Following on from our slightly disappointing lunch in the summer at Herb Garden’s Harbour restaurant (which you can read about here) I took my sister along for an evening meal recently. Some places do deserve a second chance as off-days can happen. There seemed plenty of promise, especially when I saw mention of vegan cheeses as part of their main course dish geared at those who don’t eat meat.
On an evening you can’t benefit from the views of the Marina, although the restaurant itself is pleasant enough. It also wasn’t particularly busy, which meant service was more attentive than I’d found during our first visit.
Without labelling on the menu I had to ask what was vegan friendly and was told that I had two starter options. My sister was keen on trying the Potato Soup without Black Pudding so I ‘allowed’ her order that, while I opted for the Walnut and Pear Tart. It was served without the Blue Cheese Dressing to make it vegan for me. Lucy enjoyed the thick and creamy soup, although I was underwhelmed by my choice. Even with the dressing I think £7 is steep for a bit of pastry topped with salad. I have a good appetite, admittedly, and to me this was more like an canape than a decent starter.
Lucy had decided to try Monkfish (£23) for her main course (she obviously isn’t vegan like her big sister!) as she wasn’t keen on the other options. I explained it was quite a ‘meaty’ fish and for that reason she would probably like it. Do any other veggies feel funny about describing things like this to others?!
It was good to see fish dishes on the menu given the location of the restaurant, and not using something as ‘safe’ as cod. Her only complaint was that the dish was on the salty side.
My main course (£18) lived up to the description of ‘picnic’ and resembled a Ploughman’s of sorts. The vegan cheese was quite bready compared to my own homemade versions and not particularly cheesy in taste. They worked well with the sweetness of the baked figs (some vegetarians and vegans choose not to eat figs because of the pollination process, as an aside), onion, and grapes, however. I’m not sure how vegetarians will feel with this dairy-free main but ti was good to see a dish not overloaded with cheese, as is often the case with veggie mains.
The filling Nut Roast ‘En Croute’ was their veggie take on the pork pie that would usually grace the board. It would make a lovely addition to a Sunday lunch, which I recommended to them during the visit.
Dessert was limited to sorbet for me (Mojito, although others were available) while my sister had a Mint and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse.
The highlight for me was the main course, which I felt was imaginative compared to the risottos or tomato pastas we are normally offered as vegans. It was a shame the starter and dessert were a bit lacking, especially at the prices Herb Garden charge. I hope the Nut Roast idea is taken on board as I think this would be a great Sunday lunch option, especially as there aren’t many veggie alternatives proffered in the vicinity. The menu is subject to change, so best to check their Facebook page to find out more.
Thanks for reading,