Restaurant Review | Offbeet Vegan Restaurant | Wickham

Wickham is quaint medieval village, located in the heart of the Meon Valley in Hampshire, in the south of England. I can’t imagine that it would be on too many (if any) international travellers’ itineraries. But perhaps it should. Historical buildings, independent retailers and a couple of uber-delicious Indian restaurants amongst many other eateries. What more could you want? But I digress… This is not a post about Wickham itself, but one of the more recent additions to it’s gastro community – Offbeet Vegan Restaurant.

Offbeet Vegan Restaurant - Chesapeake Mill

Offbeet Vegan Restaurant is a 100% vegan and 100% gluten free cafe. It’s nestled in the back corner of Chesapeake Mill, a watermill dating back to the 1800’s which itself offers a unique shopping experience. There are only a handful of tables, some of which look out over the garden creating a wonderful ambience. So we would suggest booking a table to avoid disappointment.

The Food

Well where to start?! As you know C is a vegetarian; I am not. I have enjoyed eating vegetarian food before, including our amazing meal at Terre-a-Terre in Brighton, but I have never before considered going vegan. After tasting (and seeing) the food at Offbeet Vegan Restaurant, I may have to reconsider!

Offbeet Vegan Restaurant - Menu

The menu is full of exciting sounding and tasting dishes including Holey Moley, a chocolate chilli! Offbeet is passionate about fresh, local and organic produce and with all dishes made to order and almost everything being made from scratch including stocks and sauces. We opted for the Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chic-ken served with tofu ‘egg’ rice, Harissa, Lime & Cacao Tacos and a side of polenta chips.

The Tacos

Offbeet Vegan Restaurant - Tacos

I opted for the tacos which sounded exciting: “charred cauliflower and black beans spiced with our own harissa, lime and 100% cacao chocolate, with red onions, coriander, cucumber and garlic chipotle chilli cashew mayo,, served in our handmade tacos”. When the dish arrived, it looked like a work of art. I wasn’t sure if I should dig in or sit and admire it for awhile! But once you take that first bite, any and all concerns would be  extinguished. The smoky harissa-coated cauliflower and black beans melt in the mouth; the soft tacos are warm and a little bit chewy and the lime adds a sharp zingyness. With peppery salad leaves, and crunchy radish and cucumber the dish is complete. I also ordered the homemade ‘super guacamole’ to go with it and I was glad I did. I could have eaten it with a spoon on it’s own!

Sweet n Sour

Offbeet Vegan Restaurant - Sweet n Sour Chic-Ken

C chose the Sweet & Sour vegan Chicken, with tofu rice (as opposed to egg fried rice). Again we were served a beautiful looking plate of food. We couldn’t help but get the camera out and start snapping! I would challenge anyone who likes Asian food not to enjoy this. It tasted exactly like a Sweet ‘n’ Sour dish I would expect to be served in a Chinese restaurant. In my book that’s a good thing. The tofu rice was delicious too and I couldn’t tell the difference. The vegan chicken had a touch of crisp to the outside with soft chewy-yummyness inside. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable plate of food.

POLENTA CHIPS

Offbeet Vegan Restaurant - Polenta Chips

If we’re honest we didn’t need to order these. The portion sizes of our mains were ample enough, but C really wanted some chips! They were a real surprise too. Having never eaten polenta before I wasn’t sure what to expect. They were chunky, cripsy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside with a hint of rosemary. They were a perfect side dish to our meals and would also make a tasty snack.

The drinks

Offbeet Vegan Restaurant - Drinks

Offbeet looks more like a cafe than a restaurant. You order your food at the till, whilst staring at a glass cabinet full of droolingly tasty cheesecakes (see below) and there are bags of coffee for sale on shelves. You can also get your coffee to go. The founder of Offbeet is also involved with Winchester Coffee Roasters, so it’s no surprise really that they take their coffee seriously. C had an almond latte and assures me it was delicious! It certainly looked pretty with some amazing foam-art on top.

As well as the hot drinks (coffee, various teas and hot chocolate) there are of course soft drinks available. I opted for a Karma Cola which came in a funky glass bottle and was very tasty.

the desserts

If you’re just popping in for a coffee, don’t be surprised if you end buying some cake too. An array of cheesecake flavours, from lemon & coconut to peanut butter, macadmia and strawberry will entice you. If you want something smaller there are brownies, and muffins all freshly baked. Even better you can take them away! I opted for the aforementioned Peanut butter, macadamia and strawberry cheesecake. It was delicious!

 

conclusion

If you haven’t been to Offbeet Vegan Restaurant yet, you should. FACT. Whether you’re a life long vegan or a staunch meat eater, you can’t help but enjoy the food. The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about what they’re serving, there is a nice relaxed atmosphere and again, the food…*drools whilst remembering*.

Offbeet Vegan Restaurant - Scenic View

Okay so it’s not the cheapest place around. We spent about £40 on a lunch which sounds crazy expensive, but we did get 2 drinks, 2 main meals with a side and 2 desserts. The portion sizes are very generous too and you could easily share one dish if you’re not overly hungry.

Overall we absolutely loved our visit and will definitely be visiting again in the not too distant future. We can’t recommend going highly enough.

Have you eaten at Offbeet Vegan Restaurant before? What did you order and what did you think? Get in touch in the comments below, we’d love about your Offbeet experience.

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Australia’s Tasty Treat | Lamington Day

Food and drink are two of our favourite things in the world. I wish we could seem all cultured; saying we could taste the differences of two wine regions, or appreciate michelin-star dining. Sadly, that’s not the case.

