Orchard Kitchen is owned by the team behind Vanilla Black, a high end vegetarian restaurant in the city which I have not yet been to. Orchard is a vegetarian cafe on Sicilian Avenue currently open from 8.00-8.00 Monday to Saturday.
Firstly it is vegetarian which may put some off, and secondly it is styled in the sort of ‘remember the war, remember rationing’ style which is now being marketed to the generation that quite clearly could not possibly remember the war. By that I mean artfully chipped tin cups, whitewashed bricks, 1940s style waitresses and plain wooden tables. All done in a way which looks inexpensive but is not. I love this style, although I feel slightly guilty about doing so but am not quite sure why. It is also populated by people who have the whiff of that time period, there was the odd waisticoat, a woman in a black cape, a touch of artful facial hair and a woman with a dog. Everyone looked very neat and clean.
The food is all vegetarian. It’s a vegetarian cafe. I am vegetarian so I was very pleased by this. There is nothing so relaxing as being able to order anything you like from a menu, and it doesn’t happen often enough in my opinion. We, unadventurous souls that we are, had sandwiches and cake. I had white bean pate with cherivl (I think) and assorted, picked fresh from the garden looking leaves in home made raisn bread. Joff had an egg sandwich with herbs and leaves in granary bread. They were both excellent and surpassed pretty much any other sandwich I have had for a long while. The bread was soft and fresh and made you want to eat an entire loaf, the use of herbs lifted them out of the ordinary and it was so nice to choose from stuff that wasn’t limited to cheese or egg. They did have a goats cheese on but I didn’t try it, next time.
We then shared a buckwheat coffee cake with an espresso buttercream that was deliciously bitter sweet. The coffee (we had flat whites) was rich and licorishy and served in delicate tea cups, as you can see from the blurry photo. The whole thing set us back £18 and it was entirely worth it.
Other offerings included eggy bread (that I do remember) with potatoes and some ‘small plates’ which included mini marmite baked potatoes. It is a lovely place serving lovely food and I will definitely go back. I wish more cafes and coffee shops would serve imagintive vegetarian food without having to corner themselves in the niche market of being totally vegetarian. Until that happens this will do nicely.