Sunday, 30 August 2020

Wilfred's Restaurant & Bar Holme Road Burnley 29th August 2020

Wilfred's Restaurant & Bar is a fine dining restaurant in Crow Wood Hotel in the grounds of Crow Wood resort and friends invited us for dinner, as they live locally and highly recommended it.

Wilfred's offer a great sounding vegan menu, with some excellent choices to appeal to everyone, although desserts have to be pre-ordered.

I did not take any interior photos, so as not to encroach on people's dining experience, plus I think everyone needs to see it with fresh eyes, to enjoy its elegance and plush decor, there has been no expense spared here.   The menu prices reflect the environment and so this is not somewhere for a rushed dinner or a weekly event, its a special occasion place, but it exceeded my expectations.

I ordered a mushroom and leek risotto starter, with cauliflower pakora served with mango salsa and sriracha mayo for Steven.

Our starters were fabulous, the risotto was one of the best I have eaten in a long time, it was packed with flavour, perfectly cooked and could not be faulted.   Steven equally impressed with his choice, said it was so good he would be happy to order two portions, with a couple of side dishes as a main course.

Steven kept changing his mind about his main course choice, but chose dukkah spiced aubergine with a vegan pizza for me.

The pizza was scrumptious, with just enough vegan cheese, juicy tasting toppings and a fantastic sourdough base, I would be hard pushed to find a better one in most Italian restaurants.   Steven enjoyed his main, although the dish was shy of aubergine, as it was rather small and in hindsight he should have ordered chips, as he has a healthy appetite.

We did not pre-order desserts, which was a wise idea on my part, as risotto followed by pizza was very filling, so next time I will miss out on a starter so I can give the desserts a go.

I was mightily impressed with Wilfred's, its a beautiful environment for dining with an air of sophistication, reflected in the prices, yet totally worth it in my opinion.   I cannot wait to go back.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

The Leaf & Bean Cafe High Street Skipton 24th August 2020

The Leaf & Bean cafe is part of Moorey's Health Store, on the first floor over the shop and only recently reopened after lockdown.   

The shop has a huge selection of vegan products for everyone, along with a refill station for items like washing up liquid, hand soaps, toilet cleaner etc, chilled and frozen products.

On entering there is a hand sanitiser station and Georgia working in the shop liased with the cafe team, to ensure the number of customers entering was manageable to adhere to the Covid 19 precautions in place.   We had to wait awhile so I had a good look round the shop and chose a few items, which Georgia put aside and mentioned they were happy to order in items for collection.

There was another sanitiser station at the top of the stairs, tables were properly socially distanced, track and trace details taken and staff wore visors.

The menu is reduced, which is understandable as there was only chef Gemma in the kitchen, to ensure staff safety, but there was plenty to choose from.

I was flabbergasted when Gemma came to take the order, as she remembered my allergies from my last visit in March.   She offered to make separate salads, as a couple of them had things in I could not eat, but I did not want to put her to so much trouble, as when she explained what was in the salad I could have, I was more than happy to have a large portion of that.

We ordered a pot of Earl Grey tea with oat milk, a red pepper houmous jacket potato with broccoli, cauliflower, leek and pea salad with garlic dressing for me and mushroom pate with cucumber sandwich served with three of the daily salads for Steven.

The jacket potato was huge with plenty houmous and the salad was so scrumptious I will be stealing the recipe idea, what a great way to get your raw vegetables.  Steven thoroughly enjoyed his lunch and having a big pot of tea is a winner, nothing worse than only being served a cup.

On a second visit a month later, Steven chose a vegan burger with barbecue jackfruit and apple coleslaw, with a falafel and houmous pitta for me and a cafeteria of decaf Americano coffee to share.   The food once more was delicious and fresh, with lovely salads and hearty Yorkshire portions, so you do not go hungry.

I love Leaf and Bean cafe, the staff were brilliant, so friendly and helpful and we felt totally safe during our visits and we will definitely be revisiting when next in Skipton.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Piccolino Moor Lane Clitheroe 19th August 2020

Piccolino is a high end Italian restaurant, owned by the Individual Restaurant group and we met a friend there for dinner.   Piccolino are participating in the Eat Out To Help Out scheme, with double points for customers of their loyalty scheme, of which I am one.

