Eat­ing Out Plenty of choice for the veg­e­tar­ian palate

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - EATING OUT -

GO­ING out to eat when you’ve got what are gen­er­ally re­ferred to as ‘spe­cial di­etary re­quire­ments’ can be a bit of a pain.

Hav­ing been a veg­e­tar­ian for over half my life, I despair at the num­ber of places - even the ex­pen­sive ones - that can’t seem to be both­ered to put more than two non­meat or fish dishes on the menu.

It’s frus­trat­ing be­cause veg­gie op­tions are so pop­u­lar these days - you’d sell those meals not just to com­mit­ted veg­e­tar­i­ans, but also to those who sim­ply fancy some­thing dif­fer­ent as well.

How­ever, Sweet Olives at the Queens­gate Ho­tel is not some­where that causes me this frus­tra­tion.

The restu­ar­ant has a vast ar­ray of veg­e­tar­ian dishes, and even a spe­cial veg­gie sec­tion on the menu.

And it’s not just the meat-free diet that is catered for - the menu has sev­eral, clearly-la­belled gluten­free dishes, and items which are aimed at peo­ple with healthy eat­ing in mind are also sig­nalled.

Hav­ing seen a sam­ple menu on­line, it was this va­ri­ety of dishes which at­tracted me, and I wasn’t dis­ap­pointed.

It is com­pletely re­fresh­ing to go to a res­tau­rant and have a real choice, and there­fore be able to have some­thing I re­ally want, rather than set­tling for the lesser of two culi­nary evils.

My din­ing part­ner for the evening was my friend Nyree, who is a meat-eater, so we were able to look at the res­tau­rant from both per­spec­tives.

Nyree started off the meal with the moz­zarella and roasted veg­eta­bles with sweet basil dress­ing (£4.25). She felt the veg­eta­bles were slightly over­cooked, but as a whole, the dish was still very tasty.

I went for a wa­ter­cress, pear and goat’s cheese salad (£4.50), which was taken from the salad menu. In keep­ing with the rest of the menu, this is very flex­i­ble, as all the sal­ads are avail­able as ei­ther a starter or a main.

Hav­ing set my sights on some­thing else for my main course, I opted to keep the salad a starter.

I’m not a mas­sive fan of pears, but had de­cided to try some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent, and was not dis­ap­pointed. The fruit and cheese were slightly warm and had lovely, con­trast­ing flavours, and there was a nice dress­ing on the wa­ter­cress, rocket and red chard salad.

For mains Nyree wanted to have chicken, and asked if it was free-range as she’s a very cru­elty-con­scious lady. It wasn’t, which was a slight dis­ap­point­ment, but she was more than pleased with her sec­ond choice, the rocket and cherry tomato penne pasta (£8.50), which came with a goats cheese sauce, and which she pro­claimed was “the show­stop­per” and “ut­terly de­li­cious”.

I or­dered the spinach, cour­gette, aubergine and brie Welling­ton (£8.25) and was pre-warned by the help­ful wait­ress that as the pas­try was fresh, it would take up to 25 min­utes to cook.

For fresh food, it was a wait I was more than happy to put up with, but as it turned out I think she was erring on the side of cau­tion as it wasn’t that long af­ter all.

The Welling­ton was de­li­cious and came was some tasty new pota­toes. A few other veg­eta­bles on the side would be have been nice, but per­haps that is me be­ing greedy.

Nyree and I were pretty stuffed af­ter two large cour­ses, and the olives and bread we’d been given at the start, but we de­cided, in the in­ter­ests of re­search, to press on with dessert.

I went for the sticky tof­fee pud­ding (£4.25) and Nyree had the choco­late and cap­puc­cino mousse (£4.50).

My pud­ding had a lovely flavour but a slightly strange tex­ture, and could per­haps have done with a lit­tle blob of vanilla ice cream to give con­trast­ing flavour.

Nyree found her dessert not quite as tasty as the de­scrip­tion on the menu but still seemed to en­joy it.

Over­all, it was a re­ally en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence. The food was good value for money, and clearly very fresh, and the res­tau­rant is stylishly de­signed­signed with bold art­work.

The real shame as far as I’m concerned is that more peo­ple weren’t in there - it was empty bar us and a few ho­tel guests, al­though in fair­ness it was a Tues­day evening.

Given the unin­spir­ing menus of some restau­rants, par­tic­u­larly if you want some­thing other than a lot of meat, it seemed a shame that some­where like this, that re­ally gives thought to peo­ple’s di­etary re­quire­ments, wasn’t busier.

I’d say this is one of Peter­bor­ough’s best-kept se­crets, and well worth check­ing out.


OF FLAVOURS: Han­nah’s pear and goats

cheese salad. HOME MADE: The spinach, cour­gette, aubergine and brie

Welling­ton. FIN­ISH­ING TOUCH: Nyree’s choco­late cap­puc­cino mousse.

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