Where to eat in Bournemouth: The Stable

Nowadays, it’s not enough for a restaurant just to offer tasty food. Consumers are becoming more and more conscious of where the food they eat comes from. Is it local? Is it ethically sourced? Is is organic? You can answer yes to all of these questions while eating at The Stable. I had the opportunity to find out more about the Stable’s eco values during a Bournemouth Bloggers’ event during which we learnt how to make a pizza.

Nibbles – a selection of light refreshments to start the evening.

When we arrived, we were welcomed with nibbles such as slices of chorizo, olives, pepper paste, crispy bread and local cheese. Due to the fact that The Stable is known for having a variety of ciders, I decided to spend the evening with an accompaniment of this alcoholic apple drink. The bartender was very helpful and advised which cider would suit my taste buds – I don’t like it when it’s too sweet!

The main attraction of the evening was a presentation on how to make a soft dough and tasty tomato sauce by two charismatic chefs. I hope they don’t mind me sharing this secret with you! The secret of making a fantastic-tasting tomato sauce lies in frying red onions, which are sweeter than white onions, to balance the acidity of canned tomatoes. Do not add garlic to the sauce too quickly because it will burn!

@chefcambell and his assistant

When it comes to the dough, adding the right amount of water and yeast is key. If you add too much water, the dough will be too crispy! The Stable chefs said it was a matter of experimenting to find the recipe for success. It’s also worth mentioning that the flour that is used in The Stable to make pizza is 100% organic!

All of the Bournemouth Bloggers were given the opportunity to create our own pizza. We were given different ingredients and even though I felt like putting all of them on my pizza, I knew that the Italians believe minimalism is the key to success when it comes to pizza! I decided to go for mozzarella, chorizo, red onions and some basil leaves. Well, I still managed to overdo it and included too much cheese, so it came out too cheesy and heavy! But hey, who has ever complained about too much cheese?!

The event organised at The Stable was very informative and fun at the same time. It’s highly important to me to get to know restaurants’ values before I decide to eat there. In the end, we are consumers, and we have the power to create demand. I choose places which not only care about their customers eating good food and having a good time, but are also mindful about the planet. The Stable is a perfect eco-friendly place for a catch up with friends while having simple but tasty food like pizza and pies, plus local cider.

Always a good catch up with Francesca – one of the Bournemouth Bloggers

Romanzo. A family-run Greek restaurant in Bournemouth

‘Kalispera!’ means ‘good evening’ in Greek, and what a great and delicious evening we had with our friends at Romanzo last month. It is a genuine, independent place, awarded with a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor. It’s been run by a very hospitable family from Cyprus since 1986 and, believe me, they will make you feel as if they are welcoming you in their own home. It’s located in Westbourne (address here) and you’d better reserve your table in advance, as they are always packed!

Cosy light and homely decorations are very inviting…

Romanzo is a cosy and fairly small restaurant where the tables are placed very close to each other. While some may think that sitting so close to other people is an attack on privacy, I personally love it, because it feels as if you are part of a big family attending a Greek feast. And don’t worry, other people’s conversations are gently muted by Greek music.

What deserves mentioning is Romanzo’s attention to detail and its decorations. Greek music and tablecloths patterned in white and blue squares will transfer you to a Greek Taverna. The menu’s picture, presenting the elderly man looking down nostalgically alongside two donkeys, is so original and captivating. Once we opened the menu, it was difficult to make a choice as all the descriptions of the dishes looked so appealing and appetizing. Here’s what we eventually decided to order.

Happy people who can’t wait to start eating…
One of the starters, Calamari Fritti (fried Calamari), with some fresh salad and yoghurt. Refreshing and crispy.
We were gifted a big plate of fried potatoes. Who would say no to some extra fried potatoes?
I probably don’t have to introduce this Greek classic, called Moussaka, which consists of layers of potatoes, minced meat and aubergine topped with cheese. My friend ordered Moussaka and I was truly envious, despite my dish being delicious as well.
Souvlaki – which is simply a skewer of meat (pork, chicken or lamb) with rice, salad and tzatziki.
Roast dinner? No, it’s Arni Tava, which is a knuckle of lamb slow cooked in the oven with tomatoes, onions and cumin.
I ordered a seafood platter with grilled sardines, prawns and calamari. It tasted delightful and refreshing, especially with a splash of lemon.
Afelia pork fillet cooked with mushrooms in wine and coriander seeds, served with rice & Greek salad. The price of starters is approximately 5 pounds and main dishes are between 12 and 15 pounds.
A good dinner accompanied by wine must be followed by a decadent dessert, and as you can see on the board there’s plenty to choose from.
Mama’s orange, caramel and banana dessert. Delightful sweetness!
Homemade cheesecake. I know it’s not very Greek, but who doesn’t like cheesecake?