I became a little obsessed with drinking coffee in New York, despite D adamantly protesting that it’s not proper coffee. Our favourite food in Brazil was pizza. And lastly, the thing we bought whenever we went to a shop in Australia – Lamingtons.

Lamingtons are a light a fluffy sponge cake, covered in chocolate icing and then smothered in chopped coconut. Fun fact: They are named after the British Governor of Queensland, Lord Lamington. It is rumoured that his cook was asked to prepare something for some unexpected visitors, and this is all he had left in the cupboard.

Friday 21st July 2017 is National Lamington Day in Australia. To celebrate that and the crazy hot weather we’ve been having in the UK for the past few weeks, we decided to recreate our favourite Australian treat.

And actually, it’s really easy.

We adapted the recipe from Taste.com.au and they turned out to be soft and yummy and absolutely perfect – especially with a cup of English Breakfast. If you’d like to have a go at making them yourself, all you need is this handy-dandy recipe.

Lamingtons
  • 125g soft butter
  • 220g caster sugar
  •  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  •  130ml milk
  •  A bag of desiccated coconut (ours was 200g)
  •  500g icing sugar
  •  30g cocoa powder
  •  120ml boiling water
  1. Put the oven on to 180°C. Grease a square tin.
  2. Mix together the butter, sugar and vanilla essence.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each one.
  4. Sift the flour into the bowl and then pour in the milk.
  5. Fill the pan with the mixture and put in the oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Eat the remaining cake mixture while you wait*
  7. Take the cake out of the oven when a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Wait for 10 minutes and then take the cake out of the tin.
  9. Let the cake 100% cool down.
  10. Sift the icing sugar a cocoa into a different bowl.
  11. Add the butter and boiling water.
  12. Stir until there are no lumps left.
  13. Cut the cake into as many pieces as youwant. We chose 16, but I think 25 would have worked too.
  14. Set out your conveyor belt of cake, then the icing, then some coconut in a shallow dish, and then a wire rack over a baking tray.
  15. For each cake piece, dip it in the icing and wait for the excess to drip off.
  16. Using a spoon, cover every side in coconut.
  17. Place on the wire rack.
  18. Leave to stand until set (around 2 hours)
  19. Eat the rest of the icing**
  20. Persuade someone else to clear up the horrendous mess you’ve made.

* There is definitely a health risk with eating anything with raw eggs, please use your own judgement.
** This is almost pure sugar, and will leave you feeling pretty horrendous if you eat all of it. But, it does taste great mixed in with greek yoghurt.

What’s your favourite international food? Do you celebrate any weird holidays? Let us know in the comments below!

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Restaurant Review | Terre A Terre | Brighton

I grew up in a “Meat and two veg” kind of family. When I chose to become a vegetarian as a teenager, dinner mainly consisted of the meat-free sausages of fifteen years ago that tasted vaguely of cardboard… and two veg. Somehow, this happened less than 30 miles away from the centre of Brighton – vegetarian Mecca. Back in the day there were two prominent vegetarian restaurants. One of which, Terre A Terre, it took fifteen years for me to get to try.

Terre A Terre Review | Outside Continue reading

Restaurant Review | Lord of the Fries – Sydney

Meal times can often be an absolute nightmare for us. Between our lack of any ability to make any decision, plus our complete inability to spend money added to the fact that meat is a complete no go for us (well me), we wind up getting frustrated and hot, grumpy and hungry. So it was an absolute delight to happen upon Lord of the Fries in Sydney.

Despite reminding me of the honestly terrifying book our GCSE class was forced to study, it turned out to be a fantastic oasis in the concrete jungle that is Sydney CBD.

Lord of the Fries - Entrance Continue reading

300 Days Travelling on the Road – Our Favourite Things

We made it! We’ve now been travelling for over 300 days! We hope you all had a great Christmas, we certainly did and we’re looking forward to what 2017 has in store for us.

We haven’t done a favourite things post for a long time, our last was when we reached 150 days. Since then our travelling has taken us to Thailand both north and down south on the islands; we did a whistle-stop trip down through Vietnam and spent time in Malaysia. We volunteered at a party hostel, had a lovely visit from C’s mum and D’s parents came to see us for a week in Cambodia. Now we’re in Sydney where we’ve spent Christmas and New Year.

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Morning Glory Restaurant, Thai Cooking Class – A Review

When in Rome…

According to Trip Advisor, taking a Thai cooking class is the 2nd most popular thing to do in Chiang Mai. Eating Thai food was one of the reasons I was so excited for our (first) stint in Thailand; therefore learning to cook it, via a Thai cooking class, was a no brainer. There are tons of places offering a Thai cooking class. From a couple of hours in the evening, to a full day including local market tours.

Thai cooking class Continue reading

Photo Friday: The Dinos of Sucre

dinosaurs of sucre

Sucre is a city in Bolivia. Due to its lovely colonial buildings it has been nicknamed the White City. It’s also great place to start acclimatising to altitude at 2,800m; and the sheer amount of Westernised cafes, hostels and bars have ensured it’s firmly on the tourist route. One other great things about it are the dinosaurs of Sucre and that was this #PhotoFriday focuses on.

dinosaurs of sucre - title Continue reading

Recipe For a Perfect Caipirinha

Our first experience of Caipirinhas were in Rio, as they are a special delicacy in Brazil. Since then, they have been an at least weekly, (sometimes daily) occurrence of sweet and sour goodness. We knew we were going to want a Caipirinha recipe so we could make them ourselves at some point.

As we get further from Brazil, they are disappearing from bar menus and, when they do feature, are getting more expensive. Luckily, we smuggled some of the main ingredient, Cachaça, across the border. (We say ‘smuggled’, it’s not illegal, but it makes us sound like pirates, aargh!) Continue reading