Satsuma Pop-up Bistro is a new venture set up by local friends Cath Bryan and Clare McCormack. I first heard about it on Facebook and the unique character of a fully vegan and vegetarian restaurant, at a secret location sounded exciting. The fact the Bistro ‘pops up’ in a residential address made it sound like a warm and friendly vibe that you just can’t get in a high street restaurant.
Having watched their previous event fill-up fast I was quick to try to book some places when I saw new dates released. So me and three non-vegetarian friends booked our places. I was surprised how little my mates needed convincing to go for a 3 course vegetarian meal, a testament to how enticing the whole Satsuma experience sounded. As Clare and Cath say “Our dishes will satisfy the strictest of vegan to the most sceptical omnivore…”
Before the night we were sent menu options for each course. All of them hearty, seasonal and interesting. It was so lovely to have the freedom to eat any dish, and to know that I could try the options my partner had picked too, as he’s a meat eater I don’t usually get to do that – not necessarily something Dave would want to encourage though! I opted for a starter of – Grundi (Italian style cheesy walnut bites in a tomato and thyme sauce.) which I’d not heard of before so wanted to try them out. I opted for roasted red pepper and squash risotto for main, and Firecracker chocolate brownie served with vegan coconut ice cream for dessert. Yum-o.
On the night, with the address we’d been sent in one hand and our bring-your-own-wine bottle in the other, we arrived at the address in the Garden Lane area of the city. A little extra sizzle of excitement in the air of going somewhere new and not fully knowing what to expect.
Following a warm and smiley welcome from our hosts we were seated on our group table. The atmosphere was social and relaxed. A cross between going to a restaurant and going to a dinner party where you only know a couple of people.
After everyone had settled in the food began to arrive, each dish perhaps even tastier than I had imagined and the portions were really generous. My friends, who’d all opted for a main course of rich and tasty Mushroom and ale pie were equally chuffed with their food and didn’t miss the meat. Perfect food for a cold autumnal evening. All rounded off with a mug of coffee and a handmade chocolate, over conversation with the friends we arrived with and the friends we made while we were there.
Satsuma offers something unique in both its food and atmosphere. Beyond vegan and vegetarian they also offer gluten-free dishes and will adapt dishes for other dietary requirements on request. Even nowadays it can be hard to get menus so tailored and I know friends on restricted diets who have had bad experiences trying to avoid certain foods. As Cath says herself “As a vegan I can find it extremely hard to eat out. I am passionate about good food, the combinations of textures and flavours and I generally find the vegan food I am presented with to be uninspired, under seasoned, over priced and generally a disappointment knowing I could do better myself. I can also get quite paranoid regarding contamination from meat and dairy….it does happen occasionally and it is never a pleasant experience. Us vegans can be anxious diners.” It’s great to know that dietary requirements are not only taken seriously there but the Satsuma team are creative enough to make you not feel like you’re missing out either.
More nights are planned in the coming months following their ethos of “inspired and lovingly prepared food for EVERYONE”. With a style that is “home cooked, rustic authentic food. Earthy, wholesome and always packed with a flavour punch to your taste buds.” The next event, is already fully booked but to hear about their forthcoming events as they announce them just email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to their mailing list.
Satsuma Pop-up Bistro can be found on Facebook page www.facebook.com/satsumachester
Their 3 course Bistro dining experience is £20 per person and every guest can bring their own drinks with them to enjoy with their meal, with no charge for corkage. Booking is now secured with a £10 deposit for each place and the balance payable on the night.