Vegetarian Review: Saints and Scholars

SAINTS AND SCHOLARS

694 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, M20 2DN

Veggie friendly, A la carte menu and giant Specials blackboard on the wall, open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.

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Saints and Scholars (or Saints and Scollops as I call it for no logical reason) is the place where me and my partner (B) visit on the way back from Fletcher Moss park, each season. After walking through beautiful gardens, a wood and back into Didsbury villiage we tend to be pretty hungry and order a big hearty dish of the A la carte menu. We’ve not visited on a special occasion so haven’t ordered from the much pricier Specials board yet. Veggie options aren’t marked with a (V) so just look out for the word ‘cheese’ which is a definite indicator. Did I mention they aren’t particularly vegan friendly?

The decor in this place could be described as whimsically charming but I prefer to call it wonderfully bonkers. British vintage advertisements, metal retro street signs, stools and even a pair of ice skates hang at wonky angles from the walls.

Starter: Greek Salad

A giant piece of feta cheese surrounded by peppers, curly lettuce (that’s it’s Latin name honest), tomatoes, black olives and a relatively large amount of onion.

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Main: Spinach and Ricotta Canelloni

When this arrived I was equally surprised and delighted by the fact the top was entirely covered in melted cheese! On further exploration I found the most delicious version of this dish I have ever tried. A huge amount of spinniach cooked perfectly with a white sauce of medium to thick consistency but not at all sickly and just the right amount of zingy tomato sauce which really lifted the dish. Suprisingly it nearly over faced me (and my astonishingly stretchy stomach’s capacity for yet more food) but I bravley plowed on until I had cleared my plate… and moped up the sauce…with some bread.

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My partner B ordered veggie Fajita’s for his main course. I think he was expecting all-ready wrapped fajita’s with a substantial filling consisting of Quorn or beans possibly, however everything arrived separately supermarket kit style and the vegetable filling wasn’t very – well, filling. A generous amount of dip was provided compared to an underwhelming amount of wraps. Basically, don’t rely on the Main’s to all be as equally filling as each other – which if you are planning on squeezing in a big desert can be a good thing.

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On the way out I saw a giant home made caramel & apple pie sitting in the fridge but was too full to fit in a slice…I’m ordering the fajitas next time.

Seasonal Style-Boards

I call these collages Style-Boards which I’ve been creating since last year. I recently started to put them in my scrapbook (the endearingly jumbled kind like my Mum saved her recipes and knitting patterns in , not the trendily templated and stickered variety) but friends said they were too nice to hide away. I’ve decided from now I’m going to display them on my wardrobe doors for everyday fash-spiration instead. Here they are newest first:

Summer 2013

summer 2013

summer 2013

Spring 2013

Spring 2013

Spring 2013

A/W 2012

A/W 2012

A/W 2012

 

S/S 2012

S/S 2012

S/S 2012

Vegetarian Review: 1847 Bistro – Central Manchester

1847 BISTRO – CENTRAL MANCHESTER

58 Mosley Street (front located on Booth Street), Manchester, M2 3HZ

Vegan options (VO) and Gluten-free options (GFO) available. Lunch and evening A La Carte menus. Substantial wine, beer and classic cocktail menu. Live jazz evenings last Thursday of every month from 19:00.

My partner and I had walked up Mosley Street a few times and never come across it even though we were keeping an eye out for it. In the end we had to ask our waitress in the Chorlton 1847 exactly where it was. The entrance and glass front is actually set back on Booth Street. I decided “To hell with it, I’m going to have a cheat day” so I had free reign with the exciting menu.

Starter: Jalapeno cheddar cakes with soured cream dip and chive oil

These were so delicious I barley stopped to breath while eating them! They were were crunchy on the outside and gooey in the centre. The soured cream was a refreshing contrast. The addition of jalapeno created a slight heat and fantastic flavour.

