Vegan Review: Viapino (Disneyland Paris)

Viapino is a chain and you can find them in the UK, so it’s not a great Disney tradition or anything, but it is the only place in Disneyland Paris that has marked vegan options, so that was good enough for me.

That said the vegan options aren’t massively inspiring. You can have the pasta without the cheese on top or the pizza without the cheese on top. You get the picture. I wanted the bruschetta to start so I went over to the station for that. There was only one man working the station and he wasn’t working terribly quickly. I was waiting behind two people and not going anywhere. So I switched to the pasta station, coming back for the bruschetta after I’d finished that. I waited ages again but finally got my bruschetta. It was good but hardly worth the line.

The pasta line was just as chaotic but with more people working it they managed to get me served pretty quickly. I got the arrabbiatta sauce and was asked if I wanted it spicy. Which I did. It was not spicy. In fact I found that everything that promised to be spicy in Disneyland Paris was barely touched by a chilli. It was delicious, but more as a tomato sauce.

I enjoyed the food. Simple but fresh and hearty. Getting everything was a little stressful though. I’d probably try to go back at a quieter time. That’s the Disneyland Paris location though. I wouldn’t go out of my way to go to any of the UK locations. Not when even places like Pizza Hut serve vegan cheese now. In fact that’s exactly where we stopped on the way home.

Review: Wagamama

We’ve talked before about how we never get to try exciting new offerings from chains, so when we needed somewhere to eat on our last night in London I demanded we go get the vegatsu from Wagamama.

I’m going to say this up front: the atmosphere was awful. It was Friday night in a busy location and the music was loud and the wall to wall people were louder. But it’s pretty much what you expect in a busy location at a busy time.

The food was amazing though. The vegatsu is a vegan take on katsu curry. There is a large slab of katsu seitan served with white rice and coated in a delicious curry sauce. It’s so, so good. The seitan is crazy good! It’s meaty, genuinely meaty, with a great taste and texture. And then they put breadcrumbs on it. Then curry. It’s delicious.

I really want to get another one, but I might not go on a Friday night. That many people in one place scare me.

Reveiw: Zizzi

By the time I’d rejoined Kate in London it was late so we threw ourselves on the mercy of a chain pizza place near our hotel. We went to try the vegan options of Zizzi.

Zizzi use mozzarisella which is totally my favourite vegan pizza cheese. One of the specials was a pizza combining four of their flavours: original, smoked, blue, and cheddar. It was great and you probably think that’s useless information considering it was a special but not so. Now you know to go out and try the all the flavours on pizza. Especially the blue. I’ve tried it before and it doesn’t really work as an eating cheese but I didn’t think to cook with it. Melted it’s amazing.

Kate ordered pizza that contained actual vegetables. She had the vegan zucca with roasted butternut squash and spinach. This is on the regular menu so you’ll be happy to know that it’s a good pizza too.

For desert we ordered the vegan cheesecake. It was on the winter special menu but it’s back on the menu for spring. I hope it stays forever. It’s delicious. The server raved about it when they brought it to the table, a huge recommendation for a vegan dessert in a non-vegan restaurant.

We were expecting a decent meal and the pizzas were good, solid pizzas. The cheese cake though? Amazing.

Leon (Birmingham New Street and Strensham Services)

Because we live in Torquay it takes a while for us to try out chains. To give any city-dwelling readers an idea: we do have a Pizza Express but we don’t have a Nando’s. It’s basically the late 90’s. We have however managed to leave the bay recently and we’ve been enjoying visits to Leon.

For town-and-country mice like us, let me fill you in. Leon is a fast food place that serves a variety of good quick meals. And thankfully for us there is one in the train station at Birmingham New Street and one on Strensham Services, off the M4. This is what we’ve been eating on our Christmas journeys.

Christmas Eve Lunch

Kate choose a lentil masala served over brown rice. Even though she’s a bit of a lentil sceptic she really enjoyed it.

I fancied a bit of hummus so I went for the Lebanese Mezze. It was really good, especially with a portion of waffle fries to dip in the hummus.

Boxing Day Breakfast

Having breakfast in a service station isn’t massively festive but Kate loved this banana and cinnamon porridge which can be made, like all of the porridges, with cashew milk. I didn’t really go for something that healthy…

I got a doughnut! It’s chai-spiced in the middle and chocolate on top. Rather dense and cakey but still delicious.

So it looks like we’ve got a new favourite place to eat when we’re travelling. And least when we’re travelling to, and through, larger settlements than Torquay…

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.

Review: Stable, Plymouth Location, New Menu Options

Once in a blue moon we manage to coordinate things so that Kate and I have the same day off. Unfortunately this day off happened on Monday so our original plan to go to Samphire was ruined — they don’t open for lunch on Mondays. Instead we went down to the Barbican and into the Plymouth branch of Stable.

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We reviewed the Exeter branch before but as they’ve changed up the menu, and as we managed to take better pictures I thought you wouldn’t mind me talking about them again. Kate likes plain things so she was happy that a plain, ordinary vegan margarita was on the menu. The cheese melts a little liquidy but they use a good amount and  like every good margarita it comes with fresh basil leaves.

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I felt like veggies so I went for the Good Life. There’s courgette, peppers and onions which I love and aubergine which I love in theory but in practise the slices were a bit thick and tended to plummet off the pizza as I was about to get it in my mouth. Vegan cheese just doesn’t have the adhesive properties of its dairy counterpart. Structural problems aside it was a great pizza.

You know we love Stable. So what it special about the Plymouth branch? Well the highlight is definitely the view and the gorgeous patio opens right onto the harbour. It’s also dog-friendly so perfect for every member of the family.

Pizza Express

Kate and I have been together for ten years and as I was a) working that day and b) very tired this week we decided to stay in Torquay and find a menu we could both agree on. As has been the case for most of our marriage the only food we could agree on was that we both like eating pizza and in Torquay that means Pizza Express.

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As its a national chain there isn’t much of a surprise in the offerings. Having limited diets and anxiety problems they’ve saved us from hunger in many parts of the UK. The website brags that we can get a three course vegan meal. Lets be honest here though: Dough Balls without butter is just balls in oil. And tomatoes and olives don’t really count as a starter. So we went straight on to pizza. Kate went for a Margarita, with vegan cheese obviously, and I had the Vegan Giardiniera.

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I don’t really have much to say about the pizza. It’s not mind-blowing. Its good solid pizza, I wouldn’t say no to it. The vegan cheese is one of my favourites, and they don’t massively overdo it. It’s just good solid pizza. And I like it. I like that I can order one in most large towns in the UK without much fuss.

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Desert was sorbet, simple and rather typical but incredibly gorgeous. Vegans can choose from two whole flavours: coconut and raspberry. We took one of each and they were both lovely. Just sweet enough to stop your lips from puckering, smooth ice and tastes fab.

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Last year the idea of getting three whole courses at a non-vegan restaurant was impressive, as was vegan pizza at a chain place but since then I’ve got spoiled. I’m used to vegan menus, having choices, and not having to customise things to make it vegan. I liked what I had but, well, cake would be amazing.