Saturday, 21 April 2012

Review #2 - Eden Project Café, St Austell

Have to be perfectly honest to start with - the initial draw of the Café was that my other half works at the Eden Project and gets 50% off food. What can I say? Not that I don’t like to stick my hand in my pocket but I do love a bargain! Also there aren't a lot of cafés around St. Austell town centre so this quirky place is a real attraction, once you find it!

The menu here is quite simple and basic but they do offer vegan options and use local produce wherever possible. Everything is mostly homemade, too. On the specials board you’ll find the soup of the day, which is usually vegan, but do ask just in case! There tends to be a stew or curry dish which again is generally vegan - this time it was Tunisian-style vegan stew with kale, chickpeas and North African spices. 

Today I went for the Bean Burger. The mildly spiced homemade patty is served in one of the Eden Bakery’s sea salt topped rolls with salad and chutney. If you’re ordering off the menu, be aware that it does come with a separate pot of sour cream, but you can either push it to one side or just ask for it without. We also had the Mountain of Wedges (again, homemade) to share, naughty but delicious!

Drinks wise, there’s an assortment of coffees and teas with soy milk available. The homemade cordial of the day is always good too, especially the lemonade! If you purchase one of the Eden Project’s aluminium flasks, the cordial is free and you can top up as many times as you like on any visit. There’s also a choice of alcoholic beverages if you so wish.

The Café also sells a selection of bread, cakes, pastries and other baked goodies. I’d recommend asking the staff what products are vegan-proof though as I didn’t notice any signs.

Opening hours are Mon-Sat 0845-1730, Sun 1000-1600. Friday evenings, the café plays host to live music acts with snacks and some seasonal hot food available till late. There's also a "book exchange" in the middle of the room by the fire pit and some nice comfortable sofas to sit on and read.

On the whole, a great place for lunch if you happen to find yourself in St. Austell during the day. 4/5.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Review #1 - The Beached Lamb Café

So today we ventured into Newquay. I’d wanted to try the Beached Lamb Café for some time now and I needed something to write about for my blog so it seemed like a good excuse!

First up, let me just talk about the menu. How refreshing it was to see so many vegan options, especially when the establishment is not strictly vegan or vegetarian. There really is something for everyone. My other half is not vegan, so it was particularly nice for us to go out for a meal and both be able to pick something directly from the menu that we can enjoy without being “difficult” or “fussy”!

The café itself was very welcoming. Whilst the front area was light and airy, we were shown a space at the back strewn with lots of cushions and beanbags, low tables, soft lighting and relaxing décor. Amazingly comfortable and would be a wonderful place for lunch with a small group of friends.

Onto lunch. The salads, sandwiches and sharing plates all sounded great, but we both plumped for a burger. We were given the choice of chips on the side or a salad with raspberry and mustard dressing. The latter sounded yummy but guilty pleasure won over! A little disappointed to see when it arrived that none of our food was homemade, therefore not too sure about value for money at £14 for two burgers… however, they both tasted great!

Lots of choice again for drinks. All coffee was organic and fairtrade and soy milk was available. There was also a good selection of teas and chilled soft drinks. The homemade shakes and smoothies sounded wonderful, with dairy-free options of course. We both opted for the pineapple and coconut smoothie, which turned out to be a fine choice - delicious!

Overall we both enjoyed the Beached Lamb Café and will definitely be back. I think our initial disappointment with the food was outweighed by the relaxing, friendly atmosphere… and lets face it, there are lots of other menu choices for our next visit! Would definitely recommend to anyone - vegan or otherwise. 4/5!