The only true hardship I’ve found with veganism, is when it comes to eating out. I’ve found myself sticking to the same handful of restaurants that offer vegan friendly options which whilst pleasant enough, can get a little boring. I mean let’s face it, there’s only so many times one can get excited about a cheeseless pizza.
So when I heard about an entirely plant-based restaurant opening right in the centre of Newcastle, I nearly did somersaults. Being able to go a restaurant and have every single item on the menu is a BIG thing. So it wasn’t long before Scott and I booked a table for a “2 courses for £10” offer.
After getting lost thanks to a rogue satnav, we eventually found Painted Elephant tucked next to the city centre library. We were greeted at the door and shown to our table. The waitress was so lovely and even let me move tables because I was cold. (Yes, I’m one of those customers.) Our drinks order was taken quickly and brought to us right away whilst we settled in and had a look at the menu.
It’s worth noting the restaurant is BYOB with a small corkage fee, so bear that in mind if you want an alcoholic beverage. If not they have a nice choice of teas and Fentimans drinks.
Apologies for the terrible quality of these photographs, the lights in the restaurant were very dim which although helps create a relaxing atmosphere, doesn’t make for very good photos. It also didn’t help having an impatient boyfriend who kept snatching at the food as I was photographing it because “Hurry up, I just want to eat.”
You’d have thought he’d have learnt by now..
Not wanting to fill ourselves up we decided to share a small starter, opting for the House Hummus. It came served on a wooden board with toasted pita bread and a salad. The hummus was fresh and plentiful, with more than enough for dipping the pita in to.
For my main course I went for the Rigatoni Bolognese. I was served a chunky pasta topped with a tempeh ragu, rocket, and fresh pesto. This was my first time trying tempeh so I have nothing to compare it to but it was delicious, hearty and although 100% free of any animal products, I feel it would be a great dish for someone who hasn’t tried vegan food before to get a taste of what can be made. As well as proving us vegans eat more than just salads!
It was an extremely filling dish and I could have easily eaten this course alone and left the restaurant satisfied. There was a generous serving of ragu which was perfect for me as there’s nothing worse than having loads of pasta with hardly any sauce.
Scott went for the Buddha Burger and I was quick to pinch a few fries from his plate, they were homemade chunky cut style like the ones my mum used to make me and almost as delicious (sorry Painted Elephant, but my mum reads my blog and she’d kill me if I said hers aren’t the best!)
The presentation of this dish was so cute, with the chips served in a little fast food style carton next to the sweet potato burger. I’m not a huge burger fan myself but I had a bite and can happily report that it was delicious, and not at all greasy unlike some veggie burgers I’ve had in the past.
If you’re anything like me, dessert is always the most exciting course and although stuffed, I found a little bit of room to squeeze some pudding in. Scott decided on the Chilli-choc-beet tasting board, which consists of chilli-chocolate brownie, chocolate chia seed mousse, and what would normally have been a chocolate beetroot ice cream but they had ran out so it was replaced with vanilla which suited us just fine.
The brownie has a lovely texture but there was definitely a kick to it, I don’t really like spicy food so I cooled my mouth down with a spoonful of ice cream and concentrated on my own dessert.
Earl Grey has always been my tea of choice and I enjoy it in all its forms, black, a dash of soya milk, a wedge of lemon and now CAKE! Vegan cake is something I’ve never been able to perfect but Painted Elephant have got it down to a tea (gettit?)
The cake was moist and the Earl Grey flavours not at all overpowering, it was so good my mouth is actually watering as I type this. The cake changes every day but all the flavours I’ve seen so far sound equally as delicious.
I can definitely see myself visiting Painted Elephant often. The menu is seasonal and changes monthly so I have absolutely no fears of getting bored of having the same dish again and again. I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough and can’t wait to see what Februarys menu has in store!