I usually don’t worry too much about Google Analytics and the like as a ‘hobby blogger’ but, after a conversation with a friend, I decided to see what the Most Searched For terms were on the Canny Food blog. My reviews have been based on visits to restaurants and cafes that we were interested in, rather than being driven by stats. I was surprised to learn that the majority had been searching for a cracking roast dinner, which got me thinking. I’d never doubted the popularity of this institution, but it’s not something we – as a family – opt for on a weekly basis.
Finding a decent vegetarian or vegan Sunday lunch is the Holy Grail for me. I mentioned this in a recent post about a new veggie-vegan restaurant in Middlesbrough that has a specific Sunday menu (see my review of The Green Room Bistro here). Once you remove what is perceived as the star of the show – the meat – it can be difficult to find something decent to replace it with. The Teen prefers not to have nut roasts and the like, saying he was never particularly fond of the meat in the first place. He would love double Yorkie puds and lashings of thick gravy rather than dry meat anyway, which is something we have unfortunately encountered on more than one occasion over the years. Talking with a friend who has a vegetarian partner, he suggested we tried out Cosy Dove for some proper scran.
Located not far outside the city centre in Spital Tongues, Cosy Dove is somewhere that has had a significant amount of money spent on it to attract a new type of clientele. Sunday lunch was served until 5pm and, while we arrived towards the end of service, there were still a lot of people in the bar area. As it was Father’s Day this didn’t surprise me, although I’ve subsequently been told that wasn’t unusual.
With a reasonably cheap main course at £6.95, I decided I would also try one of their starters too for fear these would be miserly portions.
The Roasted Carrot and Sorrel Cream I chose was reminiscent of something you would order in Painted Elephant, minus the dairy. The natural sweetness of the carrot had been enhanced with honey, and the sourdough crumbs added a crunch.
Having asked for a vegan version of their Sunday lunch for Mr. Canny and a vegetarian option for me, when both plates arrived with a Yorkshire Pudding we couldn’t believe our eyes. I immediately asked our waitress if these beauties were vegan, so she said she would ask chef. Of course, our elation was short-lived because it had been served in error to Mr. Canny. He was disappointed, and I’m relieved I asked. The lesson here is to always check if you’re dining out with dietary requirements. You can’t always guarantee a harried chef will remember what you can and can’t eat.
It meant Mr. Canny’s lunch was rather lacklustre afterwards, and I felt sad for him. I had hoped they’d offer something to replace the pudding, but alas not. Substituting roast potatoes with boiled didn’t seem inspired, either. I do a lovely creamy mash without butter thanks to Alpro’s readily available cartons of single cream, and I wondered how the roast potatoes were cooked that made them suitable for a vegetarian, but not for a vegan. Surely animal fat is not appropriate for either?
These quibbles aside, I was very impressed with my plate of food. Creamy Cauliflower Cheese is always a welcome addition for me to a Sunday lunch, and their Yorkshire Pudding was a cracking effort. The Wild Mushroom Nut Loaf was not as ‘bitty’ as some I’ve encountered, and had a firm texture. I’m not surprised they bill it as one of their signature dishes on the website. It was flavourful and moist, as opposed to the dry and mealy ones that have been served to us in the past. I’d go as far as to say it was one of the best I’ve eaten and, although I’m not going to try it out myself, I’ve heard the meat version is pretty damn good too.
Asking what was available for vegan dessert and expecting to hear sorbet, I was pleased to hear that the listed Cherry and Peach Salad was appropriate and could be served alongside, you guessed it, one of their sorbets. Mr. Canny said he wasn’t fussed by this point about eating any more and, although I was pretty full, I decided to give the Chocolate Tart a try. Served with Orange, Cardamon and a nutty crumb, it was the perfect way to end the meal. While rich, the zesty orange made sure it wasn’t sickening.
The restaurant area had died down while I was finishing my dessert, so I took the opportunity to talk to our waitress about the Vegetarian Wednesdays I’d heard about. Apparently they have extra veggie options on this weeknight, which I was pleased to hear. On Thursday they do 2 steaks for £20 and, having seen a photo posted on Twitter, they look delicious and good value for money.
I was very impressed with Cosy Dove and I thanked my friend for his recommendation. Obviously there’s some work to do on the vegan side of things, and Mr. Canny remains incredibly disappointed by what happened, but I would happily return for this excellent value Sunday lunch. I think the chefs show pride in what they do and are providing a high standard of pub grub. The service for us was fine, but there were mistakes made at the tables around us with overcharging and incorrect orders. It was a busy Sunday and it seemed like these were new starters. They were apologetic and issues were resolved, but I’d say it affected the experience others had had. Even I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do as no-one greeted us or handed out menus. I believe the pub was reopened in March of this year, so this may be a bedding-in period.
Thanks for reading,
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