#TastyMorsels: Veggie and Vegan friendly Happenings and new openings. 




Stirchley Vegan Summer Fair is happening this Sunday. With 50+ stalls from cakes and cheese, to animal friendly products including fashion, it’s going to be a good day. ChangeKitchen CIC will be providing the food at Stirchley Baths and Two Towers Brewery the drinks. 

They’ll have a fantastic array of delicious food to tempt you, including BBQ wings, pizza, Thai curry, burgers, their lovely healthy salads & hot & cold drinks. 

Drinks from Two Towers Brewery include:

Baskerville Bitter 3.8% 
Electric Ale 4.1% 

Hockley Gold 4.1% 

Completely Muppetry 4.3%

Vork pies from Nottingham will also be in attendance with their pies including Piri Piri and butternut squash. Hot or cold. 

Veggie Foodie favourites Mex it up will also be there as will Greens Vegan Catering. 

There will also be talks and food demos. 

Photo courtesy of Vork pies

Free entry from 10.30am to 4pm on the 7th May at Stirchley Baths, Stirchley.

Though not a purely Vegetarian restaurant in the slightest Salt has opened in Stratford Upon Avon. It’s a cause for celebration in my book and a restaurant to keep an eye on this year. It’s also completely Kickstarter funded. 

Paul Foster is the head chef. Well known for  his well executed food focusing on seasonal humble ingredients combined with foraged produce and locally picked herbs which become gastronomically pleasing, 

Initially from Coventry he had recently been the head chef of Mallory Court bear Leamington Spa but did wonders before at Tuddenhan Mill in Suffolk. 

Salt always have a separate veggie menu available which has a tasting menu and a 2 choice 3 course option. The dinner menu is £32 for three courses and £25 for two. The tasting menu is £57. 

Dishes such as slow cooked celeriac, black garlic, sprouting broccoli and pickled shallots and Wye Valley Asparagus and pea salad, Truffled goats curd, sourdough.

Also on tasting menu is a salt baked beetroot and seed and grain risotto with pickled and confit shallot and a Asparagus with lovage oil and crispy panko.

 Sounds delicious. 

For full menus below: 

Thanks to Paul for sending me the menu photo.

One to keep an eye on and on my hit list to visit this year. 

Salt is now open on Church Street in Stratford Upon Avon. 

https://www.salt-restaurant.co.uk/

Wahaca is set to open in Birmingham on 13 Temple Street later this year which is great news for Veggies as their menus are full of tempting Mexican veggie friendly choices. I’m getting a season ticket.

He’s my review from London last year: 

https://t.co/ZGOYLI9ovf

Watch this space for more details later this year. 


50% off all Vegetarian and Vegan dishes every Monday at all Soul Food Project Sites. That’s Peel and Stone in Jewellery Quarter and Harborne and The Church pub in Jewellery Quarter. Plus free selected cake with any vegetarian or vegan sandwich. 

Izza Pizza is open at Selfridges. Owned by the guys who run Veggie Foodie favourites Lasan and Raja Monkey. Thin crust pizzas made from special flour imported from Italy. Try their Margherita, and a luxurious one with truffles and mushrooms. Pizzas from £8. 

Also try The Woodhouse pizzeria on Ladypool Road at the old Brighton Arms pub site in Balsall Heath. 

Neoplolitan pizza including traditional pizzas such as Quattro formagi (Four cheeses) and Margherita. 

Plus Vegetariana with San Marzano tomatoes, Mozzarella, aubergines, peppers, mushrooms and basil and Fileto a white base pizza with cherry tomatoes mozzarella and Basil and Marinara tomatoes, garlic, oregano and basil and the classic Forte with goats cheese and sun dried tomatoes. Lovely! 

There’s also a lovely children’s menu. 

When pizzas are done well there are very few finer things in life with a cool beer. 

http://www.woodhousepizzeria.co.uk/

And veggie superstars Mr Singhs are opening up in Wolverhampton. Watch this space. 

Lucky Wolves. 

