Archive for restaurants

Review: Vegan dining at Alchemilla, Nottingham

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2017 by yvettemartyn

Good news for all those eating a plant based diet, Alchemilla restaurant in Nottingham can prepare a 10 course vegan tasting menu and may soon be getting a Michelin Star.  Naturally, my partner and I were very keen to check it out.  


The restaurant opened in August 2017 and is the brain child of head chef Alex Bond who owns the place, having previously cooked at Sat Bains, Nottingham.  I’m told his philosophy is that people eat too much meat and so even for the carnivores there is an emphasis on vegetables.

The décor is beautifully simplistic.  The building is a renovated coach house that sat empty for 150 years.  Exposed brickwork line the walls and terrariums are placed elegantly on the centre of tables.

The booking system on the website is very good, you can instantly see the times that are available for lunch and dinner.  Although you’d be lucky to get a weekend evening reservation unless you’re planning several months in advance.

The bread...


When will I learn… stop filling up on bread. The bread was warm and melted in your mouth, it was accompanied by a olive oil vegan margarine served on a large black rock. When the waitress asked if we’d like some more I couldn’t resist.

1. BBQ Shiitake, mushroom ketchup, furikake

The first dish was one of our favourites, it had a Japanese feel to it with shiitake mushrooms marinated in a sweet BBQ sauce.  It was surrounded by dabs of mushroom ketchup dotted on the plate.  The fungi were garnished with a granulated seaweed coating, as fine as flour, it simply melts on your palate.


2. Hay smoked potato, onion, seaweed

The second dish was a pyramid of chopped seaweed and onion, covered with slithers of potato. It sat like an island in a pool of creamy sauce that tasted of miso.  Again a delicious dish.  The only negative feedback is that the bowl, while absolutely beautiful, was very deep.  I guess some thought went into this to spare messy eaters from splatters.  If it was a little bit shallower the dish would have been easier to get to.


3. Leek, hazelnut

A bed of pureed leek was placed below a piece of roasted leek.  The double helping of leek was encased in powdered hazelnut and was drizzled with chive oil and scattered with chopped hazelnuts.


4. Onion, wakame , peppercorn sauce

A whole baby onion was presented in a peppercorn sauce and diffused with chopped wakame seaweed.


5. Cauliflower, roasted yeast, almond

We felt this was a take on cauliflower cheese.  Florets of cauliflower were covered with an almond tuile, composed of glucose syrup and almond.  The cauliflower was flavoured with roasted yeast and tasted great with the glacé sugar topping.


6. Salt baked celeriac, roasted celeriac broth

All the celeriac! Pureed celeriac was concealed by salt baked celeriac and surrounded by a broth of roasted celeriac.  The plate was drizzled with chive oil and covered in thinly sliced raw mushrooms.  It was our least favourite savoury dish, but that’s only because the other dishes were amazing and we’re just not into celeriac.


7. BBQ hispy cabbage, hazelnut, puffed rice

A piece of cabbage was barbequed to a crisp, I’m not a fan of the hint of charcoal taste you get with this kind of cooking as I feel it’s a bit bitter.  But it’s to a lot of people’s liking and it was balanced well with the other components of the dish.  We loved the puffed rice and hazelnut shavings and it came in a smooth hazelnut milk doted with garlic and chive oil.


8. Apple pie

Next it was desert time and our first helping was especially special.  A warm poached apple was hidden beneath frozen granita.  The two were blended together as the iced granita met with the warmer apple, producing a cool ice cream broth around the jellified apple.

9. Chocolate, miso, banana, lime

A sauce of warm miso tasted of salted caramel and was served with tepid banana, chocolate mousse and was topped with a crispy chocolate wafer sprinkled with lime zest.

10. Prune, rice cream, pear

This was a take on rice pudding which was placed beneath a tiny scoop of soft ice cream and surrounded with dabs of fruit flavoured gel and prunes.  It was scattered with shards of caramelised sugar.  Flavours of spiced pear complemented the cool creaminess of the pudding relaxing the palate as the meal came to a close.


Overall we found the meal amazing. We were so impressed that so much effort had gone into producing such an incredible plant based menu. We advise you to head down quickly as it’s only a matter of time until the restaurant is awarded a Michelin star.


Vegan Barbados

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2015 by yvettemartyn

For the last few years I’ve been taking all my holidays in Los Angeles where being a vegan is as common as wearing shoes, but thus when my annual leave came around in March I didn’t want to risk coming back without a suntan so I settled on Barbados.

The island is 21 miles long and 15 miles so everything is accessible including a selection of vegan restaurants.  If you want to taste some Rastafarian vegan culinary delights, then I’d recommend hiring a car.

Before you go, check the opening hours, a lot of places only open for lunch and many aren’t open at all on Sunday’s.


The Good Life


This place is a little gem, nestled away behind a shopping plaza.  It’s a small building with an outdoor feel as there are large openings at the front which blow the warm sea breeze in.  It’s run by Rastafarians who are incredibly nice.  We felt so welcomed by the two men working there, they spoke in such a calm friendly manner, it was impossible not to feel relaxed in such a tranquil setting.


