The small town of Glossop where I live is pretty good for vegan eats and drinks. There's some great places for coffee that offer plant milks like Twig and Panaderia. Ayubowan and Pico Lounge have clearly marked vegan items on their menus. The Pie Parlour bakery specialises in vegan and gluten free pies, breads + cakes and of course there is The Globe pub where famously all the food is vegan. Just before Christmas a branch of Pizza Express opened in a converted mill building and their PR people invited Matt and I along to sample some vegan menu items.
We were joined on the night by Jane who writes reviews for the Vegetarian Society and her partner Simon who were sampling vegetarian items on the menu. I'm afraid our food pictures are on the dark side due to the low lighting! Matt and Simon both went for pizzas. Matt opted for the Pianta which is a cheeseless pizza with a spicy tomato sauce, spinach, mushrooms, pine nuts and artichokes. As you can see there was a decent amount of toppings and this went down well! Simon chose a cauliflower cheese pizza which I thought was an amazing idea for a pizza and one that I would love to try to veganise at home!
Jane opted for the risotto which we were originally told could be veganised but after our waiter double checked with the kitchen it turned out it could just be made vegetarian by omitting the salmon. I went for a salad as my main. It was the Leggara Superfood Salad which has black rice, edamame beans, red quinoa, mung beans, chickpeas, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and kale in a vinaigrette on a bed of seasonal mixed leaves, rocket, cucumber, roasted red & yellow peppers. It also comes with house dressing which I asked them to leave off as it wasn't vegan. I asked for some extra olive oil to drizzle but actually didn't need it. It was a nice mix of colours and textures. There is an option to add extra salmon or chicken to it but not extra veggies. I would have enjoyed something like pumpkin or butternut squash or maybe some smoked tofu as an extra.
The salad was tasty and as with the other Leggara menu items is a lower calorie option. On it's own I don't think it would quite have filled me up enough so I was glad that Matt and I had also got some dough balls to share. The dough balls usually come with garlic butter but you can order them with oil instead and they were great comfort food.
We finished with a scoop of raspberry sorbet which was nice and refreshing. I've never really explored the world of sorbets but I got Marie Laforet's The Best Homemade Vegan Cheese and Ice Cream Recipes for Christmas so I can see some home made ones in the future!
It's fantastic to see more and more places like this adding vegan options to their menus. Much as I love completely vegan restaurants I find places like this so useful when booking meals with family, friends or work colleagues. By offering some decent vegan options even if there's only one vegan in a group it's often what clinches the choice of restaurant.
We were hugely impressed by the design elements of the restaurant which gave a nod to Glossop's mill town past with giant colourful cotton reels, beautiful industrial light fittings and lots of lovely exposed brick work. We enjoyed the evening, the service was very good and I liked the atmosphere. I know we will definitely be back. I hope that Pizza Express continue to add vegan options and it would be great if they could also produce a vegan menu as there was a little confusion over some menu items. It's a small thing but lots of places do this now and it must be so helpful to waiting staff as well as reassuring to vegan diners.
Disclaimer - Matt and I were provided with a free meal by Pizza Express. All views expressed are my own.