Amico Bio restaurant review
As FatGayVegan and others have noted, vegetarian restaurants are not always as vegan-friendly as you think they might be - FGV mentions The Gate as one example of the phenomenon, while Vanilla Black doesn't seem to offer any vegan options without pre-booking. Quite why they should wish to exclude a part of their market is beyond me, but if I'm thinking of heading out for dinner to a vegetarian eatery, I make a point of checking how well they'll accommodate vegans.
While the vegan menu options listed on the website of Italian vegetarian restaurant Amico Bio didn't exactly fill me with joy, when a Groupon for a discounted meal at the place came up, I thought I'd give it a whirl nonetheless.
Luckily enough, as the restaurant changes its menu seasonally, there was a far more interesting array of options on hand when I visited. Go winter!
Living with a brassica-fearing boyfriend, I felt duty bound to give cauliflower fritters a go for a starter. and I'm glad I did.
My boyfriend's polenta and cannellini beans was a surprise hit - normally polenta can be a bit of a making-up-numbers plate filler, but not so this one. Instead, it set off the beans and herby tomato sauce off nicely.
Boyfriend's gnocchi had an excellently tasty tomato and basil sauce, but alas with a portion of pasta that nudged the stingy side of the spectrum and ended up a bit too far on the chewy side as it began to cool.
Still, we'd enjoyed ourselves enough to opt for a pudding, in the shape of a pear poached in red wine with vegan chestnut ice cream. Poached pears were one of those dishes that went out of fashion in my childhood - a shame really, given how good they are, if this one was anything to go by - run through with spot-on mulled wine spices. And the chestnut ice cream? Just gorgeous.
Top marks for good, friendly and prompt service too.
My only complaint would have been the size of the portions relative to pricing - if I'd have been paying full price, I would have felt a little jibbed. That said, given the economics of Groupon (Amico Bio only gets 50 per cent of the coupon value - about £9 for two starters and two mains in our case), I'd forgive them if they decided to scale down the size of meals for coupon-toting diners.
Equally, if the restaurant's Groupon plan is to offer the discount meals as a way of encouraging diners to come back and pay full price, congratulations to them - the meal was interesting enough, and more than vegan friendly enough, that I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be back.