Review: Tibits Heddon Street (London)

It’s been years, maybe even half a decade, since someone first recommended I visit Tibits and finally I made it through the door. Obviously this isn’t breaking news but we loved this place so we’re going to give it a review anyway.

The buffet (is it egg-shaped or avocado-shaped? or a very badly shaped boat?) is all vegetarian with clearly marked vegan options. And you pay for the weight of food you have on your plate. I tried to restrain myself a little but we all know I didn’t.

I can’t remember what exactly all that was. I do remember the highlights: the glass noodles and wakame, the jollof rice, and the pak choi were my favourites. The only thing I didn’t like was kimchi which was oddly bland. Kate had less of a selection and wasn’t a great fan of the wakame but she had a good meal. Not good enough to skip desert.

Kate loved the Victoria sponge, my favourite was the mango mousse, and we both liked the chocolate. We may be late to the party but we had a great time. And we’ll try to make it back to Tibits sometime in the next five years.

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Review: Crosstown Marylebone (London)

We popped across to London on Thursday. Unfortunately it was just for an appointment, not a protest. While we were there it only made sense to find some yummy vegan treats. I especially wanted to try the vegan location of Crosstown Doughnuts which had opened just two days after our last visit.

The shop is small with just two tables outside and a bar inside. It has plenty of doughnuts though. I was torn between trying one of the more adventurous combinations or getting something more plain. In the end I went for the Vegan Chocolate Truffle, somewhat between the two.

Here the doughnut is topped with dark chocolate and has a truffle filling. It’s a very grown up chocolate doughnut. Dark, decadent and absolutely perfect.

Kate, as is traditional, went for the pink one. This is orange blossom, with pistachios and pomegranate. There is an orange custard inside and it was just as delicious as my chocolate choice but a bit more light and summery in flavour. This would be a two-thumbs-up review that would enthusiastically recommend you go to buy doughnuts if it wasn’t for one thing that’s been bothering me. This is a card-only location. No cash is accepted and that means that anyone who can’t get a card is shut out. Yeah that’s a small minority but its generally a vulnerable one. And as vegans we should be looking out for the vulnerable in society. I still recommend visiting for the doughnuts but if the no cash thing bothers you too maybe shoot an email.

Review: Angels Tea Rooms

One of my most frequently asked questions is where can you find a vegan cream tea. Well now I know. I was invited to Angels Tea Room on Babbacombe Downs and got a chance to check out their vegan options.

This is it. This is the Angels Tea with roasted Mediterranean sandwiches and dairy-free scones with soy spread and strawberry jam. Depending on your waiter it can be a bit of a faff to order. Asking for no butter, asking for no clotted cream, clarifying that yes, you do want both scones to be dairy-free. But you get a tea at the end of it. The scones are great, the sandwiches a little sloppy.

And the tea? Well, it’s loose leaf, which is good, but there is no clear jug to pour it into once it’s done so your second cup is over-brewed. I know I’m fussier about tea than most people though. So am I going to go back? Yes for the scones, no for the tea and sandwiches.

Review: Bosh! (the book)

When the Bosh! book came out back in April the vegan world was pretty excited. At least the ones who were fans of their recipe videos. Me, not so much. I can’t really cook from videos. I like things written down. Excited or not, I couldn’t resist when I saw it half price.

I struggled a little to find what recipe to make first. A lot of the recipes call for ingredients that aren’t Kate-approved: lots of courgettes, aubergine, and sweet potato in various bakes and sauces. Jane’s Pan Con Tomate seemed like a safe bet. I thought it was delicious at least. The seasoning worked really well.

Kate agreed with me on the Patatas Bravas though: we both thought it was delicious. As a bonus it was easy to make. All these recipes are. That’s kind of the point of it really. Simple, flavourful recipes, all vegan. It’s a great book to have around for weeknight suppers.

In the few short months I’ve had this book the Special Fried Rice has worked its way into our rotation. And it’s a great example of what I said above. It’s simple, the flavours are great, it’s got your carbs, veggies and protein all in one bowl. But then it also highlights one of my main problems with the book. What’s the deal with all the salt? I’m not anti-salt, I don’t have a heart problem, I’m not big into healthy eating. But this is too much to taste good. This fried rice serves 2, it has three tablespoons of soy and then has you add salt at the end. However, with the salt taken out and the soy sauce halved it’s now a regular. We like to switch up the veggies. Here there is edamame instead of peas and no pepper. Kate doesn’t like pepper.

Another recipe that’s great with a serious salt reduction is the Quick Puttanesca Spaghetti. It has capers, olives, brine and salt. Again if you cut the salt you get a wonderful meal. The addition of the broccoli really makes it.

Last up is the Southwest Bosh! Bowl. Because I’m so bloody hot right now that I’ve stopped cooking. It was actually my least favourite of the recipes. This time I used all of the seasoning but it came out kinda bland. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

At the end of the day this isn’t a groundbreaking book, or a perfect one, and aside from the salt issue the recipes can also get a little repetitive. But if you are after simple recipes, quick ideas, and fuss-free cooking then check it out.

Review: Hubbox Exeter

I was hanging about Exeter waiting for Kate to finish an appointment when lunchtime rolled around. I wanted to try someplace new to me, someplace Kate wouldn’t necessarily enjoy. Which usually means something extra spicy or fast food loaded with toppings. I went to Hubbox.

Hubbox is another chain across the glorious South West. This one serving burgers in dining rooms decorated in a vaguely post-industrial hipster style with a bit of Caribbean flair. There is a good selection of vegan options. I went for the Fakin’ Bacon. It’s a black bean burger with vegan cheese. Where does the bacon come into it? Well it’s topped with bacon jam which is kinda sweet and a tiny bit smoky but also one of the least bacon-y things I’ve had since going vegan. It was a good burger, don’t get me wrong, but order it based on the lovely black bean patty, not the promise of bacon.

I couldn’t resist adding in a portion of dirty fries. I went for the jackfruit fries, given a kick with a topping of red chilli. They were everything fries should be. Vegan burger lovers should check this place out.

More Tips for Staying in Polperro as a Vegan

As a sort of conclusion to the last three posts about eating in Polperro I thought I’d offer a few other tips for staying in Polperro as a vegan.

Don’t Bother Driving

There is a car park at the top of town. The roads through town – where they exist at all – are narrow and access only. Pack light. Don’t bother driving.

Bring Some Bits

There is no supermarket, because tiny fishing village, so you might want to bring some of the more speciality foods you love. We packed tofu, tofu wieners, and vegan bacon. Also Candy Kittens. We made an order from Vegan Kind for the occasion.

You Can Find A Few Things Though

Roly’s Fudge stocks vegan fudge, the general store has vegan cheddar crisps (and other essentials), and there are other pubs and cafes that have vegan options that we didn’t have a chance to try.

Review: Crumplehorn Inn (Polperro)

The sprawling Crumplehorn Inn is the first thing you see in Polperro, apart from the car park. It’s huge, they have rooms, a bar and a waterwheel. Recently they started offering takeaway so when my dad couldn’t be bothered to leave the sofa (he’d been driving all day) we phoned up for a takeaway. There are three (three!) vegan options on the takeaway menu. I went for the Vegetable Rogan Josh.

It wasn’t the most brilliant curry in the world. The sauce was pretty good but the mix of veggies was a little on the soggy side. But I’m still impressed that you can get a vegan curry in a small Cornish village that you can’t even drive through.

Later in the holiday we decided to sit outside with doggie for a bit of sunshine and another vegan option. This time I had the falafel fritters. They’re super yum and they come with a delicious, huge salad. This one is a winner.