Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Bakehouse

  1. 5 High St, Wivenhoe, Colchester CO7 9BJ
Read trip advisor reviews here 

I recently had the pleasure of visiting "The Bakehouse" in Wivenhoe, as part of an early birthday celebration.

I'd learnt via twitter that the Bakehouse offer good vegan options, so I emailed ahead to see what the current vegan options would be.

The manager replied to inform that me they currently have the following dishes that are either vegan as standard, or are an adaption of a vegetarian dish on their menu:

Set Menu Starters:

-Soup of the Day (always vegan, current options are French Onion or Spicy Butternut Squash)

-Crispy Cubes of Basil Tofu with a Roasted Red Pepper Coulis and Vegan Pesto

Set Menu Main:

Aubergine "Meatballs" with Courgette Spaghetti

Set Menu Desserts:

Summer Berry Compote
Strawberries with Sorbet or Dairy-Free Ice-Cream
Vegan Chocolate Fudge Brownie

On the A La Carte menu:

-Starter of Wild Mushrooms in Garlic & Olive Oil Dressing in a Filo Basket

-Main of Roasted Cherry Tomato & Garlic Open Lasagne

-A special of Herby Polenta Stack with Provencal Vegetables.

Impressed with the options, I booked a table and visited with 3 vegan friends.

I opted for the basil tofu to start, followed by the aubergine meatballs, and brownie for dessert. (which I was very excited to see on the menu!)

Whilst we waited for our meal we were given complimentary French bread with olive oil.


The tofu starter was very good; well presented and full of complex flavours.
(One of my friends said it was the best starter they'd ever had!)
It was nice to see tofu on the menu, as it's something that usually seems to be reserved for eastern restaurants.

Crispy Cubes of Basil Tofu with a Roasted Red Pepper Coulis and Vegan Pesto
My friend ordered the mushroom filo basket to start, and remarked on how very full of mushrooms it was!

The Main 

I wasn't sure what to expect from the aubergine meatballs and courgette spaghetti; I half expected the courgette spaghetti to be cold, as I know it is often eaten that way by raw foodists.
Instead it was served hot, in a flavourful tomato sauce, with what I think was kale, and the tasty aubergine "meatballs".
I have quite big appetite, and was a little worried that the portion size didn't look overly generous, but it turned out to be the perfect serving size (to enjoy without feeling overfull afterwards!)
Aubergine "Meatballs" with Courgette Spaghetti

My friend ordered the polenta stack, pictured here:

Special of herby polenta stack with provencal vegetables

The Dessert

This was a big selling point when choosing where to have my birthday meal.  Too many restaurants have either no vegan dessert options, or a boring fruit salad.
To have a vegan brownie and dairy free ice cream available deserves some credit!

I'd mentioned in my email that I was visiting for my birthday, so it was a nice touch when the brownie was served complete with candle (and singing waitresses!)

Brownie, with Swedish Glace ice cream, and a jug of chocolate sauce!

Overall I was very impressed with the delicious 3 course meal provided by The Bakehouse, and would not hesitate to recommend them to friends.

About the owners 

The Bakehouse is run by Vicky Jamieson and her partner Alan, (who is also one of the Chefs)
Vicky eats a largely plant based diet herself, and it's clear that Vicky's influence has rubbed off on Alan's cooking.

I emailed after my meal to enquire more about the labelling on the menu, as none of the dishes were labelled as vegetarian or vegan, and I admitted to Vicky that had I not heard of their vegan options beforehand, I probably wouldn't have given them a second thought!

Vicky explained that since taking over The Bakehouse  2 years ago she has subtly been changing the menu, and they have reduced the meat options by half! This is obviously great news, and Vicky believes that the majority of their vegetarian dishes are now bought by omnivorous clientele.

It is funny (and a bit infuriating!) that if the lovely dish of polenta stack was labelled "Vegan polenta stack" there would be some people that would decide against buying it!

However I told Vicky that some discrete labelling is always useful when looking at a menu, or even a  little footnote advising "ask about our vegan options", to show they can provide a meal.

The Bakehouse team said they appreciated my feedback regarding the menu labelling, and they will look at how best to change it for the future.

Until then anyone who has an enquiry about their vegan options can contact The Bakehouse at info@bakehousetaste.com

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