National Vegetarian Week – Painted Elephant (Now Closed)

I’m all for giving places a second chance. Having worked in hospitality as a teen I know there can be off days. Mine involved a case of Pepsi falling on my head, but that’s a different story! I have always professed to be honest, so after our last visit to Painted Elephant I had to write exactly what I thought. Sometimes restaurants may not accept constructive criticism graciously, but Laura (the owner) commented and said she didn’t feel my experience had been indicative of what they were truly about. She invited me and Him Indoors back in April to try a new menu, but because of how busy we’ve been it took until this week to find time in our schedule. It also coincided with National Vegetarian Week, where I vowed to eat nothing but veggie food from the 18th – 24th May.
We took Jnr along for Round 2 as he complains at the moment we leave him out of our blogging escapades, but I was concerned about what he would eat. He’s only recently started to eat salad, so I wasn’t anticipating he’d find anything on the menu appealing. True to form he was aghast when I explained the options to him. Beetroot Burger, Cauliflower Rendang, Baked Aubergine… it was like an A to Z of all the foods he doesn’t like. He told me and Raf to eat and that he’d have Cheese on Toast when he got home. I noticed Salted Caramel Ice Cream mentioned in the Desserts, and ordered him some. He couldn’t sit and not eat anything!
All of the tables were reserved when we arrived before 6, which was encouraging. This time service was fast and friendly. There was a different atmosphere, too. It may have been quiet while we were there, but it didn’t seem eerily so like last time. There was music playing (The Smiths and Bowie, excellent choices) and it seemed ‘warmer’ to me. Raf ordered the Burger, and I decided to try the Rendang. We both were keen to share, and when they arrived I could tell we were in for a better experience. The food was hot, so we were already winning this time round!
Raf enjoyed his Beetroot Burger, which was served with roasted broccolini. I’ve never tried it before and it tasted like seaweed, which is a good thing. I’m definitely going to seek it out next time I’m in the Grainger Market as it is packed with Vitamin C. I wasn’t keen on the burger as I find beetroot too ‘earthy’ in taste. I’ve never been a huge fan, to be fair.
I was happy with my curry, which featured sweet potato alongside the cauliflower. The sauce had a warmth to it, but it wasn’t too much for a spice wimp like me. I’ll admit that my visit to Painted Elephant made me try something I hated and ended up liking – split peas. They were in the curry and I ate them all up. Quite something for a confirmed fussy eater! Jnr even tried and said he would have eaten it had he known how nice it was going to be. High praise indeed 🙂 I also should mention the delicious Rose Punch I had to drink, and Raf’s coffee with hemp milk. Great alternatives to the usual Diet Coke or beers we have.
I’m pleased we gave Painted Elephant a second chance, although the presentation still didn’t live up to the photo I linked to in my original post. What I’m choosing to focus on, however, is the fact we have a great independent restaurant that deserves to be supported by local foodies, especially when it has a commitment to serving seasonal and ethical grub.
Thanks for reading,
Pip x
Follow our Canny Food adventures on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. JackieB

    So what were the prices like? You don’t mention what you paid? Was it reasonable compared with the excellent Sky Apple?

    1. Emma Phillips (Post author)

      The mains are £8.50, which we thought was reasonably priced for ethical/locally sourced food. We’ll have to return to Sky Apple as it’s been a while, but we’ve also featured Good Apple Cafe in Sunderland recently.

  2. Eats

    The food looks really appealing- Especially that Rendang! Definitely something I would have ordered. 🙂 Love the record player in the corner!

    Eats x

    1. Emma Phillips (Post author)

      Jnr was jealous in the end! He should really listen to his mother x

  3. Emma Corr

    Happy 100th blog! This place looks great, my list of places to try is getting bigger and bigger from reading your posts!! Xx

    1. Emma Phillips (Post author)

      Thanks Emma! I couldn’t help feeling virtuous after eating there x


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *