Newest Review: ... of choice and I can be comfortable that I can eat anything at all from the menu. Since Demuths opened in the late 1980s it has become... more
Member Name: Essexgirl2006
Advantages: Top quality vegetarian cuisine
Disadvantages: Disappointed with my main course, quite expensive
When we arrived on the Sunday, we were warned that they had a problem with their lights in the back part of the restaurant, so we had a choice to sit in the front with lights or sit in the back with lots of candle lamps and tea lights. We thought that would be quite atmospheric so decided to sit up the back in a corner. The restaurant is small - like a house - with two rooms seating 8-10 people per room plus a little alcove which had three people seated on the night we were there (I couldn't see if you could seat anyone else there). Stairs in the back room led down to the kitchens and the lavatories (the latter were cold, cramped but clean). The stairs certainly kept the two waitresses fit as they nipped up and down the stairs.
In spite of the electrical hitch we could still read our menus as the clocks had changed, and were impressed with the options. There were about six options per course, all were seasonal and vegetarian and were clearly marked what was suitable for vegans, nut allergy sufferers and gluten intolerant diners. The menu had a selection of Appetisers and other extras, such as side dishes (it is suggested you may want to have them with your drinks) but we went straight into the 'proper' starters.
My partner ordered the beetroot carpaccio (£6.95) which was very thin beetroot slices in an orange dressing with horseradish cream in between. It was served with a baby red chard, dill and walnut salad. He absolutely loved it, even though he isn't a big beetroot fan. I had a taste and thought it very good also - the sweetness of the orange helped the beetroot and worked surprisingly well with the tang of the horseradish. The salad was a pleasant accompaniment adding to the variety of textures. I chose the Devon blue cheese and chive tart (£6.75), it was a small slice of tart served with a fig chutney and watercress salad. Like all blue cheeses it was quite rich, and pleasantly creamy. The fig chutney worked really well in neutralising the tart so that the blue cheese didn't overpower and the watercress salad gave the dish some crunch. Overall we were thrilled with the starters.
For my main I chose mushroom rotolo (£14.25) mainly because I had no idea what one was and wanted to try it. Basically it was mushrooms wrapped in thin potato slices served on a bed of haricot beans with wilted spinach and parsnip crisps. This was accompanied with a parsnip purée and a mushroom red wine jus. I have to say I was a bit disappointed, there wasn't a great deal of flavour in the dish. The purée gave a little 'oomph' to the dish but the red wine jus was unidentifiable if I hadn't known what it was. The parsnip crisps were nice and everything was cooked well, but it just lacked a little something to make it an exciting dish as opposed to just a plate of well cooked (and beautifully presented) food. My other half went for the tamarind potato and aubergine curry (£13.75) and it was absolutely fantastic. The aubergine slices had been stuffed with tamarind infused potato and walnuts to give it an interesting texture and crunch. This was served with a mint yoghurt, cherry tomato relish, coriander pesto, herb rice and tamarind chutney. I so wished I'd ordered this, I did have a taste and you could pick out the coriander in the pesto and the curry had a pleasant kick to it, so I imagine the yoghurt and relish were very welcome if this got to much.
We decided not to have a dessert as we were fairly full. On the main menu there are 'wines of the month' and they also have a separate wines and drinks menu featuring a range of organic wines (starting at £14.95 per bottle). Initially I had a natural organic cola (£1.95) which was really nice and then some organic vodka (£5.25) to go in it. They also offered a range of organic beers and ciders as well as soft drinks and juices.
The service was good, the two waitresses were quite busy at certain times, but we didn't wait too long between courses - I guess we were there just over an hour and a half. In total our bill came to just over £50, so it is not a cheap, everyday restaurant. I was only visited as we were staying in the area, and despite my disappointment with my main course, I would come back here again if I visited the area. They do have offers advertised such as an early bird menu on Sunday - Thursday which could be worth checking out if you are around at this time. The menu changes monthly to keep up with seasonal availability, however the April 2010 menu was not very different from the March one, when we visited.
Summary: Worth checking out for veggies and non-veggies.