Piccolino has a recently refurbished large outside seating area to the front, which is great on a sunny day, especially during the Covid 19 pandemic.

The new vegan options are a huge improvement, but I refuse on principal to order sorbet for dessert, such a boring pudding.

Our waiter asked if anyone had allergies, so I mentioned what I was allergic to and he made a note on the order via his Ipad, so I thought everything would be fine, how wrong can you be.

I ordered a bottle of Mastri Vernacoli, as Cavit white wines are all vegan, but I wish restaurants would label suitable wines on the wine list.

My starter was spinach, avocado, tomato and mushroom salad, with vegetable risotto for Steven.   When my salad was served I could smell bacon, as I had been given the meat version, so a replacement was quickly rustled up, but my confidence in the kitchen team was now zero.

Steven enjoyed his risotto, although in hindsight after my experience with my main course, he thought it had dairy in it.

Steven ordered a pizza for main course, served with a steak knife, which set off alarm bells and it was badly needed, the base was tough but the toppings were nice.

I had gone to the ladies when the main courses arrived and Steven sent my gnocchi back, as it had cheese on, even though my allergies were noted down.   I did not get a photo of it or its replacement, side tracked trying to catch the Manager's attention, it was a bland dish though so I left half of it.   We also ordered sides of peperonata and broccoli with chilli and garlic, but I left the broccoli as I was not confident it was cooked in oil.

The best thing about the meal was my lovely decaf espresso, the discount we got from the Manager after I complained and the money off for the Eat Out To Help Out scheme.

Would I recommend Piccolino, sadly based on this last visit, definitely not.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Vinegar Jones Royal Square Bowness on Windermere 12th August 2020

Vinegar Jones is a fish and chip shop right in the middle of town, who fry their chips separately in vegetable oil and have vegan options like mushy peas.   I wanted to visit when we stayed in Bowness at Christmas but sadly they were closed, so have been on my to visit list ever since.

Vinegar Jones has to be the cleanest chip shop I have ever been in, it was immaculate with hand sanitiser and screens for Covid 19 precautions too.

We ordered two portions of chips with mushy peas, served in an eco friendly cardboard box with a wooden fork.

We got a seat overlooking Lake Windermere for lunch with a view and enjoyed the best chips and mushy peas I have ever eaten, they were stonkingly scrumptious.

Vinegar Jones exceeded my expectations by a mile, from going through the front door, how clean it was and amazing food.   Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Boaters Bar Glebe Road Bowness on Windermere 10th August 2020

Boaters Bar is a busy bar overlooking Lake Windermere, serving craft beers, a good selection of wines and cocktails, with vegan options on the pizza menu.

I researched Boaters wine menu prior to visiting and emailed Quinta da Pousada in Portugal to ask if their wines were vegan, as their Vinho Verde was on Boaters wine list and received this reply.

I ordered the Vinho Verde, a fabulous wine and emailed Joana a picture to thank her for making vegan friendly wines and received another lovely reply.

We ordered two vegan pizzas, one with and one without vegan cheese and took some hot sauce with us, to add some spice.   I dread to think what it is like at a weekend, but on a Monday night we waited just over an hour for our pizzas to be served.

Steven's pizza base was slightly under cooked but at least hot, whereas mine was lukewarm, had an overcooked base and under cooked peppers.   There was no way I was sending it back, it took that long to get it, so I sloshed on some hot sauce and ate what I could.

You can clearly see the difference in the bases, just by looking at the photos below and when the Manager came round, we had a word.   He said they had a six tier oven to cook the pizzas, but I am sure ours were not cooked at the same time, I thought mine had been left to one side, whilst Steven's was cooking.   The Manager offered Steven a free pint which he declined, but we noticed another large party of eight, who waited an hour and twenty minutes, also had free drinks.

Another failing was although Covid 19 precautions were in place, we saw lots of people just wander in without using sanitiser, giving their details for track and trace, or given an explanation of how the Covid procedures worked.

Lake District restaurants have a captive audience with thousands of visitors every year, so I think this leads to complacency.  The only saving grace is the 'Eat Out To Help Out' scheme, so we only paid £4 for each pizza.   Would I go back to Boaters, maybe for a drink but definitely not for pizza.