Reveiw: Soul Cafe (Torquay)

Before we get into the review I should give a little background to Soul Cafe. The location was home to Pea Green Kitchen a couple of years ago. It was known for its delicious vegan options but shuttered just before we started the blog. It was bought and completely changed inside and out to became the Soul Cafe. There was no vegan food. It didn’t last long. Now the people behind Awesome Brownies (who sell Brownies at local markets) have taken over and vegan food is back on the menu. Phew. Backstory over.

The staff are really welcoming of vegans and will happily explain what you can have. We started with drinks. Two hot chocolates. It’s basically chocolate in a glass. It’s silky, rich and thick. It’s just the right side of solid. Food wise I went for a burrito. It has vegan chilli, rice and more beans. To be honest I would have liked something crunchy in there or something creamy like avocado and cheese. It was nice though. Solid lunch option.

Obviously we had to order a brownie then. As they specialise in brownies they have a few options, even better at least three of those options were vegan. We went for the nutty one. It’s huge. Giant. It’s dense in the middle, a little dry around the outside and it is pretty awesome.

If you are in the area for lunch I recommend popping in, or going to one of their stalls in Totnes or Newton Abbot.

Review: Bombay Express, Reloaded (Torquay)

We have written before about our love for Bombay Express but recently they’ve had a change of menu. This week we were invited to come and try the new menu, on the house, in exchange for a review. As I’ve never passed up a chance to give my opinion, or eat Indian food, we sat down with a basket of poppadoms and the new menu to check out what vegan treats we could stuff our face with.

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The menu has had a complete overhaul turning Bombay Express from classic curry house to what they call ‘regional elevated cuisine.’ Previously Bombay Express had become known for its awesome vegan options and thankfully there is still plenty to eat on the new menu. It’s just a little more fancy.

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To start with we ordered the Pav Bharjia. In its traditional form it’s one of my favourite dishes and the Bombay Express version did not disappoint. The vegetable curry has a wonderful depth of flavour. I could have probably done with twice as much bread to scoop it up with though.

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Our other starter was another street food inspired treat; gol guppa. This was the highlight of what ended up being a really good meal. It’s a brilliant mix of tastes and textures and it’s so much fun to eat. We loved it so much we urged the table next to us to order it too. If you ever end up at Bombay Express you have to order it too.

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For the main I ordered Dal Makhan.  It’s choc-full of lentils and vegetables with a lovely smokiness. In there is aubergine, sweet potatoes, peppers and probably some things I didn’t identify.

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Kate went for the South Indian Vegetable Curry because she’s obsessed with coconut milk. Although she was a fan of the sauce she did question the choice of vegetables. She said that rather than having peppers she would have enjoyed more potatoes. And that come to think of it, rather have potatoes than the cauliflower. I said she was coming across like someone obsessed with potatoes.

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The curries were delicious but compared to the rest of the meal they weren’t quite as show-stopping. But we can’t talk about the mains without mentioning the naan bread. Yes, it’s vegan! We went for the garlic naan this time and it’s just gorgeous. I could happily eat basket upon basket of it should it be socially acceptable to eat nothing but naan bread.

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Here we are, the end of the meal and what did we get? Chocolate samosas! Probably not one to eat on a first date, these tiny triangles of awesome are filled with delicious, delicious chocolate. You’ll probably end up licking your fingers with these, maybe even moaning, They’re incredible.

We really enjoyed trying the new menu. The food was creative, delicious and absolutely stunning. The gol guppa and chocolate samosas were particular highlights but the worst thing we could think to say about anything was ‘not as special but still great.’ We’ll be going back and we’ll continue to recommend Bombay Express as one of the vegan highlights in Torquay.

Once again, we were given a free meal in exchange for this review, but of course these are our honest opinions. You can find the Bombay Express menu here.

Sunday Dinner: Fat Cow Delivers. (Vegan MoFo 2018)

Sorry about the unscheduled break in posting. I was super sleepy. Anyway I’m back into the swing of things with a new week of themes. Today is Sunday Dinner. When I was younger we did have a regular Sunday dinner tradition but I don’t want to talk about that today. I want to talk about a very special Sunday dinner that I only have once a year: takeaway that Kate doesn’t like.

See when Kate goes away on her annual conference trip I do two things: 1) I fall asleep diagonally across the bed 2) I order something that Kate wouldn’t eat. This year I ordered from my favourite burger place: Fat Cow. You can order from Fat Cow on Yeti Delivery so I got to eat it basking in the glow of my own Netflix account. I’m happy to report the burger is still an amazing mix of flavours, the fries are crisp and the bhaji is just perfect.

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: Rock Garden Breakfast

We’ve talked before about the pizza at Rock Garden but recently they’ve expanded their offerings towards breakfast so it’s time to take another look. There are three vegan options on the menu, including avocado toast, each costing £5.95. I went for the vegan bap.

The bap was served with a couple of lukewarm, blonde hash browns and a puzzlingly large ramekin of baked beans. I can’t say it looked great. In the bun we have some vegan bacon and sweet potato and butternut squash sausage. It didn’t really work for me. The bacon was too sweet but otherwise tasteless, the bun didn’t lack for sugar either. The sausages are okay but not quite good enough to make up for the rest of it. Honestly the best part of the plate was the ramekin of beans.

I was pretty disappointed by the meal. Maybe go for the pizza but my advice is to skip breakfast.

Review: Fat Cow

When I got word that a burger place had opened up alongside the harbour I was excited. I bloody love a good burger. Fat Cow‘s menu promises burgers, rum and reggae. I don’t really do rum but it did deliver on the other two.

The menu is clearly marked for us vegans with a great selection of snacks, burgers and sides. For once in my life I didn’t over order and just got myself a coke and a burger. I got myself the vegan version of the Taj Ma Dahl. You get a delicious burger topped with goodies like avocado, pineapple and mango chow, and yes that is a whole onion bhaji at the top. It a huge burger, and you are not going to look delicate and lady-like eating it. It’s served in a basket which I don’t think is a great choice for a burger that falls apart as you eat it. I want to scoop up my fallen pickles. Basket aside this is one of the best, most creative burgers you are going to find in the bay. The pineapple and mango chow is a highlight.

I’m already trying to find an excuse to go back.

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.