Hearing that Newcastle’s only Michelin star restaurant was no longer amendable to creating a vegan tasting menu for those wanting a special slap up meal posed an interesting question for me. While I assert there are plenty of places that will happily accommodate our diet, where would I recommend to those wanting more than just vegan pizza or burgers? Having heard that Dave Coulson’s Peace and Loaf in Jesmond catered for those with dietary requirements, it was decided that we would visit as a ‘celebration’ of my impending return to work.
Naturally we contacted in advance to give warning of our requirements. We were told on the phone that while there were no vegan dishes on the menu, chef would be open to creating something especially for us. We were asked if we had any likes or dislikes, and it was the first time in my life I was able to say I was ‘unfussy’. Most of my historical food ‘no-nos’ were animal based, like egg of fish. There was a slight feeling of apprehension on arrival about what we wee going to eat, but that soon disappeared when the procession of serving apparatus (yes, the ‘We Want Plates’ brigade might have something to say about Peace & Loaf!) arrived. First up were the appetizers. Alongside fresh bread – served with ranch dressing for us because we couldn’t have butter or dripping – were Pea & Mint Mille-feuille, Parsnip Crisps topped with puffed rice and Cucumber Spoons. Delicate and moreish. The ‘Textures of Beetroot’ starter may have seemed simple, but it was anything but. The tiny mushrooms added a meatiness, and it was great to see Ken Holland’s fine produce being used as the star ingredients. Carrot was the next ingredient used on our culinary tour of the vegetable patch, teamed up with coffee gel and walnuts. I was surprised at how inoffensive the gel was as someone who detests coffee. I think the sweetness of the carrot worked to mask what I feel is a bitter taste.
The main course of Cabbage, Crispy Kale and Shiitake Mushroom looked like it belonged on the wall of a gallery. The plating of dishes at Peace & Loaf is always magnificent and I always regret my iPhone photography never does the food justice. It is a feast for the eyes and the palate, and how they have yet to be awarded a Michelin star is beyond me. I felt this was a substantial dish on account of the mushrooms, and the use of puffed rice always adds a beefy taste to even the veggie dishes.
We were given a choice of desserts, so naturally we had to have one of each to sample what was on offer. Mr. Canny started off with the Cinnamon Pineapple, which is something extremely popular in Brazil, served with honeycomb. There was a aniseed flavor to the pudding which balanced out the sweetness of the pineapple.The Rhubarb and Blood Orange dessert I picked came with a black olive crumb. Expecting sharp and tart, I was pleasantly surprised by how delicate the dish was.
At £25 per person for an early evening special this is incredible value for money for the standard of food and thought that clearly goes in to each dish, whether you are vegan or otherwise. It is also a relief to know that other fine dining establishments in the area are happy to cater for vegans. I was starting to worry about what we’d do for our next anniversary!
Thanks for reading,
Not vegetarian or vegan? You can read a more meat orientated review of Peace and Loaf here.