Stem and Glory is a vegan restaurant on King StreetInstagram/@stemandglory

Stem and Glory is a vegan restaurant located on King Street. Decor wise it’s nice enough, but I feel it's lacking a bit of polish considering its price. It’s actually relatively expensive, but it doesn’t really feel like you’re eating at a twenty pound a head restaurant (which you could very easily spend). I think it’s important to state right off the bat before discussing the food I am not vegan – obviously this is a restaurant which is specifically targeted at vegans who have a more limited food options, but even so I still think there is a validity in myself, a meat eater, trying it and seeing how it stands up – would I eat there again with a non-vegan person?

To start I tried their selection of homemade pickles, something I was particularly excited for since I love a good pickle. You’re served a selection of three pickles, all of which I enjoyed. The first was (I think) a red radish; this was probably my least favourite, the vinegar taste was a touch on the overpowering side, though it was the only ‘spicy’ pickle, which I enjoyed, with the heat and the vinegar combination, if done with different ratios, being a potential winner. The second was carrot, a more subtle flavour, it had sort of earthy woody flavour which I enjoyed. The final was beet: this one had the best crunch and was a middle ground in terms of levels of vinegar. Overall I enjoyed the pickles, and would definitely recommend ordering them,as they act as both a good pallet cleanser between dishes and also added to dishes to add an extra acidity.

Next I had the cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’. The battered cauliflower was, on its own, relatively disappointing – the batter wasn’t that crisp and the cauliflower was a bit flavourless and dry. However, this dish was saved by the absolutely delightful sauce – it had a soy base and lovely notes of heat and smokiness. The sauce was good enough that I was dipping my other dishes into it.

“Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Stem and Glory”

Third we have the VLT, Stem and Glory’s version of a BLT, made with vegan tempeh. The texture of the tempeh was really excellent: it was tender and had the evocation of rendered fat when you bite into it. Alongside this was a very well-constructed sandwich. The bread was very dense and chewy, which made it the perfect vehicle for absorbing the sharp lemon dressing – which was a good balancing point to the ‘fatty’ tempeh. The tomato provided a good snap and freshness which would have been otherwise lacking in the dish. Overall this was a delightful sandwich, and I’d definitely have it again.

Finally I had the tomato linguine. It had an interesting taste, a very robust tomato flavour, but none of the sweet notes that normally come with this. The pasta was topped with vegan parmesan cheese, which I felt of all the vegan substitutes was probably the most lacking – it didn’t really provide any umami or saltiness that parmesan normally does, and instead sort of just sat on the top like a limp white powder. More successful was the addition of rocket to the dish, which added both a peppery bite and a nice crunch. I thought that the linguine was overall very much a ‘fine’ dish – there was nothing really wrong with it, but for a dish which costs ten quid I feel like there should be something more going on: this felt like a solid pasta dish I could have cooked in my halls.


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Finally, for desert I tried their dark chocolate and orange brownies. It was intensely rich, with a very strong dark chocolate flavour – the orange was very much playing second fiddle here – so if you like that type of thing I’m sure you’d enjoy the brownie, but it wasn’t really for me. It was also a bit structurally suspect – it crumbled after almost one bite.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Stem and Glory, particularly the VLT which was honestly excellent. If I was ever eating out with a vegetarian or vegan person, I’d be more than happy to go there instead of a more meat-centred restaurant. However, to be perfectly honest, if I was to eat out with another person, both of whom eat meat, I don’t think I’d recommend to go to Stem and Glory. So to sum up, very nice – worth a try at least once as a way of demonstrating what vegan cooking can be, but not somewhere which I’ll be eating at regularly.

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