It’s also National Vegetarian Week from the 15th-21st May. Stay tuned for more. 



Oh and Guinness has just become Vegan and Veggie Friendly! Hurray. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Review: Star and Garter: Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.


   Leamington Spa is a place I didn’t know very well, having never been there before our visit to the Star and Garter. Because our reservation was on a Saturday evening we decided to make a weekend of it, and had a lovely stay. Leamington Spa  is a nice town, pretty buildings interspersed with a lovely parks and river with a good independent streak running through its shops, cafes and restaurants. Well worth a visit for the day, or weekend stopover. 

The Star and Garter recently refurbished in a very tasteful way is tucked slightly off the main High Street shopping area, nestled away from the main traffic bustle, but is easy to find. It’s location I think benefits it and also doesn’t hinder its popularity with the locals and visitors, for when we visited it was packed and full of great atmosphere. 

The Star and Garter is part of the independent Peach Group of pubs that also own The Highfield in Birmingham and The Rose and Crown in Warwick, both of which I’ve reviewed on my blog before and The Almanack, in Kenilworth which I haven’t. 

It’s impressive from the outside, lit beautifully in the fading evening light. It’s smart interior provides a Gastro pub kind of feel and is a subtle hybrid of a cosy pub, restaurant and cool bar which makes for a contrasting mix of folk eating, drinking and meeting up before moving on elsewhere. It’s a go anytime kind of place it feels, open all day it felt an important part of the town. 

The food element of the pub is the trump card in the armour. The menus are seasonal, providing a variation for all tastes and diets, with a good choice for Vegetarians. 

With a keen relationship built up with local farmers and producers. Vegetables are from Evesham and when we visited Asparagus was just on the menu with their popular ‘dip your own’ Asparagus dish. Prices are sensible and you feel you are getting good value. 

We sat in a cosy booth like seat near the bar so was able to feel an indulge in the full pub atmosphere which was ideal. 

We ordered two Negroni’s to drink initially. It was dry and zingy, everything a Negroni should be. It packed a punch with the divine bitterness of the Italian spirit Campari but had a mellowness from the Vermouth that was spot on. Perfecto.   

 Negroni: A super-modish choice.

  
   

The choice for Vegetarians at The Star and Garter is a good one, but from experience of their previous pub visits the so called, Veggie Board (Well by me) is a delicious choice. Called here Major or minor orders (prefer deli board or tapas maybe) you can choose any 3 dishes off the menu for £9.50. They come in their own pots and the menu is above. It’s a fun way to start the meal and gives a flavour of what they do well. 

The Red Lentil Falafels with spicy yogurt, was a good falafel with the added dipping quality of some gently spiced yogurt which gave them another dimension.

The Stuffed Artichoke Hearts and Pesto Mayo: again with added dipping deliciousness, lovely artichokes full of Spring flavour with again a full flavoured Mayo. 

The Sesame Crusted Halloumi with peanut salad and Oriental Dressing  though was my favourite, and a real complimentary contrast to the other dishes offering a real stir fry like texture and crunch to the softer Halloumi and stuffed artichoke and falafels. A lovely complete dish. I love this kind of eating, and The Star and Garter’s version is a real winner. 
  
    

Ruth chose the seasonal special and tempting Dip Your Own Asparagus.  

Fresh seasonal Asparagus with its own pot of Hollandaise and Parmesan, presented beautifully and set up for a dipping frenzy. Ruth loved it. I tried a spear with the hollandaise and could concur to its simplicity and celebration of a beautiful British vegetable. With both starters taken together to share between two you’d have near perfection this Spring.

For veggies that don’t eat Parmesan it can be ignored as it comes seperate in its own pot. 

  
 Dip your own Asparagus.

  

For my main course I ordered the delicious sounding Spring Vegetable and Puy Lentil Pie, Quicke’s Mature Chedder mash, Veg gravy. 

