All reader reviews by budget veggie reviews

Wagamama (Tavistock St)

This is the busiest branch of Wagamama I have ever visited. It was only a Wednesday night, but the queue went all the way down their stairs and round the corner. The wait was however only approximately 15 minutes. The staff took longer than usual to take our orders. We did notice however that most of the other diners had the same offer as us and perhaps that was why it was so busy.

Wagamama has an extensive vegetarian selection including at least one veggie dish in each section of their menu. There was also a cold mushroom-based dish with salad on the specials menu. I chose my favourite Wagamama meal "yasai katsu curry" also known as battered slices of sweet potato, aubergine and butternut squash served with curry sauce, lettuce and rice. We all ordered mains and drinks each, plus edaname (green soya beans topped with garlic and chilli salt) to share as a starter. The Wagamama menu does warn you that the food is brought to your table as and when it is ready, but this was one of my few visits when everything came in the wrong order. One friend's chicken dish from the 'specials' menu arrived first, and we had a considerable wait first for our drinks and then for the rest of the food. The second main came about 5 minutes after the drinks, and the remaining two dishes and edaname came just when my friend who was served first was finishing her meal.

We had 2 vouchers between four so the total bill came to £36 for 4 mains, 1 shared dish, 3 beers, 1 bottled water and the free mugs of green tea. We topped this up to £40, which is good value for money as £10 each. Wagamama is good at what it does, but on this occasion it was a shame that everything arrived such a long time apart.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8

Eat and Two Veg

As Eat and Two Veg is a well-known and prominent vegetarian restaurant, I really wanted to be able to give them a great review. The first time I ate here was a couple of years ago, and I have to say was disappointed. Most reviews of this place rate it very highly however, so I guessed I must have just made a bad choice.

We chose a vegetable mezze dish to share, containing a selection of veggie bites. Overall it was good, although the humous was relatively tasteless. The other starters also sounded good, and included grilled Thai soya with peanut sauce and asparagus. When it came to choosing a main however, the choice was harder. The only item which really stood out was the spinach-based Sunday roast, not available on a weekday. I was tempted by the veggie bangers and mash, but as I was eating in a vegetarian restaurant I felt obliged to order something more traditional and adventurous that was not simply a meat substitute. I opted for Moroccan tajine, described as cauliflower, fennel and pea tajine, served with organic walnut & sultana couscous and a yoghurt dressing. When it came however, it was disappointing. The walnuts gave the couscous a nice bite, but the tajine itself was bland and (like the humous) had very little flavour. As a meat-eater, my co-diner had chosen a protein schnitzel which was much nicer and came with garlicy spinach and a creamy wine and watercress sauce. Perhaps the sausage and mash would have been a better choice, but it seems silly that to get a decent tasty meal in a vegetarian restaurant, you have to order something like the schnitzel which is really a meat substitute and quite possibly only included in their menu so as to appeal to meat eaters. For dessert, we shared a seasonal fruit crumble with custard. This was tasty and satisfying, much better than my main.

The total bill came to £63.00 for a shared starter, two mains plus a side-dish of mash, a shared dessert, a bottle of wine, one beer, a sherry and one Irish coffee. Overall this is not a particularly cheap place with mains starting from about £9.00. There are however dishes to appeal to carnivores meaning this is somewhere you can take non-veggies, but they do need to try harder on some of their dishes. Even if it was just bad luck and I have twice ordered the wrong dishes, it does vegetarianism a disservice to offer such bland and tasteless items as the tajine and the humous.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 4 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 5

Small & Beautiful

We were offered a specials menu and a set menu. Each section contained at least one vegetarian options with the greatest concentration in the 'light meals' selection. Dishes on the normal menu included a mushroom and spinach risotto, spaghetti arabbiata or aubergines and spinach in puff pastry with mushroom sauce. I chose the veggie main from the specials: described as haloumi and mushroom brusheta which actually turned out to be grilled haloumi and mushrooms on skewers served on a bed of cuscus and vegetables. Both my food and my co-diner's pork schnitzel (ordered from the non-specials menu) were very tasty, and the portions relatively large. The main courses on the ordinary menu do not come with vegetables, so we ordered a side-salad and chips, about half of which we left since the main courses were sufficient. We noticed that several other diners who had ordered side dishes also failed to finish these. The total meal came to £23.25 (service not included) for 2 mains, 2 side dishes, one beer, 1 white wine, a diet coke and a glass of tap water. The only gripe I would have was that on the day we dined, they were not able to accept card payments. It did state that on the door but we failed to read it and were not advised by the staff when they took our order. Luckily we had cash, but if this is a frequent problem it might be wise for them to advise diners in advance since otherwise visitors may order and eat then have to make a quick dash to the closest cash-point in order to pay for their meal!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8

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