Long before becoming vegetarian again, one of my favorite pubs in Leicester has always been The Orange Tree on the High Street. The decor is funky without feeling like it’s trying too hard (mismatched chairs, broken in couches, local art), it features great beers (including some of my American favorites) and plays really good alternative and indie music. Plus the staff that work there are really nice, and seem to enjoy being there.
Once I started researching vegan and vegetarian foods in Leicester, I was happily surprised to see quite a few options at The Orange Tree. On their new spring menu, they even state that you can make the falafel dish vegan by swapping the yogurt sauce for salsa. When I got in touch with The Orange Tree on Twitter, they were happy to give me a bigger list of dishes that were vegan or could be veganized, which impressed me quite a bit.
Today Andrew and I decided to pop in while taking a break from shopping. Looking at the new spring menu, there were so many choices that it took me a good 5 minutes to decide, and even then I wasn’t sure. For vegans they have falafels, burrito bowls, fajitas, tofu goujon salad, pasta and more. I finally settled on the veggie fajitas without the sour cream or cheese. Andrew ordered the sweet potato burger with mozzarella, beetroot slaw and chips. We also had homemade pickles and olives to start.
Before our food came out, our server popped by the table to check if we were vegans, because he wanted to make sure we knew the burger had cheese on it. I told him I was but not Andrew – so he asked if I would like anything in place of the dairy products. I went for extra guacamole and jalapeños.
The first thing that came out were the olives and pickles which were absolutely delicious. I don’t know what they did to the pickles, but they were bursting with flavor, and came with pickled olives, herbs and peppers mixed in. I easily could have eaten an entire jar.
Next up were the mains. My vegetable fajitas were cooked in a zingy tomato-salsa and included a mix of courgettes, onion, red and green peppers and tomatoes. They were also served with a small salad, tortillas, jalapeños and more guacamole than I could eat (Andrew had to help me out in the end). My only tiny complaint would be that the salad had a bit too much oil on it, and it would have been nice to have a bit of seasoning or other type of dressing on it. All in all, quite a light, healthy but hearty meal that really hit the spot.
Andrew’s sweet potato burger looked equally as good, and went down a treat. The sweet potato was soft and warm, and the cheese on top was gooey and topped with a flavorful red pesto. Andrew really enjoyed it and said it had the right balance of flavors for a veggie burger.
The Orange Tree is a great pub for vegetarian and vegan folk in Leicester, and I would absolutely recommend stopping by the next time you’re in town for a bite or a beer on one of the comfy couches (or the beer garden if the sun is shining). What really impressed me, besides the tasty pub food, was just how accommodating they are towards vegans. Starting with Twitter, and ending with the server and chef checking to see if we’re vegan and suggesting alternatives for us. I’m looking forward to my next visit when I can try some of the other great looking dishes – especially the tofu goujon salad!