Bulrush Vegan Taster

Bulrush Restaurant looks like a small place from the outside but actually is surprisingly large, rambling back and to the side as well as having an upstairs room. Sparsely decorated with white walls and dark wood furniture, the emphasis (as it should be) is on the food.

The menu includes a variety of foraged ingredients from mushrooms to sea vegetables along with a whole bunch of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Downstairs there is a small bar with a simple list of cocktails. TripAdvisor reckons it’s the best restaurant in Bristol so when I heard they were happy to make a vegan taster menu I had to go and give it a try!

I was accompanied by a good friend and fellow vegan. We started with cocktails, my adventurous friend tried a matcha green tea gin and tonic while I stuck with an old favourite – Aperol spritz. The pea green G&T tasted grassy and fresh, my Aperol spritz was just the ticket.


First came the amuse-bouche – fresh shredded cauliflower, crispy capers and chicken of the woods ketchup (it’s a mushroom called Laetiporus sulphureus also known as sulphur shelf!) on thin, fried potato crisps. Crispy, crunchy and bursting with flavour. The taste was sensational, we oohed and aahed, and oohed again! I don’t think my bouche has ever been so amused!


Then the tofu beignets, oh my lordy! Creamy firm tofu and homemade miso, wrapped in nori and fried in the lightest batter, topped with a vibrant, green blob of watercress purée and served with a beautiful elderflower and vinegar dipping sauce. More oohing and aahing! I could have eaten these all night!


Next came the miso soup with smoked oil and onion ash… a light soup, full of flavour. It came with white bread but might have been better with soda bread or sough dough.



The next course included vegan witchety grubs! I’d never had them before; Crosenes (Chinese artichokes) small rhizomes or roots, rich in carbohydrates and apparently a good source of minerals – potassium, phosphorus and calcium! Just lightly cooked, they are delightfully crunchy. We had them with peppery nasturtium leaves, baby leeks wrapped in nori (which looked like liquorice allsorts!), white beetroot, soya sauce and blackcurrants. A brave mix that I liked a lot. The blackcurrants and nori battling it out for supremacy.


Next up we had barbequed celeriac, pickled crabapple, smoked pear purée and walnuts. Autumn on a plate! Wonderful woody flavours, just a delight.


Then we were given hen-of-the-woods (another foraged fungus – Grifola frondosa) with braised salsify, diced turnip risotto and a generous portion of truffle lightly grated over the top. The risotto was creamy and crunchy at the same time, this is posh comfort food that fills your heart with joy.


The last savoury dish was confit pink fir potatoes, heritage carrots, charred spring onions, chicken-of the-woods ketchup, yoghurt and an old vegan favourite – nutritional yeast! Another clever combination. I would be very happy with this for my dinner any night of the week!


Then the dessert; baked figs, honeycomb granola and yoghurt – more autumnal comfort food! The crunchy granola was perfect with the soft figs and cool yoghurt.


The last course was delicately thin slices of pear with shiso granita, blackberries and a blackcurrant sorbet that was almost jet black and packed a real punch! Shiso was new to me (also known as akajiso). It’s an Asian culinary herb used for colouring the pickled plum or umeboshi. A clean, fresh dessert with some sharpness.


We had coffee and some lovely little petit fours – small cubes of blackcurrant jellies, talk about a party in your mouth!! The tasting menu was £48 and the drinks were around £7 each. Not a cheap night out but given the wonderful ingredients, the time and effort involved, I reckon it’s very good value and if they get a Michelin star soon (as suggested by the Bristol Evening Post) it probably won’t be available at that price for much longer!

This food is exceptional, one of the best meals I’ve ever had in a restaurant! It’s clean food but still decadent; it doesn’t wear a hair shirt! There are no pretentious smears of sauce across the plate and no dry ice pouring out over the table. The food is explained and you are told what each dish comprises of but I wasn’t ‘introduced’ to any of it and I didn’t hear the word ‘jus’ and I was the only person dressed in black! It was just a wonderful celebration of flavour created by a chef not afraid to take a few risks. Nori and blackcurrant – who would have thought?!

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Margarita cupcakes


Makes 12 muffin-sized cupcakes.

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ½ tsp freshly grated lime zest
  • 1 cup soya milk
  • ¼ cup rapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp tequila
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ⅓ cups plain flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ pack fondant icing and colouring
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and put 12 muffin cases into your cake tins.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the lime juice, zest, soya milk, oil, tequila, vanilla and sugar.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking soda and powder, and add the salt.
  4. Whisk until smooth then dived into the cupcake cases – they should be just over two-thirds full.
  5. Bake for 18-20 mins until a toothpick inserted comes out dry.
  6. Transfer to a cooling rack.

To ice, roll out fondant icing and cut skull shapes. Use a fork to indent teeth marks and paint with brush and black icing. Cut little circles in a different coloured icing (I used a pen lid as a cutter) and decorate with piped coloured icing as you like and use little silver balls for the eyes.

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Spicy Roasted Squash Risotto


This is my fella’s recipe. He says it looks like a right hassle but it isn’t… it is however, really tasty and just right for a lovely autumn supper.

  • 1 small squash (this was a red kabocha)
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper corns
  • ¼ teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 200g Arborio risotto rice
  • A glass of white wine or vermouth
  • 500ml vegetable stock, warmed
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Basil leaves
  • Vegan parmesan (Violife Prosociano)
  1. Cut the squash into 2cm cubes but do not peel.
  2. Crush the coriander seeds, black pepper corns, chilli flakes, 1 clove of garlic and ½ tsp of salt in a pestle and mortar.
  3. Put the squash, crushed spices, oregano and 1 tbs of olive oil into a bowl and mix so that the squash is coated.
  4. Put the squash into an oven pre-heated to 180° for about 20 minutes or until soft.
  5. Fry the onion in 2 tbs olive oil for about 5 minutes until soft but not browned.
  6. Add the remaining 2 cloves of garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the rice and fry until slightly transparent but not brown – stir constantly so it doesn’t stick.
  8. Add a glass of white wine or vermouth.
  9. Boil off the most of the liquid.
  10. Add a ladle of stock.
  11. Add the roasted squash.
  12. Simmer and keep adding ladles of stock whenever the liquid has been absorbed.
  13. Cook until the rice in tender.
  14. Garnish with shavings of vegan parmesan.




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Seitan chorizo

Another great recipe (very slightly adapted) from the Vegan Bible by Marie Laforêt! Very easy and dead cheap to make.

  • 150g gluten flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tsp extra
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp miso
  • 4 tsp chipotle sauce
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika, plus 1 tsp extra
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 100ml hot water

Put the gluten flour in a bowl. Put all the other ingredients (except the extra olive oil and paprika) in a bowl gradually adding the water and mix well – use a hand whisk or a fork. Add the liquid to the flour and mix well then knead for two minutes. Divide into two sausage shapes and roll up in parchment paper and tie the ends – leave room for the sausages to expand a bit. Cook for 30 mins in a large pan of boiling water. Remove, cool and unwrap then sauté the chorizos in the extra olive oil and paprika to give them a rich colour on the outside. Keep in the fridge for 24 hours before eating.  



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Full-bodied tempeh cheese

The recipe is taken from the Vegan Bible by Marie Laforêt, a lovey book full of inventive recipes and biblebeautiful photographs as well as some useful general information. It’s the only bible I’m likely to read…

This is a rich tempeh cheese with a good, deep flavour. Nice with crackers or in a salad, you could even use it on a pizza.  

  • 50g cashew nuts, soaked for 30 mins in water
  • 100g plain tempeh
  • 50ml water
  • 2 tbsp white miso
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Drain the cashews and blend with all the other ingredients until smooth. Place in an 8cm ring mould or if you don’t have one, pour into 4 or 5 well-oiled cups of a muffin tin. Bake for 20 mins at 180°C.


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Vegan Barcelona!

Barcelona has gone vegan! I just visited the city for a few days to see the Punk exhibition at MACBA andIMG_9488 was really surprised at the huge choice there is for vegans now.

I arrived at lunchtime and stopped at a regular bar for tapas and had padrón peppers, patatas bravas (no mayo), garlic mushrooms and pan con tomate. The waiter wasn’t phased at all when I said I am a vegan, he was really helpful!

In the evening we went to one of Barcelona’s new veggie eateries El Maderal, a smart vegan tapas bar near Sagrada Familia. The menu has been designed by prestigious vegan chef Toni Rodríguez. They make a range of small and medium-sized fresh and creative tapas including lentil pate with flatbreads, broad beans with leeks and croutons, seitan burger with vegan cheese, patatas bravas and lots more. They also have over 100 different gins to choose from! Save room for dessert, they make a lovely apple cake as well as raspberry truffles which were even better than Booja Booja!

Enjoy Vegan is a small café in the gothic quarter of the city. They make fresh, home-cooked vegan food including a chick pea flour tortilla, salads and smoothies. Laid back and friendly, you help yourself to drinks from the fridge and tell them what you had when you pay.


Chick pea tortilla

Then there’s Veggie Garden which is just off the top of the Ramblas near MACBA. This really is a gem of a place, you may have to wait for a table. They serve veggie and vegan Indian food as well as delicious fresh smoothies – with plenty to choose from I had zingy beetroot, carrot, orange and ginger (€5). You can have a thali or a burger and they do a set menu of three courses for just €8.50. You should try the Indian Nachos with Kathmandu sauce (€2.50). I only ate here once but will definitely go back next time I’m in Barcelona!

