Why you have to try new business Plantopia

PUBLISHED: 18:00 17 November 2020

Plantopia's Nabil Gregory and Alessandro Corti.

Plantopia's Nabil Gregory and Alessandro Corti.

Archant

Eating in is the new eating out (at least for a little while) so I have a great new food delivery company to tell you about. Two friends messaged me to say ‘You have to try Plantopia’, and I am so glad they did. We ordered dinner for the night of the St Albans fireworks, and it was a real treat to have delicious food delivered to the door, which we ate outside watching the fireworks around us.

Plantopia skewers.Plantopia skewers.

As the name suggests, everything on the menu is 100% plant-based, ie vegan. If you think – that won’t be for me – I urge you to give it a go. Both friends who suggested Plantopia are meat-eaters, and the menu is full of crowd-pleasers, with pastas, burgers, puds, chillis and stews so I think something for everyone.

Alessandro and Nabil started the business in St Albans in August, and they make everything themselves: “We come from different backgrounds – Italy, Zanzibar and the UK, and we both have a passion for cooking from an early age, nurtured by our mothers.”

The menu reflects their own favourites; the aubergine balls are Alessandro’s mother’s recipe. The duo believe eating vegan food is beneficial to our health and the planet, and I have to say, it certainly tasted good.

I ordered the aubergine balls, which were delicious, with plenty of parsley and garlic, coated in vegan Parmesan and breadcrumbs. These were light and more-ish, with a red pepper dipping sauce. A generous portion, it was enough for two of us. The bang-bang skewers look good for another time.

We all ordered different main courses, which is the joy of not cooking. Our 14-year old chose the Miami Burger; I liked that there was a drop-down menu so you could ask to skip the sauces or pickles, which saved her picking them out. The 18-year old chose the vegan ramen, which was beautifully presented with plenty of shiitake mushrooms, crispy tofu, bok choy and ramen noodles. It had travelled well, and was piping hot, but she did say the broth could have had more depth of flavour.

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I was torn between the mango coconut and coriander curry or the African peanut tempeh, but as I hadn’t tried tempeh I went for that. It came with a box of fluffy rice and was delicious – creamy and soothing, and fairly mild. I loved the naan that came with it – it had been griddled in some way and was crispy and soft – really excellent.

Our favourite dish was the Cocoa chilli non carne, made with charred poblano peppers, kidney beans and with a little Guatamalen coffee and Ecuadoran cocao for a lovely rich flavour. It came with fresh salsa to sprinkle over, guacamole and tortilla chips – a really generous dish. Prices for mains are £8.95-£13.50 which I think is good value, especially with all the little extras that came with them.

There are three puds on the menu – chocolate fudge cake, decadent carrot cake and our choice, New York-style no-cheesecake. You can choose a Lotus Biscoff topping or strawberry, and it really was outstanding – we should have ordered more!

The duo are keen to be sustainable, and the packaging is either biodegradable, recyclable or made from recycled materials. Ingredients like the cocoa and coffee are Fairtrade. They also say they are constantly reviewing and adapting their business to be more sustainable as they grow.

You can check out the menu and order on plantopiavegan.com, choosing your date and time.

They do a range of starters, main courses, sides and puds, and they are open for lunch and dinner. Book ahead for busy weekends.

Collect from their central St Albans base or pay £2.50 to get it delivered locally. I ordered for a busy Saturday night and Alessandro rang me to say it would be 15 minutes late, which I was fine with.

However, to say sorry they refunded the delivery charge, which I thought was very good customer service. For such a new company they have got off to an excellent start, and I look forward to ordering again!


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