Food & Drink: Bites Veggie Restaurants
Saturday 06 November 1999
Rasa, 16 Dering Street, London W1 (0171-629 1346). Lunch and dinner Mon-Sat, Sun dinner. A restaurant for vegetarians to cherish, this serves the home cooking of Kerala, painstakingly prepared, as the first taste of chutneys with poppadoms reveals. Starters are mainly starchy snacks, then on to dosa or superb curries, such as the tangy beetroot and spinach with yoghurt or a refulgent mango one. Eat for around pounds 20 on one of two tranquil pink floors.
Demuths, 2 North Parade Passage off Abbey Green, Bath (01225 446059). Daily lunch, tea and dinner. Veggie stalwart with a near monopoly in the West Country. The all-day cafe evolves into a night-time restaurant (booked up well ahead at weekends). The decor's the opposite of dowdy, yet the food suits the strictest regimes. Ice-creams are soya; roasted squash comes with vegan garlic mayo. Mains rove the world: Ethiopian meze, Lebanese salad, or Stilton potato souffle with courgette, apple and mushroom sauce, red cabbage and beetroot salsa and crisp autumn veg - all for pounds 8.75. All the wines, beers and spirits are organic.
Melton's, 7 Scarcroft Road, York (01904 634341). Mon dinner, Tue-Sat lunch and dinner, Sun lunch. Husband and wife-run, smart homely restaurant which is not vegetarian, but shows an even-handed respect for ingredients and customers. There are always vegetarian choices, but on Tuesday nights even more are provided. Many meat-eaters order the intensely buttery three onion risotto as a main course, and the Gruyere pave - a cheese mousse with pesto - is enduringly popular. Veggie starters such as brandade of aubergine or onion mille feuilles are less than pounds 5; mains are around pounds 10. Set lunch is pounds 15; set dinner pounds 19.50.
Quince & Medlar, 13 Castlegate, Cockermouth, Cumbria (01900 823579). Tue-Sat dinner. In its 10-year life, this has won Vegetarian Restaurant of the Year award twice. It has earned its national reputation for the likes of red onion tarte tatin, Lebanese pancake with roast beetroot, then Wensleydale and Jerusalem artichoke rosti, or carrot and minted pea roulade. Starters are pounds 4, mains pounds 8.45.
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