CatBar celebrated their seventh birthday this year and they are doing very well. In El Born district (a short walk from the Ramblas), they describe themselves as a small dark backstreet vegan craft beer bar, without AirCon, you won’t like it, especially if you expect a restaurant! We loved it – they serve great beer and a range of vegan burgers including a Mexican burger and a hemp burger which my friends described as the best vegan burger he had ever had! I opted for the Black Cat (bean) burger (€6.50) which comes in a bun with garlic veganaise, lettuce, tomato, onion, aubergine and caramelised onion – it was very tasty! The patatas bravas come with a range of mayos or pesto – you fill in an order form at your table and take your own order to the bar – so the timing is up to you. Dark and quirky with live music (piano and guitar the night we were there), I loved the Cat Bar. If you are not sure which beer to order, they will let you sample some. Friendly, dark and hot – this is not a restaurant but it is a fun place to eat with good friends.


Black cat burger

A bit further afield in Sitges, a small town by the sea, southwest of Barcelona, we found Lady Green veggie restaurant. A small friendly and stylish restaurant offering several choices for vegans. I had the Thai Coconut Soup with Wakame and Tofu and my fella had the Zucchini (courgette) Spaghetti with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto. Not cheap (both dishes were €9.00) but very tasty and a nice treat.

We saved the best until last. The Green Spot is a very stylish, fancy restaurant in Barcelona serving “Veggie for veggies and veggie for non-veggies”! A large, spacious restaurant with interesting interior architecture, this is a great place to bring meat-eaters and veggies alike. For starters we shared some Muhammara (red pepper dip with walnuts – really tasty and smooth), Edamame con chili (the best edamame I’ve ever had), Baba Ganoush and Kale crisps. Three of us had the Hemp and Cashew Cheese Pizza for mains and my fella had the Quesadilla which he said was very tasty but a bit small. For dessert, I had the Matcha Green Tea Panna Cotta. It was very tasty but it was more of a mousse than a panna cotta – no wobble! The Vegan Brownie and Carrot Cake with Cashew and Vanilla Frosting looked very good too. With a very nice bottle of Rioja, a beer and a soft drink, starters, main and dessert for four was just over €30 a head. For the atmosphere and quality I reckon that’s not bad for a special treat – which it really was as our naughty, generous friends treated us!

Sadly Juicy Jones is no longer in Barcelona but I can honestly say I was gobsmacked at the amount of choice and also at the quality of the vegan food on offer in a city where a few years ago a ‘vegetarian sandwich’ could well have arrived containing ham or tuna!

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Clorofil·la Cuina Vegetariana

Chips and salad please! Me, umm… chips and salad please. I’ll have a green salad with chips thanks… Oooh paella! sound familiar? That tends to be the way of things in Spain…

So, finding Clorofil·la Cuina Vegetariana was a delight. I ate there twice in three days! It’s easy to find, on a corner of the Plaça Conquesta in Mahón, the capital city of the island Minorca. It’s a small city and the restaurant is a short stroll from an ice-cream parlour called El Turronero (22 Carrer Nou) who serve chocolate and vanilla soya ice-cream! Times are changing eh?!

Clorofil is a large, airy and casual space with plenty of tables for two, four or six and one giant table for a big group. They serve organic and local food and provide a salad buffet every day. The menu is uncomplicated offering a range of veggie and vegan tapas or a set menu of two courses (9) or three courses (13.50). It’s a very good deal with five choices for first course, main course and dessert. With both options you are given a melon and watermelon appetiser as well as free bread and water (fizzy in a bottle if you want). All delicious and bloody bargain I reckon! I had the two-course option starting with a smoothie then the seitan burger and a chocolate brownie. I had organic ginger drink with my meal and a mint tea after it. The bill for two of us eating the same amount, was a little over 20. Last year that would have been about £15! Cheers you Brexit twats!

So we went back again to try the tapas… arriving nearly 30 minutes after they were supposed to close the kitchen for the afternoon (3.30pm) they very kindly agreed to let us eat there again – thanks!

We had Crispy aubergine with molasses (6.50), Homemade bravas with vegan aioli and spicy tomato sauce (€4.80), Saam marinated seitan with cashews, sesame and miso (€7), Tofu fingers with a homemade BBQ sauce (€8). We also had some bread with tomato (€2.60) and my fella had some courgette carpaccio (6.80). The aubergine was out of this world – even people who don’t like aubergine would like this! It was all amazing. With drinks the bill was a bit steeper at around €37 for two – given it was the best food I’ve ever had in Spain it was well worth it.

I liked Minorca and would happily go back, if I do, I’ll definitely visit Clorofil again.

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