Restaurant Review: Pushkar’s Vegan Festival.


I don’t mind confessing to it but Ruth and I have always had a love for and indeed at one point minor obsession with Pushkar. When we first met we spent so much time eating there that it became our regular place to visit for that time when you needed a bit of affordable class in your life. Of course there were others who tempted our purse strings to loosen and our desire for a Lasan curry got in the way sometimes of the monogamy completely.

Recently due to an arrival of young Hare, it’s well documented in this blog we don’t get out much into the big smoke of the city. In fact we don’t get out that much at all unless I’m reviewing the park or which route is the best to take to take him to school. So Pushkar has been a distant stranger over recent times of our lives. Call it a separation rather than divorce, but that far away feeling felt more distant than a European holiday or a Michelin starred lunch.

So the arrival of a Vegan festival that runs until February 28th, pricked up my ears as a superlative idea, and a blog post came out immediately. Quick work considering my blog absence recently.

Pushkar in my personal opinion is the dining out jewel on Broad Street. It has a welcoming bar, friendly informed staff and has a quality menu of well cooked and tasty high end food. It’s popular for those reasons. The right reasons. The Vegan festival menu though surprised me for its dazzlement and detail. So many dishes that would all fit on Pushkar’s main menu and show a sensitive touch of thought for the plant based way. It demonstrated on paper at least that this could be done. The question though could it deliver?

Things are done elegantly here. An opening course of Chukander Ki Galouti is a lovely beetroot cake with beetroot chutney. Crisp on the outside, soft inside, it melts in the mouth and has a delicate spicing. Made perfectly.

Ruth’s Corn Palak Ki Tiki, chopped spinach filled with spice corn, a lovely tiki, with good flavour and beautifully presented.

Corn Palak Ki Tiki

Chukander Ki Galouti.

A brilliant kesari Puktan Subz, main course shows true skill to balance flavour and spicing without one overwhelming the other. A Butternut squash gravy has depth and immerses the vegetables, green beans, carrot and mushroom to provide a filling main with the heat of the cumin seeds giving a punch. Perfect with the roti and Naan.

Another main the Jeera Aloo Sharkandi is the star of the show tonight. Boiled potato, and sweet potato tempered with cumin seeds, green chilli and coriander leaves is outstanding and finds a true friend in the Kesari main alongside it. A delicious bowl of Loud singing and lip smacking ensures.

We also tried Moong Ki Daal, another lovely dish of yellow lentils tempered with garlic, ginger, and green chilli. A top Daal and full of gentle warmth on a cold night.

Accompaniments included a Corn rice, basmati infused with saffron and Corn which was nice, a Koda Ki Roti, Rag flour bread. A ‘Super Cereal’ which was quite heavy I found but not bad as an alternative to Naan bread.

An Aloo Paratha was more to my liking. A superb dunking in bread, superb with the Kesari Puktan Subz.

Our Dessert of Carrot, coconut Pudding was a triumph of harmonious flavours, gentle and sweet. I loved the flavours. Delicious in every way.

We also enjoyed a vegan friendly Merlot with our food.

Service is informed, attentive and enthusiastic for the menu. A relaxed feel that’s top notch in standard.

So the Vegan festival menu didn’t disappoint.

Dishes are varied, and full of good spicy flavour. The menu shows a thoughtfulness and a lot of technical skill to balance the ingredients, I’m impressed by the restaurants keenness to adapt and present the food in a sophisticated and tempting way. All of the dishes tried were winners and demonstrated that Indian food which is not known necessarily known to be vegan friendly can be developed with some consideration. A beautiful menu that hits the right notes. Pushkar style.

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

Our food and drink was complimentary for review purposes to promote the Pushkar Vegan Festivals. All thoughts and words are my own.

Vegan friendly popodoms and sauces are available too. Please ask for them as we had the non vegan variety which were lovely. Hence no photo.

Also there are vegan friendly cocktails available.

http://pushkardining.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/vegan-menu-3354.pdf

Pushkar can be found at 245 Broad Street, Birmingham.

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Restaurant review: Mezze at So Mezze and lounge, Birmingham.


  

So Mezze is a reassuring place.  When you look at the menu you are greeted with a long list of Vegetarian dishes that cover All mezze bases and are salavatingly bursting with happiness. 

You cannot underestimate the comfort this brings and though the proof is in the eating its a positive start. The menu offers a mixture of cold and hot mezze, like tapas small dishes to share and ideal for grazing on with a cocktail from the long cocktail list. 

So Mezze serves Lebanese Mezze and is located in Birmingham City Centre in Holloway Head between Broad Street (near the ICC) and the Arcadian provides a lounging experience thats has a calm relaxed Arabesque feel about it and a comfortable cosy arrangement of seating and tables that asks you to linger long into the evening.

 

  
The beautiful thing about Mezze like tapas is its informality. Sharing food is one of my favourite things to do so the long  and varied vegetarian menu was perfect for Ruth and I to share, with plenty to satisfy all tastes.

We began with a couple of cocktail. Ruth the Dry Gin Martini and myself the Old Cuban. Both excellent with the perfect hit of ingredients. The rum and bourbon in mine, deep and velvety, reassuringly complimenting the informality of the dishes. Ruths with the perfect balance of gin and perfectly made. So good we had two more. Superb cocktails. 

  Gin Martini
  Old Cuban 

  

The dishes we ate were: 

Cold Mezze: Humous, Baba Ganoush, Tabouleh, Fatoush, Warak Enab,

Hot Mezze: Batata Harra, Grilled Halloumi, Sambousek cheese, and Falafal, served with flat bread. 

