Hi friends! It’s been a while, I know. Make sure you’re subscribed over on YouTube as I upload more regularly over there! Today I wanted to tell you about a little place in York called El Piano. Now, York doesn’t have a huge choice when it comes to veggie places to eat – but to be fair, York isn’t huge. However, those places that it does have have turned out to be real gems. El piano, an entirely plant-based, nut free, gluten free, palm oil free restaurant (what a mouthful) has won York’s cafe of the year numerous times, so when we headed to York for a summer day out I was excited to try it out.
The restaurant has a really nice relaxed vibe with a colourful interior. Lucky for us it was a toasty warm day and we got to sit in the courtyard at the back to enjoy the sunshine whilst we ate. Glancing at the menu, I noticed different numbers in a circle next to each dish listed, on closer inspection I discovered that this denotes the “approximate percentage of any dish sourced within 30 miles” – a welcome (and interesting) additional detail to the menu.
The lunch menu offers a number of light dishes such as soup and salad, as well as the option to “build your own plate” which allows you to mix ‘n’ match from a choice of hot dishes, fritters and salads. I loved the idea of building your own plate, and me and Michael both ended up choosing from this selection. Unable to resist some crispy tofu, we both chose the “Thai Duo” as our hot dish, which combined coconut rice, veggies, lemongrass, lime and tofu – although I can’t say I wasn’t tempted to try the eggless Spanish omelette! I went for banana curry fritters and mixed leaves as my side dishes, whilst Michael opted for garlic mushroom fritters and a mixed grain and courgette salad. We also ordered some “mathematical chips”, square cut root vegetables… square root chips, geddit?!
I sipped on a freshly squeezed orange juice as we waited in the sunshine for our food to arrive. It was a quiet weekday afternoon and our food arrived fairly promptly – lucky for our hungry bellies. I loved the presentation of our dishes on colourful hand-painted crockery; it just added to the summery al fresco vibe. Our Thai Duo’s were fragrant and flavoursome, a coconut broth covered the brown rice and vegetables, whilst the tofu sat on top was the perfect crispy addition. I adored the fritters, which were fried, crunchy nuggets of goodness. My banana curry fritters complemented the coconut curry hot dish perfectly, but despite this (and despite me being a fiend for bananas in savoury food), the garlic mushroom ones stole the show. I mean, you can’t go wrong with garlic mushrooms really can you? A match made in heaven. The salads added a lovely fresh note to our meals, my mixed leaves made more exciting with a tangy berry vinaigrette. The chips were an extra filling addition which meant I didn’t have enough room to try dessert. Sigh.
Our “build your own plate” dishes cost £11.95 each and the chips came in at £3.95 – not a bargain lunch by any means, but good quality, flavoursome food and ample portion sizes meant that we left happy and satisfied. It always feel great to support independent businesses over chain restaurants – and even better when they are completely vegan! I’ll definitely be back when I find myself in York again, I’m quite certain there’s a slab of carrot cake waiting with my name on it…
Watch the video of our day out in York and our trip to El Piano: