I had wanted to take my Mum out for a nice healthy lunch to enjoy some quality time and delicious food and stumbled across The Willow on my Google search and upon viewing the menu on their website was immediately sold!
Arriving at this gorgeous place with it was clear from the first instance that we were going to love it here. From the outside the restarant appeared welcoming and very in touch with nature with a fair amount of foliage surrounding the restautant sign.
The decor is gorgeous with modern day design infused with relaxation, which works so well, especially when the food being served leaves you feeling somewhat proud of how healthy you have been but relaxed that it was as they called it ‘health with stealth’ meaning they did all the hard work to ensure their healthy food was effortlessly delicious and didn’t scream ‘diet’.
To start one of my all time favourites of course is the humble roasted Padron peppers, I absolutely adore these and think they are a great way to start any meal, not only do they get the conversation flowing as someone around the table (usually me), is bound to confess their love for them. They are particuarly moreish when eaten with a glass of bubbles in your other hand, which makes the fact that The Willow have an extensive list of vegan drinks list even better!
Following this we were in complete adortation of their Green Superpower Salad which was not only bursting with flavour but the texture combinations were absolutely magnificent with kale, spinach, creamy avocado, crunchy green beans, cucumber, juicy green apple, peas, rocket, all with a mint and lime dressing, this was not your usual salad this was dreamy, as it was so fresh and the flavours married on the palate so well, with the sweetness of the apple and peas,mixing with subtle pepperiness of the rocket and the undeniable freshness from the kaleand crunchy cucumber making this a salad that is memerable, and how many salads can we say that about, honestly?
When it comes to quinoa, I have come to understand that for most people ithas the Marmite effect,that being you either love it or hate it,me bine g a thorough foodie, I am of course on the side of the lovers, however, will admit I don’t cook it for myself too often so was thrilled to find that they had a beetroot & quinoa dihs on the menu. It goes with out saying that I am a huge fan of beetroot and this dish was absolutely stunning.
The presentation at The Willow was incredible with every plate they served and that really added to the dining experience here, not too mention – my Mum was chuffed with her food. Another memorable dish was the grilled asparagus with sunflower seeds, seems really simple and it was but the flavours were so good, served with brocolli as well and the colours looked great on the plate. I love to eat as much colourful food as possible and this place knows how to make delicious food in a variety colours.
For our mains we were so intriguded when hearing about the crispy falafel burger which is homemade topped with almond butter to pack in the protein and instead of using bread for the bun it was served with Portobello mushrooms instead making it healthy and different to the norm,with some colorful beetroot and coleslaw, which made the plate a plethora of colour and flavours. I did share this with my Mum begrudgingly, but only because her plate looked so colourful and delicious too, I couldn’t not share.
You see my Mum was eating their samosa stuffed bell pepper which was stuff with aromatic spiced chickpeas and butternut squash which was served on a bedof kale and pomegranate seeds. The sweetness of the pepper, btternut squash and the pomegrate perfectly balanced against at the blend of spices on the chickpeas, it was another trimphant dish and I was very happy to have agreed to share mine with my Mum in exchange for a taste of this wonderful dish.
Finishing this delicious meal with two incredible desserts, firstly their fruit salad with sorbet was the freshest palate, perfect after a meal of so many flavours and texture. It was light, tasty and left just enough room for the second dessert.
The second dessert being their lemon and blueberry cheesecake which was exceptional and even my semi-plant based Mum agreed with this and she was a firm lover of non-vegan cheesecake before, so a good judge of cheese cake character I would say. It was rich and creamy without all of the unhealthy rubbish you might find in other no so tasty cheese cakes. They have an extensive list of vegan cheese cakes and I will be eating my way through all of them, with every trip to this invigorating restaurant.
Of course, as always I ended my meal with a vegan coffee, in this case it was a vegan cappuccino and this was a blissful end to a meal I thoroughly enjoyed, not only was the company second to none, the food was exceeding and the atmosphere and service wonderful. This will be a restaurant we will revisit for years to come, and I am almost unhappy to share it because I would love it to be my special place with my Mum for ever more, but the food is too good not to share with fellow plant based piglets.