, in fact we thought the food was much improved since our last visit, maybe a different team in the kitchen, who can certainly cook.   I am already looking forward to revisiting Zefferellis in the future.  Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Ambleside Manor Rothay Road Ambleside 12th - 15th January 2020

Ambleside Manor is a lovely vegetarian Victorian country guest house, set in two acres of grounds, ideally situated within easy walking distance of Ambleside town centre.

Its location ensures it is quiet and peaceful, even though the busy main road runs right past the front gate, but set back from the road in large gardens, there is no traffic noise.

We stayed in room seven, an airy space full of light from the big bay window, home to two comfy chairs to relax, read the paper and have a cup of tea.   There is a separate seating area, in a small alcove to the left of the bed, plenty of storage space, a tea tray, a good sized television and roomy bathroom. 

A guest computer with free wi-fi is available on the landing, as well as a communal fridge with jugs to take soya or oat milk to your room, although I brought some of my favourite Alpro oat milk.

A small bar drinks menu is available, with a nice selection of wines and beers, mostly vegan and clearly labelled.

Breakfast is served in the magnificent dining room, with its marble fireplace, wood panelling, high ceilings and decorative windows, it is a beautiful room to dine and start the day.

The breakfast menu has changed since my last visit, with a bigger selection of vegan and gluten free options and a new idea is a daily breakfast special. 

There is a cold buffet of fibre flakes, granola, fruit compote and salad, mixed berries, toasted nuts, coconut yogurt, fruit juices and smoothies, conserves, vegan spread, marmite and peanut butter.

I have included photos of some of our breakfast options during the stay, which set us up for the day and was delicious, well cooked and presented.

There is a lovely guest lounge to the right of the front door, with a big fire place, board games, comfy chairs, books and magazines to read and I like there is no television, so it remains a quiet space.

In the welcoming entrance hall there is an umbrella stand, a big mat for storing dirty boots and information to take away about the local area.

I love Ambleside Manor, it is ideally located, just far enough out of town to avoid the hustle bustle of the busy centre, yet close enough to walk into at night for a bite to eat.   The bus station is a five minute walk, if you want to leave the driving to someone else, with regular services to Grasmere, Bowness, Windermere and Coniston.   I am already looking forward to a return visit later in the year, we enjoyed it that much.