Monday, 1 October 2018

Bill's | Vegan


Last week I was invited along to Bill's to try out their newest vegan options. Prior to this visit I hadn't actually been to Bill's for a very long time because the last time I'd been I really struggled to find anything vegan on the menu, despite them catering for vegetarians really well. So when this email popped into my inbox I did let out a little 'hoorah!' because it does feel like vegan options at Bill's have been a long time coming. 



I was booked in for lunch at one of Bill's newer restaurants at Braintree Freeport. I was pretty excited to visited this restaurant as i've driven past it so many times in the past and it's in an area I know well. 


Inside the restaurant looks beautiful and really inviting. Despite being a year old already, it still feels brand new. One thing I always used to really like about Bill's restaurants was how cosy and homely they feel inside and how they feel slightly superior in style compared to other high street chain restaurants.  


On my initial scan of the Bill's Menu I was immediately impressed with the labelling of the vegan options which have a 'VE' label next to them. This always makes it so much easier when it comes to ordering and helps to avoid any confusion. I was also pleased to see more than one option available across the starters, mains and desserts. 


To start with there are three options to choose from on the 'For The Table' section of the menu including 'Giant Green Gordal Olives', 'Roasted Garlic & Herb Bread' and 'Toasted Focaccia with Hummus & Olives'. Starters and sharing plates are always a favourite of mine when eating out with others so it was really good to see a decent variety of dishes on this section of the menu. As I was with my husband we decided to share both of the bread options and both were delicious and the perfect start to our meal.


There are also a further two options on the main 'Starters' section of the menu including 'Wild Mushroom Soup' and the 'Ancient Grain Bowl', which also appears again on the mains as a bigger version.  


The main event of this meal and the newest vegan dish on menu is the 'Bill's Wellington' which is a carrot, cashew nut and mushroom Wellington served with butterbean mash, tenderstem broccoli and rich vegetable gravy. One of the members of staff described this dish as a 'warm hug' and to be honest I couldn't agree more. It's the most perfect warming and hearty dish for Autumn and Winter and the flavours work perfectly together. 


The other main we decided to try was the 'Ancient Grain Bowl' which is a salad of mixed ancient grains, red peppers, roasted cherry tomatoes, avocado, broccoli, mixed seeds, red pepper tapenade and purple basil and pine nut pesto. This really is a substantial salad! The tapenade and pesto really made this dish for me and I loved the flavour combination. On reflection I would have probably preferred to have this as a starter portion opposed to a main and it definitely seems more of a Summery dish. 

Another vegan main option I spotted was the 'Butternut Squash, Turmeric & Coconut Curry' which appears on their set menu and is worth checking out if you don't see anything you fancy on the main menu. 


We also went with a side of fries with our meal which were divine. You may notice that their fries options aren't labelled vegan on the menu and I clarified with the staff that this is more of a cross contamination issue with cheese in the fryer opposed to any ingredients used on the fries themselves. 


Onto desserts and the main vegan options include 'Coconut Ice Cream' and 'Lemon Sorbet' but you can in fact ask the staff to veganise the 'Apple & Salted Caramel Crumble' for you too. I enjoyed this with a side of the coconut ice cream and it was a great combination! 


I also cast my eye over their Christmas Menu which was on our table and was really pleased to see a 'Pumpkin, Fig & Chestnut Roast' on the menu. So yes this means that if you're looking for somewhere to enjoy a Christmas dinner this year which caters for everyones tastes then you can add Bill's to your list of choices!

Overall we really enjoyed our full lunch and dining experience at Bill's and it felt good to be able to re-visit this restaurant and be catered for properly. It would be great to see more vegan friendly dishes on this menu and I think a vegan burger option would go down an absolute storm alongside their  existing veggie burger. But this is most certainly some good progress! 

Have you been to Bill's lately? 
Are you tempted to pay them a visit now? 
I'd love to hear what you all think!  

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