Annie’s Burger Shack

I’d heard about Annie’s Burger Shack in Nottingham but I knew it had moved from its original location at the Old Angel pub. Lots of the information on the internet still refers to the old location, and at the time of writing their website isn’t up and running. I had heard that vegan burgers were to be had though so I decided to give it a go.

The new home of Annie’s is called The Navigation, conveniently for us located just down the canal from our hotel (Jury’s Inn) and very close to the train station. The menu has 24 different burgers, along with a few side items and a dessert specials board. It says at the top of the menu that all burgers can be made vegan, but even in some of the best reviewed vegetarian restaurants in the world I’ve been disappointed when the method of making something vegan is just leaving off half of the ingredients. I went to the bar to ask, but no problems there. Annie is rightly proud of the fact that for any ingredient listed, there is a vegan equivalent. So, whether it be cheese, fried egg, Yorkshire pudding or king prawns, if it’s on the menu it’s going to appear on your plate.

I can’t remember the name of the burger I chose but after 20 minutes of blind panic about how I was ever going to choose, I ended up going for the biggest burger on the menu – burger, chicken, sausage, cheese and bacon. Matthew went for the roast dinner- 2 different burgers, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, vegetables and gravy. They came with a choice of wedges, curly fries or fries. Yes, you read all of that right.

Iphone pic of my burger

Matthew’s

Another dreadful pic because I wanted you to see Matthew’s vegan Yorkshire pudding more clearly.

My burger was a mixture of store bought subs and home made, while Matthew’s seemed to be all home made. If there’s a particular store bought meat or cheese which you really hate, it’s probably worth checking it won’t appear. Some of the subs clearly think outside the box a bit – the vegans on the next table had the all day breakfast burger, where the fried egg appeared to be chinese style puffy fried tofu. The wedges were the better of the potato options, by the way. The Yorshire pudding was fabulous and better than any of my attempts, and the stuffing ball nestled inside it was excellent. Along side my burger, the horseradish sauce packed some punch. 

These portions were so huge that not only could we not enjoy the freshly baked lemon drizzle cake or the chocolate brownie, we didn’t even finish our burgers. It was like a vegan version of Man v Food.

If I had to, I could make 2 small criticisms. Firstly, the actual burger itself, while tasty, was a bit crumbly. And second, really picky now, the boards that they were served on were a bit small and resulted in an overflow onto the table when trying to cut the burgers. But, really, that’s picky to the millionth degree and wouldn’t have mattered at all if I hadn’t greedily ordered the biggest burger on the menu! Annie’s – we’ll be back.

Manna, London

I don’t very often do restaurant reviews here, generally because I usually forget my camera, or the room is very dark, or, even when I put my camera on the table to remind me, I still forget to take pictures.

However, on our recent trip to Manna on a beautiful spring lunchtime saw us sitting in the window with camera at the ready. Manna is in a lovely part of London. I’d been twice before but I wasn’t vegan then and neither was the restaurant. Manna still refers to itself as a vegetarian restaurant but close inspection of the menu reveals that everything they serve is vegan. Our group of one vegan, one vegetarian and one omnivore drooled over the menu and the choice of specials.

Of the three starters, the smoked tofu and potato roulade was the dish of the day and brought out the worst in my food envy side.

However, the other 2 starters were none too shabby either – a rich, creamy courgette and ricotta tart:

and mine – I can’t remember the extact name of it but it was chickpea cakes with raita and tamarind chutney, or similar:

On their own the cakes were a touch dry but with the raita and chutney they were delicious.

On to the mains. I had the Sunday roast special, which was a roast butternut squash and almond wellington with roasted potatoes, cauliflower and a tasty sauce (can’t remember exactly what it was). Slightly sweet from the squash but balanced by the rich sauce.

The organic bangers and mash were a big hit with the omnivore, who pronounced the onion rings as the best he’d ever eaten

If there is any kind of pasta dish with meatballs on a menu I would put my house on Matthew ordering it and I’d have been right this time too. I didn’t think this was all that brilliant; it was bit like tinned spaghetti to me, but he enjoyed it:

Finally desserts. I was pretty full but I wanted a glass of dessert wine so I chose to have the petit fours

Intensely chcocolatey truffles, melt in the mouth cantucci biscuits and little lemon pastries. Delicious. The boys showed no such restraint. One of them had the German chocolate cake, which defied my expectations by being feather light, yet sweet and unctuous

Matthew went for the fruit crumble, which happened to be apple. When presented with a choice of cream, ice cream or custard, he hesitated just long enough for the waiter to offer all three. In the name of research, he bravely agreed to try all three

This is the first time I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant in this country and been able to try everything on the menu. Even though three of us were eating, giving me a triple opportunity to try things, I was still paralysed with indecision and I was quite pleased that I don’t usually have so much to choose from. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the food, even the omnivore, which I think is a sign of a restaurant doing vegan food well. This isn’t food for vegans, it’s food for anyone which just happens to be vegan. And judging by how busy the restaurant was by the time we left, there are plenty of other people who enjoy it too.