Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of my boyfriend and I. To mark the occasion, we decided to have a meal out at the vegan fine dining restaurant ‘The Allotment’ in Stockport. Funilly enough, my boyfriend and I have bonded over our love of fine dining during our relationship. What started out as a crazy idea to visit a vegetarian Michelin Start restaurant during a trip to Milan, turned into an incredible experience for both of us and a shared love for haute cuisine. The Allotment had been on my list of places to eat at for a while and our anniversary was the perfect excuse to make the splurge.
The Allotment is situated in the heart of Stockport, a charming medieval town just outside of Manchester. The restaurant recently changed their opening times from evening to afternoon, which makes it easier to visit from further away as a day out. The interior is fresh and clean and the open kitchen gives you a glance into the marvelous work that chef Matthew Nutter and his team are doing. The large windows give you a lovely view onto the cobbled street outside and simultaneously fill the restaurant with light. The menu contains a seven and ten-course tasting menu that changes seasonally. Each week the chef also offers a changing three-course menu for those with smaller wallets and stomachs. We opted for the seven-course tasting menu and were not disappointed.
The first course in our tasting menu was a white gazpacho, made from grapes, peas, and almonds. It was almost 30 °C on the day we visited, so this soup was a refreshing start to our meal. I never thought grapes and garlic would have made a good combo, but this course definitely proved me wrong.
The next course was my boyfriend’s favourite and consisted of fried courgette, an avocado cream and a little side salad consisting of fennel, pea, and cucumber. This course tasted of summer and was packed with fresh flavours that reminded me of a summer garden party.
Course number three consisted of celeriac spaghetti with parsley sauce and fried capers. Unlike zoodles (zucchini noodles), I thought the celeriac spaghetti tasted very similar to normal pasta. The parsley and fried capers gave the dish a zinginess that made it another perfect summer dish.
The next dish was my absolute favourite one and consisted of a shitake mushroom pâté with raw crackers on the side. The dish was flavoursome, rich and decadent and I could not believe it was made of mushrooms! Before I became a vegetarian at the age of eleven, I loved eating pâté. When I realised it was made of liver, my fondness quickly waned. But eating the mushroom pâté at The Allotment reminded me of my childhood pâté sandwiches and made me question why these mushroom pâtés are not sold in shops instead of the ones containing animal intestines.
For the ‘main course’, we were served an oyster mushroom stir fry with pomme dauphine (crispy potato puffs), a cream cheese stuffed roasted red pepper and a spicy carrot side salad. I absolutely loved the oyster mushrooms and the stuffed red pepper. The pomme dauphine and carrots were tasty pallet cleansers but in comparison to all the other wonderful flavours on my plate, they were a little underwhelming. Overall a lovely dish though that I would gladly have served again.
Next up were the deserts that started with an orange and coconut milk sorbet that was sprinkled with a generous dusting of cacao powder. It was another very fresh dish and the coconut milk added an icecream-like creaminess that is hard to find in most sorbets.
The last dish of the meal was a visually impressive platter of goodness. The plate included some hibiscus ice cream, dehydrated beetroot, vegan merengue, blobs of jelly and a lovely nutty cream. All the flavours were so creative and different from your standard dessert. I was really impressed with the vegan merengue. Knowing that these are made of chickpea water (Aquafaba) still blows my mind and I cannot wait to attempt making my own merengues soon.
The great thing about The Allotment is that their menu changes periodically, so in a few months they will have a completely different set of dishes that I can try out. Their current menu is clearly inspired by summer, as all the dishes are fresh and light. I have eaten tasting menu’s before that left my belly very uncomfortable, but at The Allotment I left the restaurant satisfied, yet not overly full. My carnivorous boyfriend loved the food just as much as I did, so this is definitely not a vegan-only type of restaurant. If you have a special occasion to celebrate or if you are just a foodie who wants to treat themselves to an amazing meal, I highly recommend giving The Allotment a go.