All the dishes were excellent, lovely examples of authenticity and fully enjoyable. 

Take the cold Mezze dish Baba Ganoush, smoky rich, creamy, the distinct aubergine flavour meltingly good on an excellent flatbread.

The Warak Enab, vine leaves stuffed full of rice and spices, morsels of delight and perfect alongside a superbly creamy and silky smooth Humous and light and refreshing Tabouleh with its summery flavours and minty, Parsley soothing hit and the light and breezy Fatoush with its lettuce, tomato, cucumber, mint and onion on flatbread and olive oil dressing. The salads tempered with Middle East herbs are delicious. 

The hot Mezze were equally indulgent and summery. 

The star dish Batata Harra, spiced Lebanese fried potatoes cooked with peppers, chillies, garlic and Corriander. Small morsels if punchy flavours taken alongside the savoury Grilled Halloumi, with its golden brown savoury touch a delight. 

Another dish, the falafel had the perfect weight and flavour. Small balls of chickpeas and onion ( I’m a big fan of chickpeas) deep fried with a tahini sauce. Delicious. 

The only dish that was not such a winner to me was the Sambousek Cheese, which was a light savoury cheese pastry with feta cheese and parsley which was disappointingly bland compared with the deep savoury flavours of the other hot dishes. Shame.

The dishes also came with rice.
  Falafel.  

Batata Harra.

  Fatoush

  Tabouleh.

  Sambousek Cheese

  Humous

  Baba Ganoush  Warak Enab

    
  

Grilled Halloumi  Flatbread

    Rice 

    Veggie menu £20 per person.

Been quite full we decided to share a beautifully sticky and filling Syrup Drizzled Baklava: soaked layers of pastry and chopped nuts, sticky, syrupy. It’s all in the name, delicious especially with the fresh and refreshing mint tea that we enjoyed with it.

    Baklava

  

 Fresh mint tea.

  
  
Our meal at So Mezze was a generous meal. For Vegetarians it’s an excellent choice. With plenty of choice, to fill a number of repeated visits. The set menu allows a full journey and the delight in eating food in a shared informal way is perfect for summer or a group party. It has a confidence in itself, unfussy, and enjoyable in its simple charms. They also cater for vegans and Gluten Free diets with notice when booking and reassuringly  having so much choice is its key to its enjoyment. All the dishes we tried were excellent and we’d have no hesitation to visit again. A hidden, cool and fun gem in the city centre and perfect for us veggies.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

So Mezze,  89 Holloway Head, Birmingham, B1 1QP.

http://www.so-mezze.co.uk/

https://m.facebook.com/somezze/

You can receive a discount of 25% with The Gastro Card at So Mezze from Sunday-Thursday.
http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/restaurants/so-mezze-lounge/

Our meal and drinks were complimentary at So Mezze because of my work for The Gastro Card. All my opinions are honest and my own as always. 

  

The Gastro Card: Buy yours at a discount price here. 


Recently I’ve teamed up with The Gastro Card to be their Vegetarian blogger/reviewer. You’ll see on my blog a few reviews of their restaurants from time to time that they’ll share with their members, their website and on social media. 

  
Via this blog post I’ve got a Discount Offer on The Gastro Card, so read on to the end of the post. 

I’ve already written a review for Marco’s New York Italian at The Holiday inn, see here: 

https://t.co/AMwyOyzFwL

If like me you like to eat out and feel sometimes that it’s too expensive to do on a regular basis, then maybe just maybe The Gastro Card is for you. 
What is The Gastro Card? 

The Gastro Card is the Midlands leading independent dining card. It provides Gastro Card members with 12 months unlimited access to exclusive dining offers at more than 200+ hand picked restaurants. 

These offers are not available to the general public and the offers range from 10% to 50% off the food bill to a free glass of wine or champagne for each diner to complimentary bottles of wine, 50% off wine when dining A La Carte etc. Gastro Card members can save up to £500 a year if they use their card once a week. 

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/

Where can I eat? 

The Gastro Card has partner restaurants in Birmingham, Black Country, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Cotswolds, Leicestershire, Herefordshire, Solihull, Rutland, Stratford Upon Avon, Henley in Arden, Worstershire, Coventry, Leamington. 

   Bistro 1847

Henry Wong   Asha’s

Some of my favourites are on the list, including Vegetarian Bistro 1847 in Birmingham where you can get 50% off Monday- Thursday and 25% off on Friday’s and Saturdays.

Plus Henry Wong, Adams, Purnells Bistro, Peels restaurant at Hampton Manor, Ashas, Itihaas, Edmunds, Jyoti’s vegetarian, Kababish-Moseley, Hotel Du Vin, Chung Ying Central, Gas Street Social, Opus, Amantia, And many more. 

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/restaurants/

What’s the deal? 

To buy a Gastro Card it will usually cost you £30 a year. 

For Veggie Foodie readers I have a special code that will get you £5 off a full 12 month card. 

That’s £25 for a full year of restaurant discounts. 

Just click on the link below to take you to the Gastro Card website and put the code VeggieFoodie in the promo code box for a 12 month Gastro Card it will deduct £5 from the total.

http://www.gastrocard.co.uk/buy-the-gastro-card/

Disclosure: The code gives you £5 off the standard price of the Gastro Card . By using the code I make a few pence too at no extra cost to yourselves. 

Enjoy the card and foodie treats.

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊
 Marco’s New York Italian at Birmingham Airport.

   Marco’s New York Italian.

  Opus Reataurant 

  Bistro 1847.

   Amantia Restaurant

 Purnells Bistro
   Asha’s 

 Peels Restaurant at Hampton Manor. 

  Met Bar and Kitchen, Solihull.