Vegetarian Venue – a step in the right direction

by Stuart Graham

The observant among you might have noticed a change in the food menu in Venue, downstairs in the Students’ Union, and the even more keenly-eyed will have noticed that the menu contains no meat. That’s right people, we’ve got a Veggie Venue (cue deafening internal cheering).

veg1

credit: Stuart Graham

As a semi-committed vegetarian (by which I mean I avoid eating meat or food involving animal death, but continue to eat avocados despite the recent study showing their farming is killing animal habitats), the prospect of any meat-free food establishment right here on campus excited me greatly. Since its recent opening I have visited said establishment a worrying amount of times, and now have formulated an opinion on what they have to offer.

Upon my first visit I was excited by the prospect of some more international flavours hitting the Union, so I went all out and ordered the Mexican Wrap, which contains QuornTM goujons, cheese, salsa, sour cream and lettuce. Now my expectations of the university capturing “world flavours” weren’t exactly the highest after some previous visits to other outlets, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good the Mexican wrap was.

QuornTM is something that can sometimes hold very little flavour apart from the mild attempt at capturing the taste of whatever meat it is trying to emulate, but in this dish, by being combined with the salsa and the Mexican flavours, there was actually a lot of taste there.

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credit: Stuart Graham

Another cuisine staple that is easy to get wrong is salsa. However, Venue pulls it off, achieving the tomato taste without it overpowering the other great flavours. It has just the right consistency in that it avoids being to dry or too runny for the wrap.

One thing that could be improved upon is the quality of the cheese. You know when you taste something with cheap cheese in it, and you just know it is cheap – that’s how I felt eating the Mexican wrap.

The cheese was there in consistency, but not in taste, which really took away from the overall Mexican flavour they were aiming for. (One final note: it could be improved dramatically by the addition of guacamole, even if it means paying 50p to £1 for the addition).

On my next visit I was in a pizza mood, but still found myself stuck for which one to go for, which makes a pleasant change from simply selecting from the Vegi and Margarita. Again, another strong criticism I have of the dish is regarding the quality of the cheese. You may call me a dog with a bone here, but I am and always will be a diva for my cheese, and I want my cheese on point, thank you very much.

I did, however, enjoy the southern fried Quorn addition to the pizza, and the more rustic stonebaked- esque base to the Venue pizzas can outdo the pizzas from upstairs in Studio any day. Overall, the new menu is a welcome change from the mainly carnivorous options previously available all over campus, and it’s the kind of food I want to be eating when I decide to splash out on a nice lunch while on campus.

However, work still needs to be done.

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