Banish your visions of tasteless tofu and dull salads. These veggie restaurants are providing colourful tasty fusions that look like art on a plate.
I’ve rounded up the creme-de-la-creme of Cornwall's veggie scene here.
Do you agree with our choices?
PERFECT FOR... A DAY OUT WITH THE FAMILY
With grumbling tummies we drove along the quintessentially narrow, winding Cornish roads to feast on a well-earned organic breakfast at the Potager. The café is inside an original 1970’s timber greenhouse in the middle of the Potager garden grounds, which means one can gaze out and see where a lot of the ingredients will have been plucked from! We were so eager to see what the chef and baker duo Awen and Tanya would come up with.
When the food arrived, it was difficult to choose whether to admire it for a while or gobble it up immediately! Homemade bread topped with a poached egg, further topped with parsley and edible flowers – delish! The cheddar and sage polenta cake is gorgeous (and what an original breakfast recipe). The crispy potatoes were coupled nicely with rosemary. The mushrooms (usually my least favourite invitee to the breakfast party) were indulgently soaked in wine and thyme for maximum melt in the mouth…ness. And all brought together with, homemade (yes homemade) baked beans. All for the meager price of £6.50. Can you tell that I enjoyed it?
Is there such a thing as breakfast dessert or should I wait until lunchtime to tuck into my almond and elderflower cake?
PERFECT FOR...A UNIQUE BIRTHDAY MEAL
Rose (the host and head cake maker) and Josh (the chef) are game changers. They are masterfully producing creative, wholesome, vegan dishes from scratch, which are bursting with flavour.
Wildebeest feels fresh and modern, with whitewashed walls, lush green plants, and natural wooden tables (made by a good friend of theirs.) The restaurant is small and intimate and seeing as we came in as a big galumphing group they made us feel very at home.
Their changing blackboard menu displays their diverse influences: I chose the Miso soup, followed by blue tacos. The miso soup was accompanied by a lovely subtly flavoursome helping of seaweed salad (of which I had to order extra so that everyone could have a try.) The tacos were a thing of beauty, all the colours of the rainbow: bright tangy salsa, butternut squash, cashew cheese, avocado and refried beans – I didn’t miss the huge pile of cheddar I usually cover my Mexican food in at all. I also tried a bit of the lentil pate with orange and apricot jelly – A new one for me with much more flavour than I thought. I wanted to try the babaganoush but needed to leave room for the homemade BBQ pineapple and black pepper ice creamWildebeest is a fabulous experience (especially if you’ve never considered vegan food to be your thing before) and it’s priced so reasonably - you could get a 3 courser and a drink and still have change from £20.
PEA SOUK, FALMOUTH
PERFECT FOR...NO NONSENSE LUNCH WITH FRIENDS
Take a stroll down Falmouth’s busy Church Street and you could easily miss this little backstreet beauty. A small gate with a cluster of iron flying fish marks Well Lane. Amble up the path and you will soon arrive at a tiny slice of Arabia.
The walls are an eclectic mix, with ornate mirrors, black and white photographs and a couple of Hundertwasser and Schiele prints. The furnishings, with dashes of red are fiery and bold - which brings us on to the chef.
Nicola is a plain speaking, Cordon-Vert trained chef, who opened Pea Souk 6 years ago after spending many years travelling and researching food cultures. Her accuracy is evident in all the food she produces.
At lunchtime you can choose from the famous Pea Souk tart, which is ever changing with the seasons (beautiful and delicious), happy pig porkless pies (trademarked) and many others all served with a lovely selection of salads.
I like to share (as I usually get a serious case of food envy) so went for the mezze platter. Here, Nicola shows precision with great falafel, delicious beetroot houmous, marinated feta, olives, herby tabboleh and vegetables roasted to perfection.
I also love having my tea served in an Arabic teapot!
The Pea Souk monthly Supper Club on first Saturday evening of the month proves that Nicola can produce exciting dishes from around the world all enjoyed in her intimate setting (£25 for 3 courses with live music).
PS check out the new sister food stop 'The Dog & Smuggler' perched on the quayside for homemade and traditional pasties including smoked haddock and leek and the famous Jamaican pattie pasty. Falafel boxes, vegan ice cream, homemade cakes and soups and doggy treats too!
THE BEAN INN, CARBIS BAY, ST IVES
PERFECT FIRST DATE
We strolled through the garden and arrived at the Bean Inn to such a wonderful reception. The hosts Paula and Kate are fun and enthusiastic and when it comes to vegetarian food, they know their stuff. The focus at the Bean Inn is not on one nationality, but a collection of dishes from around the world.
We started with some nibbles: marinated halkidiki olives (hot!) and a wonderful homemade houmous duo with bread to dip. For starters we had the puy lentil, avocado and walnut salad and the griddled halloumi with sweet potato wedges. The salad was colourful and zingy, with a beetroot dressing, the usual mellow taste of halloumi set on fire with harissa sauce. For mains, we had the potato cakes with pea curry and tarka dahl and the blue cheese, white grape and red onion tart. I hadn’t imagined a potato cake could be so interesting as the star of it’s own main – but it works. The tart was wholesome and left us with just enough room for the chockerbocker glory.
THE CORNISH VEGAN, TRURO
PERFECT FOR... CATCHING UP WITH MUM
This is a little haven of vegan comfort food with a beautiful suntrap of a garden out back! Everything is made in-house or sourced from local Cornish artisans:
Soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, homemade sausages & fried ‘chickin’, BBQ jackfruit, cream teas, cakes, raw desserts, juices, beer and wine.
I have sampled a selection of their cakes to takeaway and have frankly been blown away! Can't wait to join them for a full English (Tuesday - Saturday mornings) or a vegan roast dinner (last Sunday of the month.)