Eating anything but beef at Beefeater!
Like Toby Carvery, Beefeater is not the sort of place you’d imagine vegans being keen to dine at. Many people – myself included – have families that don’t share their diets and find themselves having to eat in restaurants where meat takes top billing on occasion. I had checked out the menu in the past after being asked to write a review of a local branch of the chain in my vegetarian days and found the non-meat options lacking.
Fast forward a year and Beefeater announced they were adding a Soya & Wheat Burger to their menu. Just goes to show how attitudes are changing towards vegans these days! This is the only dish marked with the vegan symbol, which meant I had to ask to see the allergen menu to ascertain whether anything else was suitable with substitutions/adaptations.
The Mixed Bean Salad seemed like it would be SFV without the ricotta cheese, which the allergen menu confirmed. It also transpired that the Roasted Vegetable Linguine was also vegan friendly once the cheese and flatbread was removed.
I commented to staff that vegetarian switches are labelled on the menu and it would be great if vegan alternatives were, too. Ploughing through a file in a restaurant is a bit of a clart, it has to be said. Still, three animal product-free dishes was more than I was expecting from a chain like Beefeater.
I was dining with a vegan friend and we made a point of ordered all three to try between us. We did ask for something to replace the flatbread that was being removed from the Linguine and were offered additional fries, although I’m sure the more health conscious out there might opt for the dressing-free salad instead.
Topped with what appeared to be a vegan version of pulled pork, also made from soya, the burger arrived first. The side salad was dry and we requested balsamic on the side to dress it. If you like BBQ burgers you will definitely like the Beefeater combination. While it doesn’t hold a candle to any listed in my Top 5 Veggie Burgers, it is great to see the chain accommodating in this way.
The Mixed Bean Salad was less successful, with us both commenting negatively on its £9.99 price tag. Even with the ricotta we think it’s overpriced for the portion size. It would likely make a better side plate than main course, in our opinion. The quinoa and rice seemed a little sloppy and the lamb’s leaf had seen better days.
While pasta isn’t the most exciting option for vegans, the £5 price point of Beefeater’s Roasted Vegetable Linguine made us a little more forgiving of this standard fare. The special offer is part of the Daytime Saver Menu, which runs Monday to Saturday until 6:30pm. This is something for people to consider when dining out as the regular price for it is also £9.99. I’d be expecting more than spaghetti and veg for that, even in an independent.
One thing that you can’t help but notice in Beefeater are the cow references all around the restaurant. Some vegetarians and vegans may find this uncomfortable, just as a warning. The chain’s moniker says it all, however, and if you’re going to have a problem – like Toby with its carvery – you should probably avoid.
If you’re dining with a group with a mixture of dietary choices, you can do a lot worse than Beefeater. Personally, it wouldn’t be my first choice when we have some fantastic independent restaurants locally who cater well for vegans. That said, there will be many readers of the post who live in areas where options are limited. It’s great to see another chain step up and provide a range of SFV dishes and we’d recommend you give their Soya Burger a try.
Thanks for reading,