Everything is vegan and the menu is a mix of faux meats in wraps alongside traditional dishes with an elaborate smoothie menu.  I had a tofu pitta with bbq chicken on the side and my partner had a mild coconut curry.


The Good Life, Rockley, Saint Michael, Barbados. 


On Hastings Main Road you’ll find the Quayside Centre Shopping Plaza, this looks a bit like a strip mall with a convenience store, cell phone store etc.  Stand and look at the shopping centre, walk to your right around the circumference of the centre towards the rear and you’ll see The Good Life, it’s a small building with it’s logo painted on the wall alongside it. 
Opens daily 10am-10pm




Although listed as “Vegan Friendly” on HappyCow, this place is so much more than that.  It has the vibe of a takeaway but there are a couple of tables, and a total of six chairs inside if you wanted to perch somewhere to eat your meal.  The owners are a couple who eat a vegan diet, completely free of dairy and egg but they do serve fish.


There is a large selection of vegan dishes which include: standard burgers, chick’in burger (tofu and chick pea), hot dogs etc.  They also serve a selection of fish (perfect if you’re partner isn’t a vegan).  They have an excellent selection of drinks including their “fruitis” which consists of vegan milk alongside fruit concoctions.


Their philosophy is to provide dishes made with local food and they even hand prepare a range of vegan ice cream using ingredients sourced locally including: coconut, seamoss, coffee and mango.  If you’re vegan you should definitely stop by.




How to find:
Hastings Main road, Christ Church
This is on Hasting’s Main Road opposite the Healthy Horizons Beach apartments


Currently opens 10am-9pm Mon-Sat


Sweet potato hummus and sweet potato fries

Sweet potato hummus and sweet potato fries

This is an all round beachside cafe serving meat, fish and some vegetarian options, it made it on my list because the staff were incredibly accommodating.  When I mentioned I was a vegan they checked with the kitchen and even brought me the pita bread wrapper so I could check the ingredients, they also offered to make additional dishes for me which weren’t on the menu.  They’re as accommodating with other diets such as Coeliacs and stock gluten free pasta.
I went for the sweet potato and garlic hummus which comes with vegan pita bread alongside this I had the sweet potato fries.  They also offered to make a stir fry or salad up for me as well.  This was a compromise with my partner (meat eater) who was recommended the blackened barracuda, which the waiter stated was the catch of the day and my partner found this excellent.


You cannot beat the views, we sat on a table looking directly at the ocean, with the sea waves coming in a few feet away. Take a brief stroll and you’re at Folkestone Marine Park, which has areas for swimmers to snorkel away from jet ski’s and a lifeguard on duty.




How to find:
Highway 1, Holetown.
This is in Holetown, an upmarket resort.  You access the restaurant from Highway one (the main road through the resort) where there is ample parking on site or you can come in directly from the beach.


Mon-Sat 11am-11pm
Sun 11:30am-11pm


Vegan Cottage
A medley of vegan cuisine at Vegan Cottage

A medley of vegan cuisine at Vegan Cottage

This place is a must for all vegans, it’s a little cottage transformed into a restaurant, and is the most “restaurant like” of all the vegan places I visited on the island, with formal seating and table clothes.


We were greeted by a lovely lady who asked a bit about our diets, I told her I’m a vegan and I’m not into spicy food and she was happy to accommodate.  She is genuinely interested in getting to know her guests and asked with interest about where we’re from and what our holiday plans were.


After a few minutes we were brought a plate of food, there are no menus here and you are dished up a mix of lovely vegan food which included: pasta, grains, split pea mash, mince, sausage, greens and salad.  The mix of flavours in the traditional Barbados cuisine made this place one of a kind.


We were also offered a refreshing home made juice (also lovely) and for desert we were brought a cassava flour muffin.  Total cost was 25BBD each (£8 a head for a main course, dessert and freshly made juice- you can’t beat that price!)




How to find:
Black Rock Road, Bridgetown, Barbados
Various people have explained how to get here on the web with quite confusing instructions, my advice is just to drive down Black Rock Road and keep your eyes open, it’s on the side of the road which is closest to the sea.  I’ve put a map here with it’s approximate location.

Evening dining by the sea at Naru

This is a Japanese beachside restaurant in Christ Church and the most upmarket restaurant on the list, it too serves meat and fish alongside vegetarian options.  But has a separate vegetarian menu, the restaurant has a “mock duck” which is suitable for vegans and the waiters are extremely attentive.


We were sat on a table next to the sea, with fire lanterns lighting up the sand as the waves broke just meters away.


The staff were able to check suitable items on the menu and accommodate my vegan diet.  When my partner and I wanted to share a starter of sushi but I wanted mine vegan without jalapeños and he wanted his half as spicy as possible, they let us know that this would be no problem at all.
I had the braised mock duck with rice, it was a bit sweet for my liking but my partner tells me this is what a traditional Hoisin sauce tastes like (I wouldn’t know).  My partner went for the catch of the day again and found it was cooked to perfection within a coconut and ginger emulsion.




How to find:
The Shak Shak Complex, Hastings, Christ Church, Barbados
(On The South Coast Boardwalk)
Top tip: when making a reservation, ask for a table by the sea