The Bohemian, Newcastle
My plan had initially been to try out Super Natural’s new cafe this weekend, but due to delays it wasn’t open in time. Having made a special trip into Newcastle for grub, I had to think on my feet. Super Natural’s loss was The Bohemian’s gain, as it transpired. Our last visit was way back in October, straight after Mr. Canny’s ‘conversion’ to veganism. How things have changed in such a relatively short space of time, and we’re far more knowledgeable about meat-free dining than we were back then. You can read our previous review here.
There have been a few alterations to the interior and exterior of Boho since our last visit, and the menu has also seen an update. The Secret Diner darkened their doors in January, completely slating the food and questioning why they avoided the obligatory tofu in their dishes. I felt that was reason enough for praise, actually, but each to their own. Anyone can marinade some tofu and knock up a curry, but to take a relatively unknown ingredient in these parts like jackfruit and create something interesting wins plaudits in my book. Admittedly, the selection of dishes is haphazard, but I’d like to think the chef is trying to cater for the masses. Painted Elephant, another vegan restaurant in the city (which SD appears to love), is somewhere our Teen is not keen on, and we think Boho would be more his kind of thing. Every time we’ve visited PE he’s grumbled at their almost raw vegan dishes. He wasn’t with us on this particular trip to Boho, but I’m sure now he’s fully embraced a veggie diet he’ll be more open to trying a burger or their Epic Chili Dog next time round. Contrary to SD’s chagrin, some vegans and veggies want to eat meat substitutes for protein; you only have to look at the growing range of Quorn and Linda McCartney products to know that.
Mr. Canny and I watched a Canadian TV programme this week which visited a restaurant that only served vegan burgers. Watching the chef cook up a variety of tasty meat-free patties, we bemoaned the fact a trip to London would probably be necessary to get something close to a Boon Burger. While we haven’t tried the real deal, we think Boho’s Black Bean and Walnut Cheeseburger could possibly be a close second.
It can be served with dairy or dairy-free cheese, and I went vegan to allow the Mr to taste both mains. This fake cheese wasn’t as artificial as some I’ve encountered. Heck, I don’t even know if anyone would notice the difference if they weren’t informed of its cow-free background. He opted for the Jackfruit Kebab, which he had with sweet potato fries.
Both certainly looked appealing, and thankfully appearances weren’t deceptive. The jackfruit in this guise will never replace pulled pork for a carnivore, but I’m sure they could appreciate the taste and texture if prepared to give it a try. I felt the filling could probably do with pepping up a bit, as I couldn’t really detect much of the promised BBQ marinade. Mr. Canny was too busy making oooh-ing and aaah-ing noises at such a revelatory dish to be wholly subjective, which is the reason I write the blog 😉 He said it was like kebabs he’d had in Turkey with its soft pitta, meaty filling and minty yoghurt (dairy-free, natch) dressing.
I took this pretty gross picture to show the texture of the bean patty. Realistic, right? One of the things that stood out while watching this particular episode of You Gotta Eat Here was the fact Boon Burgers was filled with meat eaters, all espousing how great these burgers really were. It’s pretty obvious from the blog of late I’m not eating meat often, but I still know a good patty when I taste one. Aside from the fact Boho’s is one of the best veggie-vegan burgers I’ve tried, I’d much rather eat something plant-based like this than the horrors you will likely encounter in a greasy spoon or the frozen meat section of your local supermarket. If an avid bean hater like me can love this, it must be good! Topped with a pile of onions rings and housed in a lovely fresh bun, this is a must-try if you want to sample delicious vegan ‘junk food’. It’s further proof that vegan food needn’t be just salads and tofu.
We couldn’t miss out on their Cherry Stack Donut, which came with dairy-free warm custard. I’m not a fan of cherries, having sickened myself on the glace variety as a child. These managed to dance a fine line for me and retained their natural sweet-sour taste, which was great with the vanilla doughnut base.
Apart from the lack of baby changing facilities – which led to a crisis in the ladies toilets with me and Dinky – everything was top notch. Service was friendly, as always, and we didn’t feel rushed to leave. Were it not for the fact we had a prior engagement we’d have probably stuck round for a bit longer. It may not be to everyone’s tastes, especially if you hold puritanical views on plant-based foods masquerading as meat. For us, however, The Bohemian is a great example of how veggie-vegan cuisine has come on in leaps and bounds.
Thanks for reading,
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