On Friday I met up with a small group of friends, we are all either vegetarian or vegan, and two of us have a wheat intolerance - we're the nightmare of all chefs!!!
However, I'd been to the Fusion Room on Friargate, Preston before, and spoken to the chef, Russell, who believes that all diners have the right to enjoy a special meal, no matter what their dietary requirements are. If only all chefs had that attitude the world would be a far, far better place!
So, this is the menu he e-mailed me a few days before we were due to eat:
Carrot & Coriander Soup with basil oil
Roasted Pepper Spaghetti with herb oil
Greek Salad with feta cheese, red onion, cucumber
Brie Tart with pesto, salad leaves, roasted tomatoes
Wild Mushroom Risotto with mushroom parcel, parmesan
Quorn Tagine with orange, lemon, cous-cous
Curry Lentil & Vegetables with rice, naan bread
Vegetable Stir-Fry with noodle’s, vegetable spring roll
Jam & Coconut Sponge with crème anglaise
Mixed Berry Cheesecake with mixed berry compote
Mince Pie Crumble with brandy cream
All main courses served with vegetables and new potatoes
two courses: £16.50
three courses: £18.95
Sounds mouthwateringly good, doesn't it? We all enjoyed choosing our meal:-) Last time I went, with other friends, Russell had baked fresh gluten-free bread rolls, which were served whilst we studied the menu, with tiny cubes of butter and a bowl of balsamic and olive oil dip.
On Friday a basket of gluten-free rolls was set before us, but we were obliged to ask for "normal" rolls, as only two of us have a wheat intolerance. These were brought with a smile. Sadly, Russell apologised, he hadn't had time to bake his own gluten-free bread on Friday, but he had gone to the trouble of ordering in some part-baked rolls for us, so we forgave him:-)
I chose to start with the red pepper pasta, which was delightfully rosy in hue, and peppery and warm on the tongue, with visible slices of red pepper, not simply a pureed mush. Very tasty. The soup was approved of, and the brie tarts were drooled over and every last crumb disappeared!
My friend's mushroom risotto was one of the best I've tasted - deliciously mushroomy and creamy. The mushroom parcel sitting atop it resembled a large spring roll, and looked inelegant, which was a shame as it tasted good. I enjoyed my Puy lentil curry, which was delicately flavoured and arrived surrounding a dome of rice. The naan bread wasn't, to my mind, naan bread, but pitta, which let it down as pitta bread is much drier than naan bread, and there was insufficient liquor with the curry for the bread to soak up. The tagine was declared a success, and looked tasty.
My vegan friend and I had pre-ordered the cheesecake, but, sadly, this was impossible for Russell to make on this occasion, but he offered us watermelon soup, with slices of three different melons served with a mixed berry sorbet. Well, I have to tell you that this was my favourite dish of the night! The "soup" was a glorious hue, and a thick slice of three different colours of melon constructed a tower in the centre of the bowl, with a sorbet full of flavoursome berries set in the centre. Wonderful.
Two of my friends had decided not to pre-order a pudding, as they have normally eaten sufficient with two courses; but, as they watched beautifully arranged desserts being delivered to neighbouring tables, they changed their minds and ordered cheesecake. They both agreed that it was delicious.
We'd enjoyed a lovely bottle of Peter Lehman Shiraz with our meal, plus water, and a bottle of alcohol free lager for the driver, and were happy with a bill which was under £100.
So, all you chefs out there, please heed our plea ... we may decide, for whatever reasons, not to eat certain items, but we certainly enjoy good food, and appreciate it when it's prepared for us and served with a smile.
We'll be back to visit the Fusion Room again, and again. Thank you, Russell:-)