Being a vegetarian (and now vegan) can often be annoying when it comes to looking at places to go out for dinner. When going out with my non-veggie/vegan friends, I’m often swamped with the same choice of a generic vegetable pasta dish or some fancied up piece of salad. Despite the choice being adequate and hopefully edible, it’s frustrating how the food market doesn’t allow for plant-based foods to shine. Surprise, surprise, plant-based foods can look elegant and taste delicious.
An example of this can be found in 1847, a modern vegetarian restaurant (that has branches all across the UK) on 26 Great Western Arcade in the city-centre. The name of the restaurant derives from the year the vegetarian society formed in 1847. The restaurant thrives off its use of the finest ingredients sourced from local suppliers. 1847 aims to challenge the way vegetarian food is perceived. Hoorah!
In order to promote vegetarian and vegan food, the restaurant holds an offer on Mondays. If you book online with the quote ‘MeatFreeMonday’ in booking comments, you can snag yourself 50% off your total bill if you dine on a Monday. Naturally, I did this because who can resist a whopping half-priced meal. Although, this may have teased me into becoming Bruce Bogtrotter from Matilda and consuming a three course meal…
Anywho, I decided to go straight after a long day of work to the restaurant. The soothing ambience translated into my inner self and relaxed every nerve. My boyfriend called the interior design and music choice ‘a little pretentious indie place’ but I really loved its stylish Scandinavian decor and melodic tunes.
For my starter, I ordered dusted goat cheese bon bons, toasted shards of bread with apple. Hello texture galore. The creaminess of the goat cheese was an excellent pair to the sweetness of the apple and the crispness of the bread. Although, I would say the apple was slightly overbearing and eccentric. The four different types of apple; the sauce, apple pieces and apple slithers were just a bit too much. For me, this dish would be perfect without the apple slithers as I thought they were just present to make the plate look more aesthetically pleasing.
Onto my main course: I selected “Fish” and Chips, which essentially was beer-battered halloumi cheese with lemon curd, pureed peas and hand-cut chips. Before I had even begun, it had already won me over with how thick and crisp the chips looked. However, when I took my first bite; a bite with all the bits and pieces the dish had to offer, I realised that this dish surpassed the starter on a completely new level. I understood what chefs and food critics meant by calling dishes ‘perfectly balanced.’ There was a perfect amount of each ingredient, especially with the lemon curd as anymore would have immediately overpowered the dish.
By this point, I’m already quite stuffed and I felt that with any more food, I might have had to be rolled back into Selly Oak. Although, like the trooper that I am, I persevered onto my finale: the dessert. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of my dessert which also left my Instagram dessertless (oh how horrifying for my followers). Maybe it was because I was partially in a food coma by this point or maybe because the dish wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as the others. I thought the dessert would be a sure winner as it was a mango crème brulee with a passionfruit coulis. For me, mango and passionfruit is my favourite food combo so I was delighted for my dessert to be comprised of these ingredients. However, the dish was satisfactory and didn’t go above the mark. I felt that possibly desserts might not be their strongest suit, as they didn’t have much to offer.
Nevertheless, 1847 is definitely a place to let your veggie/vegan taste buds explore and to witness intelligent creations of dishes that demonstrate that plant-based foods can look and taste amazing.