Vegan restaurant plants new roots in city centre
PUBLISHED: 08:30 22 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:30 22 October 2018
I was sad when The Bakehouse in St Albans closed as I loved the location and cakes! I have been keeping an eye on the site since then and I am delighted to be able to tell you about its reincarnation as No Moo Moo. The name refers to the fact that everything on the menu, from the milk to the main courses, is plant-based, and I think this is a welcome addition to our city. Plant-based (vegan) cafés are pretty much the norm in Brighton and Bristol so it's about time we caught up!
One of the best locations in the city, with views over the Vintry Garden and Cathedral, No Moo Moo has kept the light and spacious feel of The Bakehouse. Wanda, the owner, also runs an interiors business – the tables and chairs upstairs are for sale and they are the smartest of any restaurant I have been in!
I sat in the lovely courtyard recenly for lunch with pals. You can choose snacks, wraps and lunch bowls from the short menu. I chose an earth bowl (£12) which was generous and delicious with marinated crispy tofu, edamame beans, avocado, pak choi and sweet potato wedges. My pals chose Thai coconut jackfruit with carrot ribbons which they thought was excellent.
You can also get baked sweet potato falafel wraps and Mexican-inspired wraps with avocado and spiced beans. We weren’t sure whether we were meant to wait for a waiter to take our order or order at the counter (it’s at the counter) so a note on the table or a sign by the door would have helped speed things up. I like that there is plenty of tap water (with proper glasses) to help yourself.
It is a light and stylish interior downstairs with plenty of space for buggies, and families are very welcome (there are a few toys and books), but the large space is well planned so you can find a quieter corner if you prefer too! They do a good children’s menu with home-made beans on toast, smashed avo on toast and spaghetti Napolitano, and all for under £5. I thought the courgette and lime cake and coffee was excellent and you can choose a range of plant-based milks. There are gluten-free options too.
I went back on Friday evening for dinner with pals and we sat upstairs this time. The menu is the same bowl food as during the day, but with a wine list and puds too, so the prices are amazing for central St Albans. I chose a mexican bowl, which was beautifully presented with spiced beans, avocado, spicy roasted sweet potato, nachos, lime dressing and pretty micro leaves.
None of us are vegans and but the comments included “I could eat everything on this menu” and the next day, “That was the nicest food I have eaten in a long while”.
Our chocolate tart with rum bananas was divine. They also have ice cream, Eton mess and strawberry sundaes on the menu. All the wine is vegan and is supplied by Cellar Door on London Road; my red wine was excellent. I also like that service wasn’t added automatically – it was up to us to add if we chose.
From November No Moo Moo will also be offering their Christmas menu which includes pearl barley risotto with truffle and oyster mushrooms and nut roast with sweet potato puree, maple-glazed root vegetables and vanilla and mushroom gravy. You need to book for evenings (01727 845080) and they plan to open Wednesday to Saturday evenings.
I like that plant-based, vegan cooking has to be more creative with ingredients, and I can buy food that I wouldn’t always bother to make myself. Even if you are a meat-eater, we all know we need to eat more vegetables and vary our diets, and this is a very easy way to do that.