Restaurant Review: Demuth's

Who knew cabbage could be so exciting? I have to confess that thus far in my life, I have failed to be thrilled by brassicas of any kind. But Richard Buckley and the team at Demuth’s have entirely changed all that, and I don’t mind admitting that while they were about it, they got me to think differently about the whole concept of vegetarianism too. At this cosy, elegant little restaurant on North Parade Passage, you won’t find any of the usual risottos or pasta dishes on the menu – here, it’s all about serving the most beautiful seasonal vegetables in a way that makes them really sing.

While we were perusing the menu and getting stuck into a nice glass of red, we were served wild garlic bread with salted butter – a really delicious appetiser, with a lovely delicate garlic flavour running through the bread. As the sky darkened outside and the candles were lit, we were treated to a beautiful view of the Abbey, softly lit-up, just outside our window.

To start, I chose beetroot sprinkled with fresh mint and served with ewe’s cheese and a blackcurrant dressing. The mint with the beetroot was gorgeous and unusual, and the sweetness was nicely balanced by the sharp blackcurrant dressing. However, I think of the two I’d probably recommend the starter Mike (my boyfriend) chose – mixed brassicas with steamed garlic custard and a redcurrant & tarragon dressing. This is the moment when I realised cabbage could be exciting – I would say it was deep-fried, because it was crisp and packed with salty flavour. I could honestly eat a whole plateful and go back for more.

For the main course, I had a goat’s cheese & lemon thyme royale, with cherry sauce and fondant potato. The potatoes were fabulous – rich and yet soft, somewhere between roasted and boiled – and the cherry sauce was full of deep, bold flavour. I was expecting the goat’s cheese to provide the  biggest flavour in the dish but it was actually a little shy for my taste buds, although it did go very well with the cherry sauce. Mike chose crisp potato batons with fresh peas and a pea sauce, which was exquisite in its presentation (bold red radishes making a lovely contrast with the creamy pale green pea sauce) and delicious to boot, although again, I thought the potatoes were the star of the dish.

By the time we got to dessert, we were both feeling rather full, so we shared a plate of little chocolate fancies – spiced chocolate ganache, cardamom chocolate parfait and honeycomb, served with an orange and passion fruit gel. The beauty of this dish was that the chocolate wasn’t allowed to overwhelm the fruit, which came through with wonderful summery flavours. The chocolate was rich but just the right side of bitter, so that it wasn’t cloying after two previous courses – this was probably due in part to the fact that the whole dish was vegan, which is quite amazing. Plenty of the items on the menu here are vegan and/or gluten-free, so this is a brilliant place to keep in mind if you have guests whose food requirements are a little trickier to cater for.

In short, if your taste buds are a little jaded or you’re just eager to try something new and exciting, this is a brilliant place to check out. And if you like what you find, note that Demuth’s also runs a fabulous Vegetarian Cookery School, with courses ranging from Moroccan to Italian, via tapas and desserts. Check out http://www.vegetariancookeryschool.com/about/introduction/ for more.