Main: Battered halloumi with hand cut chips, homemade tartar sauce, pea puree, shoots and lemon vinaigrette.

The lemon vinaigrette really complimented the battered halloumi cheese. The chunky chips arrived in a miniature metal frying basket (a micro-trend at 1847 I’m starting to realise) and had the skins left on the edges. They tasted great dipped into the almost sweet pea puree. The dish was really filling and satisfying.

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Desert: Vegan chocolate tart with pouring cream

Wow! The chocolate was the perfect consistency and tasted sweet but not at all sickly and the pastry crust tasted so buttery. I wouldn’t have had a clue any part of this desert was vegan it was so rich. The berries really added a refreshing zing to the chocolate as well. If my partner and I hadn’t have been full already we would have ordered another portion to share!

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Piccadilly Starflyer

The Starflyer has recently arrived and is brightening up the rather bleak looking Piccadilly Gardens. It seats 24 people and flings them out 70 metres into the air. The ride doesn’t last long (which some might very glad about once they are up there) but it will run with only two people on board so there’s no waiting around like people did with the big wheel.

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After 3 Belinis and a couple more pints of liquid courage I was all for trying it out but now in cold light of day I’m not brave enough. I asked my partner what he thought about it and he replied “It looks a bit boring.”

Vegetarian Review: 1847 Bistro – Chorlton

BISTRO 1847 – CHORLTON

123 Manchester Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 9PG

Vegan options (VO) and Gluten-free options (GFO) available. Weekend brunch available, weekday lunch available and evening A La Carte menus. Substantial wine, beer and classic cocktail menu.

The bistro is named after the year that The Vegetarian Society started in England. I ate here early on a Saturday evening and found the service to be excellent even though the place was rather full. The bistro is quite small but doesn’t feel as if the tables are crammed in. The decor is modern with a welcoming cozy feel.

For my Starter I chose Onion soup: A deliciously thick soup with gluten free bread.

For my Main Black bean and sweet potato stew with dumplings and greens (GFO): I was a little disappointed to find out that the ‘gluten free option’ was simply to miss out the part containing gluten so no dumplings for me! The waitress did inform me of this first to give me the chance of changing my order or to order an extra side. In my opinion if  a GF option is advertised then a suitable replacement should always be automatically included in the price of the dish. It was very tasty and surprisingly filling considering it had a thinner consistency than I was expecting.

For my Desert: Mixed berry crumble and pouring cream (VO) The ‘cream’ came in a miniature milk bottle which was a cute quirky touch. It was really tasty, not too sweet or too tart and it was tasty light rather than being an indulgent desert.

Starter and Desert potion sizes are a little on the small side, I felt like I could have easily ‘helped out’ my partner with his as well. Mains are a decent enough size and it’s all reasonably priced. I was pleasantly full however, rather than having an uncomfortable “I can barley move, quick call me a taxi!” feeling. The cocktail menu is full of classics and I ended up having 3 Belinis which made me pleasantly tipsy. I’m definitely going back again for brunch I imagine or maybe Sunday dinner.

Rating 3/5

FOCUS ON: The Buddha Beauty Company

THE BUDDHA BEAUTY COMPANY

I regularly browse Beauty Without The Beasts and they recomended The Buddha Beauty Company. Buddha Beauty sells hand-made products which are free from parabens and SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate a harsh chemical detergent) and contain 100% organic esential oils. The brand is BUAV approved and has been shortlisted by the 2013 Free From Skin Care Awards for the Hand and Body ‘Take off’ award. They are also a winner of the 2011 Vegan Non-Food Retailer of the Year award. They arebased in my home town of Manchester so I decided to speak to the founder (and the companies  lotion and poton maker) Llewelyn Thomas.

Llewelyn

Your products are mainly available online. Did having an online presence help to establish the brand?

“Not really, our brand awareness has come more from face to face interactions at various events; I do think that in the long term, once we have established a greater brand presence, our online presence will come into its own and do its job.”