In fact it was delicious. Deep flavoured put lentil filling, chedder mash with a really mature kick, soft but firm tenderstalk Broccoli. Indulgent, rich, comforting. It was delicious and full of deep flavour and well seasoned. A tasty Vegetarian option served with hot veggie gravy. 

We ordered a side order of Spring Greens and Peas with a thyme dressing, which complimented and boosted my dish well. 

  
    

For dessets Ruth ordered the Treacle Tart, Chantilly cream. Which she said was nice, but didn’t wow and could have done with a zingy lift. 

I ordered The Sticky Toffee Pudding, which was a good pud. Very sticky, a deep toffee flavour and plenty of toffee sauce. Lovely.

Treacle Tart, Chantilly cream.    Sticky toffee pudding.

  

We also ordered a nice bottle of White Rioja which complimented the food well.

The Star and Garter is a lovely old town centre pub. It’s cosy, quirky, with a good atmosphere that adds to our experience and made for a lovely evening. With its low lighting and modern but old feel it a recommended try when in Leamington Spa. For Vegetarians dining out the food is superb. A good mix of dishes that could possibly do with another main course on it (maybe a special) for added choice or maybe to utilise more of the seasonal veg that is around in different more adventurous ways, but for informal eating with a cosy, Gastro feel it’s a joy and with its genuine welcome and relaxed service its a fab choice to eat, drink and be merry in Leamington Spa.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

Thanks to General Manager Colin for his time and taking us through the menu and to Sarah for the organisation.

The review was written after a kind invitation from the Star and Garter to review their Spring menu. Our food and drink was complimentary on the night. All opinions are my own, honest and without bias. I was not required to write a positive review.

 Ruth’s Fish main course special which she enjoyed.

  

    
 

   
   

The last three photos plus the first two courtesy of The Star and Garter. The rest of the photos are my own. 

Star and Garter, 4-6 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa, CV 32 5LL.

http://www.starandgarterleamington.co.uk/

http://www.starandgarterleamington.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2016/03/Star-Garter-Spring-16-MAIN-MENU-Toast-1.pdf

https://twitter.com/star_leamington?lang=en-gb

https://m.facebook.com/TheStarGarter

A new star is born: The Star and Garter pub in Leamington, gets new look. 


   

  
   
 The Highfield in Edgbaston has been one of my favourite places to eat and drink in Birmingham since it opened just over a year ago. So I was pleased to hear that over in Leamington Spa in Warwickshire 

its sister pub The Star and Garter has had a refurbishment and re opened with a new menu that has numerous vegetarian options. 

Since being taken over by award-winning independent local pub company Peach, The Star & Garter has earned itself a place on the social scene, building up a reputation for offering good, fresh seasonal food and quality drinks, with friendly service to match, as new pub manager Colin Barber explains.

 “The Star & Garter is a lovely pub in a gorgeous period building in the heart of Leamington Spa. Having moved in three years ago, we’ve been warmly welcomed by the townspeople who’ve quickly made us their own. After getting to know our guests really well and asking what they wanted from their local, we’ve made the pub an even better, more sociable place to be. We’ve also added new seasonal dishes and quality drinks from great suppliers, many local,” he says.

 “We’ve updated our style, starting with an eye-catching new sign and a warmer, cosier interior making the pub more intimate. The bar’s been opened up and we’ve added more informal seating throughout. There are comfy booths and sofas in warm fabrics and soft leather, mellow wooden tables and chairs and quirky exposed brick effect wallpaper. The eatery has been completely restyled with spacious booths, creating an informal yet stylish place where you can eat, drink and relax wherever you like,” he says.

 On offer is a new Noon & Night Menu, with traditional pub classics, superfood dishes and seasonal specials from brunch through til late. Head chef Jakub Fijak uses great local and British produce in his dishes that keep the menu fresh and invigorated. 

 There is also a wide range of quality gins, with your choice of tonic, served in a grand coupe with plenty of ice, fruit and juniper berries, alongside local ales and premium long neck lagers, a new cocktail and mocktail list and even beer cocktails.

