Dat Bar, Newcastle*
I recently read an article that suggested vegans make up 0.5% of the population in the UK. I was surprised by the stats, especially as everywhere I seem to turn at the moment there’s a vegan menu popping up. Not that I’m complaining, of course, and I’m pretty sure non-vegans are capable and happy to eat meat-free food every now and again too! Many local places are keen to start offering more options to capitalise on what is predicted to be the biggest food ‘trend’ of 2018, with datBar in Newcastle the latest to launch a new vegan and vegetarian menu alongside their standard offering this week.
It had been a while since the last time I’d featured this bar/restaurant on account of its meat-laden menu. I included it as part of my Top Burgers blog post back when I ate animal products. I had noticed during Newcastle Restaurant Week earlier in the year that there was a vegan option listed on their special menu, which alerted me to the fact datBar wasn’t as unfriendly as I’d imagined.
This hipster haven invited me along for a sneaky peek at their new vegetarian and vegan menu that officially launched this week. Me and a pal went along to give some feedback on the dishes and to stuff ourselves on dishes without any animal products, including a Mac ‘N’ Cheese!
We were offered a selection of small taster plates from the Starters, like the Roast Beetroot Salad and Toasted Sourdough Bruschetta.
While I’m never going to be a girl who gets excited by salad, this plate was fresh and tasty. The zing of the apple worked as a great balance against the earthy beetroot, while the mustard dressing pepped up the leaves. A nice palate cleanser.
The green bean and broccoli topping of the Bruschetta may not be one you’ll often encounter but it was one I particularly enjoyed. The vegetables were still al dente and the hum of the chilli enlivened the plate. We were also both keen on the Aubergine Caponata, a classic Italian dish which balanced sweet and sour flavours well.We chatted in-between courses about the reasons behind launching this new menu. There’s been a lot of time spent testing dishes and trying out ingredients and recipes to make sure they had everything spot on before datBar ‘went live’. Discovering Mozzarisella was the brand of vegan cheese used for the pizza topping we were relieved. Not all dairy free alternatives work well and some can have a coconut flavour, not what you want when eating a savoury dish. You can read about my recommendations for alternatives to use here for more inspiration.
It was the Sweet Potato Mac ‘N’ Cheese which initially caught my eye when we were presented with the menu and the dish I was most excited to try. It could have gone either way but I’m delighted to say it got a big thumbs up from me. The use of nutmeg and a dusting of paprika gave the sauce a depth of flavour and the blue cheese crumb a good bite. I could have eaten the whole thing myself but I had to share! Paired with the Beetroot Salad this would make a filling and satisfying lunch.
Three new pizzas feature including the Coco (walnuts, caramelised onions, butternut squash, rocket) and the Romilly (courgette, peppers, rocket). Our feedback was that they needed a little more of the San Marzano tomato sauce to pep them up, but a decent base and use of a melty dairy free cheese mean that datBar have a canny vegan pizza option on their menu now.
There’s still plenty from the new dishes which interest me – the Puy Lentil Casserole sounds like a great winter warmer – which means I’m keen to try out more. The beer and ales menu has also had a revamp and vegan and vegetarian friendly pints are now helpfully labelled accordingly. Sitting with an app open trying to work out what we can and can’t drink isn’t cool so this gets a thumbs up from us too. datBar have clearly put a lot of effort into making themselves vegan friendly and we recommend you give the new menu a try ASAP.
Thanks for reading,