We fell in love with Greek food while travelling in Crete last year. Eating at Romanza reminded us of this fantastic sunny time in Crete and all the culinary pleasures we experienced there. Highly recommended!

A photo of me at Chania’s harbour in Crete. If only the weather in Bournemouth was the same.

Veganuary: seasonal vegetables and vegan restaurants in Bournemouth.

Veganuary seems to be the most-used word on the internet this month. Is becoming vegetarian or vegan just a temporary fashion or a genuine trend? I truly believe it is the latter! I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t think I could ever be (well, never say never!), but I am one of those people who’s trying to eat less meat. If you have resolved to do the same, you can call yourself a flexitarian or a reducetarian. One of my New Year’s resolutions is also to buy more local, seasonal vegetables.

Some of the British seasonal veggies and fruit I bought: cabbage, beetroots, celery, swede, carrots, brussels sprouts, pears, and apples.
I’m also avoiding greens pre-packed in plastic. It’s difficult to find loose fruit, especially at big supermarkets, but it’s not impossible – if you can, do it!
Choose loose!
I hated brussels sprouts as a child, but now I love them – provided they are not overcooked!

In order to celebrate Veganuary, I decided to explore three vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Bournemouth in search of tasty, local and, ideally, seasonal vegetable dishes. My choices were the Mad Cucumber, the recently opened restaurant Twelve, and the South Coast Roast Café. The latter is not entirely vegetarian but has the ambition to become so and 80% of the menu is vegan.

Apart from a catchy name, the Mad Cucumber has got a truly environmental ethos, which is clear from their website. It says, ‘Everything is made from scratch, by hand, from mainly local, seasonal and organic ingredients.’

Mad Cucumber is entirely vegan. I can somehow imagine being vegetarian, but vegan seems to be mission impossible!
This is a photo of a burger made from lentils, oats and quinoa. The salad that was served with the burger had some seasonal vegetables like red cabbage and carrots in it. Instead of using rocket, the chef could have used kale, which is in season at the moment. Nevertheless, my veggie burger was tasty and kept me full for a couple of hours!

The South Coast Roast Café is a true hit again. I love the staff’s philosophy in creating and running this genuine place. I had the pleasure to speak with the owner, Giles, and listened to him passionately talking about using fresh and local ingredients, as well as encouraging people to change their habits and become more environmentally friendly.

My brunch: local sourdough bread, cashew nut cream cheese, caramelised onions, and smashed – seasonal – butternut squash, accompanied with fresh juice made from spinach, kale and other green things. Sorry, I can’t remember all of the ingredients, but it was mouthwatering!

While Mad Cucumber and South Coast Roast are more breakfast & brunch cafés, Twelve could be a perfect place for a romantic supper, especially since they serve organic wine and other cocktails – Valentines Day is coming, guys! The name of the restaurant Twelve is truly puzzling and made me wonder what it means. In fact, it’s not a random number, and it comes with an interesting meaning. I’m not going to reveal the secret now, as I will definitely devote one of my future posts to describing this beautiful place in more detail.

Just look at this presentation, it’s art on a plate! The left plate contains salt baked celeriac and avocado puree. The right one contains beetroots with hazelnut pralines, braised shallots, and citrus dressing. You simply discover a new, unexpected flavour with each bite. A big plus for using seasonal vegetables!
*We only ordered starters because we had previously prepared dinner, but we’ll come back for more!

These local restaurants in Bournemouth are offering vegan and vegetarian dishes not only because there is a growing demand for it. They’re selling a more conscious life philosophy to people. Eat local because it’s good for the region and the people who work here. Eat seasonally, because seasonal vegetables are at their best and simply delicious. Eat less meat because it improves your health and reduces damage to the environment.

Even though Veganuary is almost at its end, I hope my article has encouraged some of you to eat seasonal vegetables and maybe to try out Veganofebruary by eating in these restaurants. I think I’ve just coined a new word…