 “Our new style is all about being sociable, bringing more choice and more good things to eat and drink, whenever you visit. We want you to feel very welcome and right at home, whether you pop into the eatery for a burger, linger a bit longer over a three course dinner or simply join us for a drink,” says Colin.

 The Star & Garter is at 4-6 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa CV32 5LL. Tel: 01926 359 960.

http://www.starandgarterleamington.co.uk/

Twitter: Star_Leamington Facebook: TheStarGarter 

New menu highlights for vegetarians include: 

Major or Minor Orders, small pots for £3.50 or three pots (a board) for £9.50. 

Veggie Options include: 

Red lentil falafels, spicy yogurt, Wooky Hole cheddar and Parsnip Cakes, Tomato Jam, Superfood Salad, Quinoa, Sweet Potato, Broccoli and pomegranate, lemon and honey. 

Brunch is served from 9am to noon and vegetarians can enjoy Smashed avocado on toast with Poached egg, American pancakes, maple syrup, ricotta and banana. All eggs are local and free-range.

Mains include Superfood Salad, Quinoa, Sweet Potato, Broccoli & Pomegranate, Lemon & Honey (£6.50 or £12.00), Spicy Bean Burger, served in a Brioche Bun with Chips, Onion Rings & Coleslaw and Roast Squash and  Spinach and Barley Wellington, vegetarian gravy. 

With dishes changing seasonally and with a daily specials board The Star and Garter is one to keep an eye on for vegetarians. 

 

   
 
Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

All photos courtesy of The Star and Garter Leamington. 

The Bluebell in Henley in Arden nominated for two prestigious regional awards 


 

The Bluebell in Henley-in-Arden, the two AA rosette awarded gastropub, has been nominated in the ‘best pub’ and ‘best restaurant’ categories in the Coventry & Warwickshire Tourism & Culture Awards 2015.

The 14th century gastropub, which has two AA Rosettes for culinary excellence, offers diners a simple, European cuisine with an indulgent twist, while its traditional bar plays host to craft beers, local cask ales and fine wines. 

Celebrating a decade in business this year, The Bluebell has become one of Henley-in-Arden’s most desirable drinking and dining destinations, with its emphasis on quality and provenance of food not going unnoticed by the judges.

The awards, which have been organised by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and media company Quidem, have been designed to showcase the diverse range of attractions, venues and experiences that Warwickshire has to offer, and will take place on Thursday 24th September at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. Winners in some categories will then automatically be entered into the 2016 Visit England Awards.

Leigh Taylor, owner of The Bluebell, said: “To be a finalist in two of the categories is a huge achievement. We aim to deliver top-quality food that is sourced locally, as well as provide a welcoming and traditional bar for our drinkers, and it’s fantastic to be recognised for our hard work – especially in our 10th year. We’re looking forward to the ceremony and hope that we can bring back an award.”

  
The Bluebell’s philosophy is that they work with local chosen producers to develop a seasonal menu with the produce that’s available. 

I’ve never been to The Bluebell, and though their vegetarian options are limited they sound tempting and seasonal (which is great) and they are willing to be flexible on request which is even better. 

On their current sample menu on their website they list: 

Starters: 

Roast vine tomato and red pepper soup, rosemary focaccia, basil pesto. 

Deep fried Halloumi, baba ganoush, Cotswold tomatoes, pomegranate molasses, basil oil. 

Mains: sadly only one choice, 

Pomme Anna, broccoli and black pepper purée, pickled red peppers, goats cheese. 

They also offer Afternoon Tea and provide various menus from £18 PP for te seasonal to £40 PP for the Duval LeRoy Rose Tea. 

  
In particular The Bluebell looks a good place for a mixed party of veggies and non veggies. 

For more information about The Bluebell visit: 

http://www.bluebellhenley.co.uk/

http://www.bluebellhenley.co.uk/menu/

http://www.bluebellhenley.co.uk/afternoon-tea/

Thanks for reading 

Andy 😊

  
Photos/images courtesy of Clive Reeves PR and The Bluebell Henley.