I went out for supper the other night and I have to be honest, it was one of the worst meals I’ve ever had.
I had heard good things about Bumpkin and they had just launched a new exciting sounding healthy menu with lots of lovely sounding juices and salads. Having seen quinoa pancakes all over Pinterest, I went for the quinoa and seven seed pancake with beets, tenderstem broccoli and cucumber with a portion of chargrilled chicken.
I could not have been more disappointed when it arrived. A very average looking plate of salad with a slab of chicken plonked on top.
Not a pancake in sight. I asked the waitress where the pancake was and she cried, “Oh dear we forgot to put the pancake on”. Not a great start when they forget the main component of your dish.
I took a bite. Seriously dry chicken which gave my jaw a proper work out with all the chewing. But more disturbing was that the “salad” was just lying there, without even a hint of seasoning, dressing or even olive oil.
I had to ask the waitress if they had forgotten the dressing, and she said “No, it’s because it’s vegan”. Erm. Okay. Poor vegans if that is the best they can hope for when they go out. I’ve created lots of exciting vegan recipes which are easy to prepare and which would put Bumpkin to shame.
I asked for some olive oil and some salt, and had to resort to asking for mayonnaise to try and add some moisture back to the dish as any moisture I had in my mouth had been completely absorbed by the beyond-dry chicken. I realise I might sound harsh, but honestly if anything I am being more generous than this meal deserves. The pancakes themselves were the highlight, they were crispy and tasted great. Not so much a pancake, like the ones I had seen on Pinterest, more like a crispy falafel. They would have been great served with some tzatiki.
I may have just swept this hideous salad experience under the carpet and filed it away in a place I would be sure never to visit again, but then the bill arrived. My salad cost £12.95. The chicken cost £5.95. That means my plate of sad looking salad sans so much as a dressing cost a whopping £18.90. Ouch.
This was my first ever time complaining about my food to restaurant staff. Having worked as a chef in a restaurant before, making a complaint is not something I would do lightly. But this seemed a hefty price tag for a few sad looking veggies. I couldn’t help it, I had to tell the waitress that I was surprised at the bill and that I had been really disappointed by my meal. She was very apologetic and took a fiver off the bill which was a nice gesture, but her advice was “maybe next time you should forget being healthy and just order some chips”.
No. Healthy food can be delicious and exciting and definitely doesn’t have to be boring and drab. Here is one of my favourite salads of the moment which will put Bumpkin and their healthy menu to shame.
- 250g cooked quinoa
- 130g pancetta cubes
- ½ head of broccoli
- large handful torn kale leaves
- 1 sweet potato
- dash of olive oil, and balsamic vinegar
- sprinkling of seeds
- 2 eggs
- First, cook your quinoa according to packet instructions.
- Put your kettle on to boil.
- Next pop your sweet potato in the microwave and cook for about 4-5 mins until soft.
- Then cut in half and peel and cut into rough chunks.
- Pour about 3 tablespoons of oil into a frying pan and fry the pancetta until crispy and golden. This may sound like a lot of oil but it's going to serve as the dressing for the salad, so it will work beautifully I promise.
- Turn off the heat and add the quinoa and sweet potato and stir so its all coated in the delicious pancetta oil.
- Once the kettle has boiled, pour into a pan and add the broccoli and kale and cook for about 3-4 mins until both are tender.
- Use a slotted spoon to scoop the broccoli and kale from the water and pop it into the frying pan with all the other ingredients. Give a good stir and add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
- Finally, poach two eggs in the water you cooked the greens in.
- Scoop everything into two bowls and top with a poached egg. Sprinkle with seeds.