Vegging out at Henderson’s

In a city where the majority of the population are meat eaters, when you’re on a restricted diet or have particular food requirements (ie vegetarian or vegan, for religious or personal reasons), finding a good vegetarian restaurant in Edinburgh can sometimes be difficult. The OH, his mum and I were recently at Henderson’s on Hanover Street. It boasts of a menu with entirely wholesome organic or natural ingredients in all their dishes and beverages.

The restaurant itself is simply decorated but is set against the backdrop of the Janet and Mac Gallery and includes enough decor to make it comfortably homey.

One of the things that I thought was also a step in the right direction was they had envelopes for patron to contribute donations towards the homeless. Walking around the streets of Edinburgh, you’ll find them sitting on pavements next to busy streets or sleeping on park benches, even in the coldest months of winter. It’s a difficult sight to see, in Hong Kong the homeless are reportedly made to appear as dismal as possible, to gain passerbys’ sympathy, but anything earned is to repay loan sharks or triads (Asian gangs/mafia groups) for money owed. There are greater efforts to support the homeless through cafes and bistros opening their doors to any patrons who want to put a coffee or sandwich ‘on hold’ (for a person without a home to claim a much needed pre-paid coffee or sandwich).

As the restaurant and bistro serves only the freshest ingredients available, dishes may change depending on seasonal availability. Having said that, the choices on the menu for starters, mains and desserts might not seem like much, but for someone who takes too much time to decide, it definitely helps you make a quicker decision on what to choose!

We decided not to get starters as we weren’t overly hungry and went straight to the main course:

The OH ordered the lasagne with a side of salad

The OH’s mum got the stuffed aubergine

I decided to go with the vegetable satay with rice

The dishes might not seem like much, but honestly the portions were a great size. I was a bit hesitant on the satay although it was the dish that most appealed to me. I can’t eat too much spice, in the past I couldn’t even take the spice from coarsely ground black pepper, but I had some training in spice tolerance when the OH and I attended a friend’s wedding in Pakistan last year, so now with the occasional spicy dish, I’m still able to eat a small amount of spice in my food. The satay had a bit of spice in it, but it wasn’t too bad.

Dessert was a bit more of a difficult choice for me. I really like baking and desserts, but I’m not keen on fruit or nuts in desserts when there shouldn’t be. I like my fruit crumble or my raspberry cheesecake brownie, but I’m not a big fan of nuts in my brownies or fruit in my scones. I had decided on the cherry pie because that sounded lovely, but unfortunately they didn’t have any left.

(Top to bottom, clockwise): Crumble, crème brûlée and berry compote

I can’t remember what was in the crumble but I wasn’t keen on the combination of fruit and the sound of ginger in my crème brûlée just wasn’t at all appealing. If you’re a fan of berries in its natural state, then it’s a good choice, but personally it felt too much like eating pureed fruit on its own…which it was. It would have been nice to have been served something to eat the compote with. Unfortunately, the shortbread that came with the crème brûlée was also slightly burned which was a little disappointing.

Other than that, the food itself was great. If you want to know what’s available for dessert before ordering, I would suggest having a look at the display stand (just when you come through the front door) to prepare yourself, so as not to be disappointed when you come to order a dish off the menu as I did. If you’re adventurous with your food and less picky than me, you’ll find that the dishes are quite good.

Have you visited Henderson’s on Hanover Street? What did you think of what you ordered? Did you have a favourite dish?

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