Last week, I was kindly invited to the Christmas menu preview and taster session at Knave’s Kitchen, hosted by Oporto bar in Leeds.
Vegan junk food pop up Knave’s Kitchen launched early this year, serving seitan and tofu based dishes of deliciousness, but from December 1st, Knave’s Kitchen launched their specially designed vegan Christmas menu! It’s running right up until the 23rd, so make sure you give it a try! Here’s all the holly jolly herbivorousness they have to offer…
First up was a Winter Beetroot Borscht, with sour cream dill, served with a big chunk of sourdough bread. This was my friend Ella’s favourite dish of the night, and it’s certainly a lovely way to get the festivities started. It’s not something I would order myself, because I’m not really a soup gal, but as far as soups go this was really tasty, and I loved the slices of beetroot at the bottom – I like something I can get my teeth into.
Next up was the Peruvian Jackfish Ceviche… a seafood style dish made using everybody’s vegan favourite these days – jackfruit. These were so delicious, reminding me of the fish puff style dishes you can order at Chinese restaurants – it’s a way of serving jackfruit that I’ve never experienced before, so it was really refreshing, and it’s definitely my favourite of the three starter dishes. I would order this 100 times over.
The third and final starter is the Tempura Kohlrabi Dunkers with lemon & chilli salt and parsnip sriracha. This was definitely the most moreish of all the starters, especially thanks to the delicious dip. They had a nice crunch, too, which was refreshing because often tempura can tend to become floppy and soggy in the frying process. These are a close second to the Jackfish out of the three starters, and great for sharing too.
Everybody was absolutely loving the Roast Moroccan Butternut Squash and Pistachio Burger with broad bean guacamole, cajun wedges, and Oporto coleslaw. It had a satisfying fleshy texture, and was really flavoursome too. AND, it was absolutely MASSIVE. It was probably my second favourite of the 3 mains, although I’m definitely finding it difficult to rank the mains because they’re all so, so, so bloody good.
Next up on the mains menu is the Christmas Wurst and Parsnip Bacon Bun with boozy shallots, root hash, and lambs lettuce truffle crunch… this is the craziest vegan bacon I’ve ever tasted. It’s made, as the title implies, from parsnips(?!?!?!?!) yet it’s the closest to the “real thing” I’ve ever come across. So smoky and salty, and a fantastic texture too. It’s a shame they aren’t making mini vegan pigs-in-blankets with this stuff!
Alas, The real star of the show arrived… the Yorkshire Seitan and Wild Mushroom Wellington, with rosemary roasties, mulled cabbage, buttered greens, and gravy! We all love a bit of pastry, and Chef Sam Thomas served the wellington to us himself, and you could sense the excitement around the table as he sliced away at it.
I’ve had plenty of mushroom wellingtons in my time, but never any of a faux-meat style, and I was seriously surprised by how delicious it really was. If you get the chance to give Knave’s Kitchen a go this Christmas, I recommend 100% that you order the wellington. A vegan twist on a traditional Christmas dish, you will not be disappointed.
As for dessert, you can choose between Honeycomb and Salted Caramel vegan ice cream or Christmas Pudding Truffles with Orange Brandy Custard…. definitely go for the latter. This was the best part of the meal for me, and I’m searching for an opportunity to go back and have them again. Served as bitesized-pops with sticks for dunking-ease and coated in melted-and-dried chocolate, I’ve never been one for Christmas pudding but these are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. I’m still dreaming about them now!
We were spoilt with a selection of their Christmas cocktails, too, starting with the most delicious mulled wine I’ve ever had: made with Takamaka spice rum, red wine, cranberry juice, brown sugar, and spices… complete with an orange slice! Can you really get any more festive than that? Following on from this, we were treated to a Peach 75: gin, roasted peach liqueur, lemon, sugar, and topped with prosecco! I’m always a happy bunny when prosecco is on the table, and what’s Christmas without a little fizz? Finally, to finish there was vegan Bailey’s!!! Is this not like the holy trinity of festive alcoholic beveraging?
As a final note, Oporto bar also stocks this fantastic spirits brand Virtuous, which I was kindly able to sample. Their vodka is available in four flavours: blond, bitter lemon, ginger, and raspberry. Of course, I’m one for a raspberry vodka and lemonade so I gave it a try and it’s definitely a much more authentic tasting raspberry than that of other popular brands. Their ginger vodka is also a fun little shooter at Christmas time… give it a go, and you’ll see what I mean.
So there you have it… Christmas at Oporto. Can you think of anything better? Get yourself there and get stuffing ya face NOW… you won’t regret it.
Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!