It was my birthday last week (yep…21 again - ha!) and, as I've mentioned before, we don’t have a decent veggie restaurant locally so we tootled up to town for the day and had an astonishing lunch at Vanilla Black.
Having become used to only choosing the solitary ‘vegetarian option’ in restaurants I felt quite giddy with excitement at being faced with an entire menu! How exciting!
A selection of homemade breads and salt-flaked butter appeared without being requested – always a nice touch.
My starter of Brie Ice Cream, Pickled Plums and Mulled Custard with Sherry Vinegar and Cracked Hazelnut was very good. Had the ice-cream been a little less frozen, which deadened the flavour somewhat, it would have been excellent; however, the pickled plums and mulled custard were to die for. Mr Simply Veg was very happy with his bowl of Whipped Jacket Potato and Crispy Shallots with Tomato Syrup and Wensleydale Cheese.
My main course of Seared Seaweed and Cabbage with Pickled Potatoes, Soda Bread Sauce, Pickled Mustard Seeds and Foraged Seaside Vegetables tasted as amazing as it sounds and included a little heap of samphire which I love and which is served far too infrequently in my opinion. Mr S-V’s main of Double Baked Ribblesdale Pudding and Smoked Croquette with Pineapple Pickle and Poached Hen Egg was a little like a cheese soufflé served with a perfectly poached egg and a tangy pineapple chutney which offset the richness of the pudding.
I don’t usually eat desserts, I’m more of a savoury type, but as it was my birthday I thought I’d force myself…spoonsful of Chocolate, Port and Yoghurt Sponge with Fig Jelly, Dried Chocolate and Fig and Port Sorbet (mine) and Smoked Paprika Fudge, Malt Loaf and Builder's Tea Ice Cream with Crispy Pear and Smoky Pear (Mr S-V’s) were passed back and forth across the table amidst much smacking of lips while we both “Ooh-ed" and "Ahh-ed” with appreciation.
After excellent coffee we left, replete.
If I was being really picky about Vanilla Black I would say there is an over-reliance on cheese as a protein element and, conversely, a few of the dishes may be a bit protein-light for someone who worries about that type of thing, but.... if you're within travelling distance, go; it’s a proper restaurant rather than a café-style establishment, good service without being in your face and some really unusual combinations of flavours in their beautifully presented food.
All-in-all a very worthwhile excursion; if it was nearer it'd be hard to stay away.