Why take a far Eastern holistic approach to skin care?

“For the last 15 year I was employed by an airline as cabin crew and about 7 years ago, as a side line, I began my training in Holistic Therapy. The advantage of being cabin crew was that I had the opportunity to experience therapies and products in many different countries around the world and from these experiences I found that the Far Eastern rituals and products always exceeded my expectations. The fragrances were rich, exotic and completely enveloped the sense, I easily fell in love with all that the Far East has to offer and so my journey began.”

Are the aromatherapy aspects of these oils important in the effectiveness of your products as well?

“Each particular product is effective in its own rights, but I carefully choose the oil blends for there properties and benefits. I feel the consumer is much more aware of what they use these days and with this in mind I prefer to blend using aromatherapy oils instead of fragrance. ( I do have a survey on my Facebook page asking for feed back on the use of natural fragrance oils, essential oils and mane made fragrance oils).”

I’ll be sure to fill that in for you then.  Do you have any particular skin care regimes or beautifying tips you could share with me?

“I always feel that the simple things are the most effective, I know you will have heard this before but drink plenty of water, enjoy a good nights sleep and spend a little time to really read the label. Since my journey began I have only used my own products and have become a much more conscious shopper.”

Believe me, sleeping in is not a problem for me! Where do you hope to see the company going in the future – any plans for a make-up range?

“As the company grows we will be definatly going into make up thats for sure, and by the end of the year we will be offering facial oils, soaps, bath oils and more. We are always open to ideas and specific items if a customer writes to us asking for a product then we do try to make these.”

PRODUCT TRIAL

I decide my beauty routine is in need of an over-hall and I’m really excited about trying kinder more natural products on my sensitive (very high maintenance) skin.

All products

Organic Facial Cleanser with Grapefruit, Lavender & Frakincense

Facial Cleanser

The bottle has a pump which is handy and much better than getting a massive dollop in your hand and trying to put most of it back in. It has an amazing scent (my old cleanser did a great job but left my skin smelling of seaweed all day – urgh!) it isn’t too over powering though. The texture is rich and creamy rather than oily and a small amount removed the days makeup. It left my skin feeling moisturised without feeling greasy. I love this product!

Rating 5/5

Orange Water Toner

Natural Facial Toner

I’m very wary of toner as most contain alcohol which can be really drying (even the ones for sensitive skin) and make my skin bright red. I used the toner to wake my skin up in the morning and for the first time ever, I didn’t even need any moisturiser afterwards. The next day I’d had a makeup free day so I skipped the cleanser in the evening and just quickly used a bit of toner to remove any grease and remains of pollution before bed. I skipped my usual night cream (as I’d run out to be honest). I woke up in the morning expecting the usual combination-skin-blotchy-freak-out and my skin looked a little calmer and was completely balanced – surprising result!

Rating 5/5

Natural Body Scrub with Lemongrass & Bergamot

Natural Body Scrub

I give this a really good stir before I use it as the oil sinks to the bottom. The sea salt is an amazing exfoliant and because of the added oil it isn’t too harsh and very nuriting. The crystals do escape easily though so you have to keep scooping them together again. Again I don’t even need any moisturiser as it keeps my skin feeling super moisturized all day! The scent stays with you for hours so if you are planning on wearing perfume I’d get the fragrance free version.

Rating 3/5

Organic Body Lotion with Grapefruit, Lavendar & Frankincense

Organic Body Lotion

I use a bit of body lotion if my skin is feeling irritated from central heating or sun exposure rather to calm it .  This lotion is moisturising rather than greasy and sinks in quickly. I decide to use this after shaving my legs and before I apply fake tan (yes, I know that’s not very natural but I do use one as chemically free as possible). The heavenly scent does a good job of disguising that weird biscuity smell fake tan has and I get complimented on my new ‘perfume’ a few times – bonus!

Rating 5/5