I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what was coming to Worksop. This AMAZING vegan menu, available across Marston’s pubs, including my local Marston’s pub: The Lock Keeper. Worksop is not a particularly vegan-friendly town, in fact not at all, so I’m really excited to finally have somewhere good to eat with my friends and family.
The brand new NOMEAT (no meat/nom eat) menu features 3 starters, 5 mains, and 3 desserts: all of them completely vegan friendly.
The menu may seem confusing at first, because some items have a little vegan symbol next to them, leading you to believe that the other dishes are therefore not vegan. However, when you read the fine print, the items labelled with the symbol come at a risk of cross contamination. Everything is still vegan friendly. I think this could perhaps have been labelled in a less confusing way, but I’m pretty impressed that they have featured this on the menu. Some places just won’t label stuff like that as vegan, rather than giving the full story. It’s then up to you personally whether this does or doesn’t bother you. I like that.
Pretty much every dish on the menu tickled my fancy, to be honest, but I wasn’t overly starving at the time. Not to worry, though, as after my experience this time I will be taking all my family there in October for my birthday meal! Always time to try more.
The starters are:
- Jackfuit wedges: Homemade golden potato wedges topped with pulled jackfruit and black beans in a smoky BBQ sauce.
- Balsamic Mushrooms: Sliced flat mushrooms pan-fried in balsamic vinegar and served on toasted garlic bread with fresh rocket.
- Buffalo Cauliflower Wings: Florets of cauliflower coated in a rich smoky BBQ batter served with balsamic mixed leaves and a kickin’ buffalo sauce.
Amazing right? All three tickle my pickle, and I think it’s an absolutely great set of options. Usually for vegans we may get some tomato ciabatta and olives, but nothing as inventive and exciting as this. The only comment I will make is that it’s very BBQ sauce oriented. Personally, I absolutely love BBQ sauce, but I know some people don’t, so it would be nice if there were a couple more choices for people who don’t like BBQ. Also, my main course featured some BBQ, which put me off ordering a starter as I didn’t want BBQ overload. So, just a little more variation would be good, but it’s by no means a disappointing selection!
The mains are:
- Tikka Masala: Succulent pieces of plant protein in an aromatic masala sauce, served with lime and coriander rice and a fresh onion salad.
- Button Mushroom Bourguignon Pie: Herbal flecked vegan suet pastry with a rich button mushroom shallot and red wine filling topped with a flaky puff pastry. Served with chips, carrots and peas.
- Moving Mountains™ B12 Burger: All leaf no beef! The famous meat-like burger… made with plant protein, mushrooms, coconut oil and beetroot, herbs and spices. Topped with BBQ jackfruit and served with chips, sweet chilli coleslaw and onion rings.
- Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos: Soft flour tortillas topped with crispy BBQ cauliflower florets, sweet chilli coleslaw, shredded little gem lettuce and kickin’ buffalo sauce. Served with lime and coriander rice and corn on the cob.
- Aubergine Butternut and Pepper Bake: Grilled peppers and roasted butternut squash in a rich tomato sauce, layered between slices of aubergine and topped with a ciabatta and hazelnut crumb. Served with balsamic dressed side salad and garlic bread.
Amazing, right? There’s something for everyone, and I really do think it’s a great selection for a pub chain. As you can see, two of the mains feature BBQ sauce, hence why I said earlier there ought to be more selection in terms of flavour. Overall, though, I’m overwhelmed with how good the main section of the menu is.
I went for the burger and Liam went for the curry. The burger was absolutely delicious and I would definitely recommend it. I know some people are concerned because it is served on what seems to be a brioche-bun which traditionally would not be vegan. However, they informed me of the bread ingredients and they are indeed completely vegan friendly. I know a lot of restaurants and pubs use these accidentally-vegan brioche buns, maybe because they are cheaper, maybe because they suit all dietary requirements. Maybe both. But it’s not to worry on that front! The brioche bun is fine!
Unfortunately, my burger arrived without the onion rings and when I enquired about it, I was told that they had not yet had a delivery of the vegan onion rings from the supplier. A little disappointing, as I love onion rings, and it would have been nice to have been told this when ordering and not after receiving my meal and having to bring it up myself. I assume it was probably an honest slip up, though, and I was offered a free dessert as an apology which I think was a good way of handling the situation. And I already had plans for a dessert, so this was good news indeed.
Liam’s curry was really nice. The “meat” pieces were super meaty-textured, and the sauce was absolutely delicious. for £9.75, though, I think it was lacking a little bit. It would be nice if the curry came with some popadoms or naan or bhajis or samosas or something, and a couple of chutneys to complete the meal. Those little touches would just make it that little bit more special, and a little bit more justified for the price. It’s really nice to see a vegan masala on offer though in a mainstream restaurant, and it was definitely a delicious dish.
The desserts are:
- Raspberry Jam Donut Pudding: Sticky raspberry jam layered between donut dough and finished with a cinnamon sugar glaze. Served warm with vegan vanilla flavoured ice cream.
- Chocolate and Cherry Cheesecake: A chocolate biscuit base, topped with indulgent chocolate and cherry cheesecake, finished with a layer of chocolate ganache. Served with vegan vanilla flavoured ice cream.
- Rhubarb and Ginger Pudding: Cookie crumbs layered with chunks of rhubarab and topped with a gingerbread sponge, served warm with vegan vanilla flavoured ice cream.
At £3.95 each, I think that the desserts are really good value for money. And, of course, what a fantastic selection! Usually vegan desserts, if any at all, are fruit or sorbet or a combination of the two. Which is all very well and good but it’s pretty boring, especially when it’s the only option everytime and everywhere. So, extremely pleased with the dessert section of the menu. It’s above and beyond probably any other vegan menu’s dessert section currently.
I chose the cheesecake as I was in a particularly chocolatey mood. It was very tasty and I would definitely order it again, but note that it’s not very cherry tasting. There were definitely fruity hints but nothing special. It would be nice if it came served topped with a cherry or two, or just had slightly stronger hints of cherry flavour. Super tasty though, and the ice cream was really nice as well.
Liam went for the ginger pudding, and that was a really good choice. It’s like a proper pub pudding that you would have had growing up. The ginger really gave it a Christmassy taste, which was nice coming into Autumn-Winter, and the sponge was a really nice texture and super comforting served warm. Again, the same ice cream, really nice.
When I visit again for my birthday, I think I’ll choose to have either the tacos or the pie, and I’ll probably go for the donut pudding. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, though! Overall, I think the NOMEAT Marston’s vegan menu is fantastic, and the food was really nice. It’s great to have those pub classics on offer to us, as vegan restaurants tend to go too far to the healthy side of things, or straight to the deep fried fast food kinda junk. And, I love both. But sometimes you just want a pub dinner.
To find your local Marston’s pub, use the location checker on their website.