Cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’ - Vesta

Vesta

12th December 2018 8pm

https://vestaedinburgh.co.uk

Vesta is where Home used to be situated on Queensferry Street and is still affiliated with Social Bite, offering the opportunity to pay it forward as well as offering training and employment programmes for the Social Bite Academy. I was visiting with Emma from Vegan Edinburgh (veganedinburgh.com) and Ann from A Quirky Lifestyle (www.quirkylifestyle.com) and Celebrating Our World (www.instagram.com/celebratingourworld). We were offered a booth to sit in and we ordered some cocktails whilst deciding on the food. This place caters well for vegans and vegetarians as well as meat eaters. I went for the baked camembert followed by the pork belly and black pudding roulade. My friends went for the hot smoked salmon and cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’ for their starters and then the miso glazed seitan and cashew stir fry and the mushroom stuffed seitan for their mains.

Breaded Camembert - Vesta

Breaded Camembert – Vesta

Hot smoked salmon - Vesta

Hot smoked salmon – Vesta

Cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’ - Vesta

Cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’ – Vesta

The starters arrived with simple plating. My breaded camembert came in four big pieces along with some salad and spiced red onion chutney. The camembert was oozy and the crumb was crispy. The chutney went nicely with it. The hot smoked salmon was a little hidden on my friend’s plate due to a covering of toasted ciabatta. This dish came with braised leeks and a small swirl of garlic veloute. This was a sturdy dish, albeit a little pedestrian. The cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’ were going down a treat. The heat was brought through a Bloody Mary salsa which was tempered by a vegan sour cream. Again, there was a little salad on the dish as a garnish.

Pork belly and black pudding roulade - Vesta

Pork belly and black pudding roulade – Vesta

Mushroom stuffed seitan - Vesta

Mushroom stuffed seitan – Vesta

Miso glazed seitan and cashew stir fry - Vesta

Miso glazed seitan and cashew stir fry – Vesta

The mains came out with similar understated plating. My roulade was a generous portion and was really cooked well. The mash was nice and the red cabbage tasty. The apple sauce pulled it all together really well, but as the only vaguely wet thing on the dish, it really felt that there was a gravy or sauce missing. It wasn’t overly dry but needed just a little bit more. The same could be said for the mushroom stuffed seitan. This was also a great dish but could have done with some kind of additional sauce with it. The cranberry sauce was not enough for what was on the plate. However, the seitan was good and the vegetables worked well. The stir fry also had seitan in it. It was found to be a filling dish. From my point of view, I’d have liked to see a bit more colour in it, but that is a personal preference.

All the food we ate was good. It’s not overly exciting food but to have a good choice for non-meat eaters is great.

Food – 7/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere- 8/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Probably

£66 for three starters, mains and cocktails (we also put some money on top of this to pay it forward).

Kalpna

Kalpna

12th January 2017 7.30pm

www.kalpnarestaurant.com

My friend Emma at Vegan Edinburgh took a photo of a lovely looking thaali at Kalpna some time ago, so when she suggested we visit, along with Ann from A Quirky Lifestyle, I didn’t need any persuading!

Kalpna is a vegetarian restaurant serving Indian food but has many vegan friendly dishes. The walls are decorately beautifully inside and made for an impressive interior. After a bit of debate between a thaali and a dosa, I felt I had to try the thaali and opted for the thaali raj bhog. Emma went for the vegan version of this. Ann picked a starter and a main and went for the bateta vada followed by the mysore masala dosa. We obviously had some poppadoms too- we are not idiots!

Vegetarian Thaali - Kalpna

Vegetarian Thaali – Kalpna

The food came out very quickly. The thaalis are massive (there is a mini option if you prefer). The platter had a couple of starters, a tiny bit of salad, a couple of dips, 5 small main dishes, rice, naan, poppadom and a dessert. The starters were bhajis and a really nice potato pakora. These could be dipped into the raita or the tamarind and date sauce. The tamarind sauce was definitely my favourite of the two. The mains were all curry based, three of which were brimming with vegetables. One was green bean based and was thick but had a lovely, vibrant flavour to match it’s beautiful green colour. Another had lots of sweetcorn and mushrooms in, which was unusual but nice. Another was a spicier green bean curry but has a strong tomato base instead. There was also a paneer butter masala and a tarka dhal. The dhal was way too salty for me but Emma, who had the same in her vegan thaali, found hers to be just right, so it could just be my salt-sensitive palate. The paneer butter masala was my favourite of all the dishes. There was plenty of paneer in it for such a small dish and the sauce was creamy and delicately spiced. The rice was great and the naans nicely fluffy. The dessert, whilst nice, was a bit too sweet for me, being rice based but in an over flavoured milk. Emma enjoyed her thaali. With most of the dishes being the same as the vegetarian, there were only a couple of substitutes, mainly for the paneer and the dessert. Ann enjoyed her starter of bateta vada and in the end preferred this over her dosa. She felt her dosa, whilst massive, wasn’t quite what she expected. She was also a little underwhelmed by the coconut chutney that came with it.

Dosa - Kalpna

Dosa – Kalpna

So, overall Kalpna was good. It isn’t going to set the world alight but you will leave feeling you enjoyed your meal.

Food – 7.5/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value- 9/10

Overall – 31.5/40

Would I eat here again? Probably

Cost £63 for two thaalis, one starter, one main and two diet cokes