I always presumed a Nut Roast would be a ubiquitous dish. I’ve realised of late they aren’t that common on pub menus, especially one that is suitable for a vegan too. Wylam Brewery started to serve up a roast dinner along with their fantastic beers and ales last month, and they informed me that they had one on their menu that both me and Mr. Canny could enjoy. Praise be!
Located in Exhibition Park, taking over the former Military Vehicle Museum, Wylam Brewery have created a stunning space and the punters are lapping it up. I was surprised at how child and dog-friendly the Palace of Arts is, and booking is advisable. We were last minute diners after promising to make a lunch, but I chose to eat out after laziness got the better of me. Sometimes a brisk walk in the park and a decent pint is just what you need on a Sunday to set you up for the week ahead. One of the issues we have as vegetarians and vegans is the fact alcohol is not always labelled as suitable. Yes, we even struggle with beer! Brewers, winemakers, and distillers may include animal ingredients in their products directly, or use them in processing and filtration. When making the product dairy, honey and other products can be added to the final recipe. When filtering the drinks prior to bottling, companies may use isinglass (from fish bladder,) gelatin, egg whites, and even sea shells! These products grab onto the impurities and make it easier to catch them in the filters, though there are many animal-free alternatives that can be used instead.
We found out that all of the keg and bottled conditioned beers at Wylam were suitable for veggies and vegans as they are unfined and unfiltered, which is great news. We had to obtain clarification on this from staff as there seemed to be a miscommunication, and we’ve advised it would be advisable if they included this on a menu of sorts. It can be off-putting having to consult with apps to discover what can and can’t be consumed, and I know there are many folk in Newcastle that would appreciate that sort of labelling. It was warm and cosy with the wood burner, especially now the weather is more autumnal. We definitely worked up an appetite walking in the cold and playing in the park with Dinky, and were clamming by the time we were seated. The starter of Cauliflower Soup sounded tempting, although I decided against it as there was no vegan option available for Mr. Canny. Bread and Olives are a suggestion to pop on the menu in future so those who are dairy-free aren’t left out. To reassure my veggie readers, I sought clarification and the Parmesan listed as an ingredient in the soup is vegetarian.The meaty options of Topside Beef, Pork or Lamb look delicious, if that’s you’re sort of thing. At £12 it isn’t the cheapest you’ll find in the North East by a long stretch, but quality is worth paying for. You have to weigh up whether you’d prefer to pay £15 for two people in some city centre establishments that don’t use the same quality of ingredients or have the same ambience of this establishment. One of our favourite Sunday lunch venues – The Feathers Inn – charges £16.50 for one course, so Wylam seems reasonable in comparison. The Teen decided to have a vegetable and double Yorkshire Pudding combo instead of the Lentil & Pistachio Terrine, which was the vegetarian and vegan meat ‘substitute’. I was told the gravy is gluten-free, and there’s a footnote to say gluten and wheat allergies can be accommodated with advance notice. I’m not sure if that means they can knock up a gluten-free Yorkie Pud, and would be interested to know if that’s the case as I have friends with an intolerance. We were happy with the portions, and Mr. Canny was given extra to compensate for the lack of a vegan-friendly Yorkshire Pudding. He also wasn’t able to eat the Bashed Roots as they were prepared in advance with butter. but the other vegetables were cooked fresh for him without dairy so he could enjoy a full plate of food.
We were asked if we wanted a jug of extra gravy, which the Teen appreciated with his extra Yorkie Pud. The only thing we felt could be improved upon were the roast potatoes, which were a little anaemic for our tastes. The protein-rich lentil base for the Nut Roast gave a slightly smoky flavour to the base, while the pistachios added to the texture of the dish. I wasn’t going to have dessert in protest as there were no vegan options, but seeing a Treacle Sponge Pudding arrive at the table beside us swayed my ethics. Reminsicent of school dinner puds in a good way, this was the perfect end to round off the meal. I split it with the Teen, not wanting to feel too stuffed after such generous portions. With a thick layer of syrup and thick homemade custard, the only person who makes a better sponge is my Mum.Our food was £35, with drinks taking the total to just over £50. Mr. Canny had a bottle of beer while we were dining, but had the choice of more beers if he’d been so inclined. While some may wince, 3 main courses in a chain restaurant would easily tot up to the same amount. I’m happy to recommend Wylam as a Sunday lunch option to other vegetarians and vegans based on the standard of food they’re serving up, and hope a starter and dessert will be added to the menu in due course to cater for those with dairy allergies.
Thanks for reading,