Holystone introduced a new menu in celebration of Veganuary, and it seems like these new options are here to stay; the Pub now offers a range of vegan options including a Fake and Ale Pie, a Vegan Sloppy Joe Burger and a Vegan Apple Pie. These are offered alongside an already impressive range of vegetarian options, and struck me as being much more adventurous choices than the normal meat-free options often at other eateries which often seem inexplicably limited to roast cauliflower, salad and veggie sausages.
For my starter, I chose the Oven-Baked Camembert. I was instantly impressed by the large portion size; I was presented with a whole small wheel of camembert, which was attractively garnished with rosemary and a drizzle of honey, and served with bread twists for dunking. The camembert was delicious gooey inside and oozed out over the plate. Honey wouldn’t be something I would naturally pair with camembert, but it surprisingly worked very well, although I feel that it would be better to offer this as an additional option as the combination of these two very rich ingredients may be a bit too much for some. Rosemary is my favourite herb, and was the perfect finish to the meal.
For my main course, I opted to try one of the new dishes recently introduced for Veganuary, and I decided on the Vegan Sloppy Joe. Burgers would not be something I would usually choose, especially as I am not much of a beef fan, but I was intrigued to try the Beyond Burger patty after hearing so much about them. I enjoy meat-free burgers but usually opt for those with a vegetable- or bean-based patty; as well as containing some wonderful vitamins, meat-substitutes with Quorn or soya mince also usually seem a bit boring in comparison. The Beyond Burger, however, was exceptional. The soya mince patty had incredible meat-likeness, and was deliciously moist as well as perfectly seasoned. Where many meat-free burgers often slip up is in replicating the texture of beef, but this burger did a remarkable job, and is quite possibly the best meat-substitute burger I have ever tried. The burger was served with a generous portion of skin-on chips, and the whole meal not only was delicious but left me very satisfied.
Dessert was undoubtedly the most difficult decision I faced on the night; as former Treasurer of Newcastle University Baking Society I have somewhat of a sweet tooth, and the choice on the menu was immense. I found myself presented with no fewer than 14 dessert options, which are also available to take away should the diner find themself too full after the meal but still tempted by the delicious desserts on the menu. After much dithering, I finally settled on the Half-Baked Cookie Dough, which proved to be an excellent choice. The portion size was very generous and served incredibly attractively in a skillet with sauce drizzled on top. The cookie dough was deliciously gooey and fudgy in the middle and was the perfect finish to a wonderful meal.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my evening spent at Holystone Cookhouse + Pub, and I would encourage students who fancy a meal out of Newcastle’s bustling city centre to venture to Holystone and sample some of the extensive menu.