Finding somewhere that does a decent veggie Sunday lunch is hard. It is something I’ve documented a fair bit on this blog, to be honest, to the point I’ve drafted a guide to where you can find them in the local area. To me, the simplest thing you could do to provide a vegan Sunday lunch option is remove the meat and Yorkshire puds. Yes, they may be an integral part of the dish, but the vegetables and gravy left scream best meal of the week more than risotto. This is often what you’ll find on a pub menu instead *insert eye roll here*.
I heard about The Ivy House in Sunderland from a colleague at work. She told me it had loads of vegan options on the menu but she couldn’t tell me if they were decent because she hadn’t tried them. When I found them on Instagram I discovered they had a vegan Sunday lunch available. That was enough to spur me to visit. She was right about the vegan choice, however. Poutine, pizza, and fajitas all featured. The Ivy had vegan cheese it used, too.
We visited on a busy Sunday. I don’t know whether it is like this every week but The Ivy strikes me as a local pub that local people definitely frequent. It may have an ‘old school’ boozer interior, but the jukebox and the fact the menu features vegan food hints at something different. The beers are marked as vegan friendly, which is incredibly helpful.
We were warned the Sunday lunch was massive so turned up with healthy appetites. I think the price was around the £8 mark each bit foolishly didn’t take a photo of the menu. To be fair, the vegan version wasn’t listed which is why I didn’t bother. Standard options were the usual meat, which dough balls and wedges as starters. I decided to get the vegan dough balls to see if Dinky would share.
Seeing the plates of food being delivered to other tables filled me with confidence. It was no exaggeration that the plates of food were massive and we’re told that portion sizes are going to be revisited in the near future. I believe different plates and prices will be offered so those with a smaller appetite won’t have to leave heave their meal.
The dough balls were very good, especially the dairy free Parmesan they were topped with. Dinky was against trying them which meant all the more for me.
The star of the show was definitely the Sunday ‘roast’ itself, although I’m not that keen on Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Beef. I find it quite chewy and don’t feel it has much flavour. I’d have personally preferred a Nut Roast instead of this meat substitute or, rather shockingly, just a plate full of the lovely veg The Ivy House do.
The plate had two Yorkshire Puddings on. Visibly they looked different and they tasted different, too. One had a slightly eggy taste that I didn’t really like. I was told that the kitchen were trialling vegan Yorkshire recipes and which one did I prefer. Needless to say I chose the one that didn’t have black salt added to it (on the plate you can see one lighter and one darker pudding. I preferred the lighter of the two).
It was the vegetables and the gravy that really won me over about The Ivy’s vegan Sunday lunch. I didn’t feel like there’d been any compromise and we were almost served the same as the other diners in the pub. More often than not in pubs you’ll find fewer veggies not on your plate because the mash has butter in it or the parsnips have been roasted in honey. They even serve a huge jug of gravy alongside the meal. This is one place you’ll still get a decent feed whether you’re veggie or otherwise.
We’ll definitely return to The Ivy House, especially as I want to try their famous Poutine!
Thanks for reading,