[Gifted meal for purpose of review]
Amidst a very busy weekend of DJing, I was invited by Offbeet New Forest to sample their latest Saturday night theme menu. You might have seen my previous Vlog from their ‘Give a Cluck’ event which you can find out more about here. This month, though, it’s Thai, so of course there’s absolutely no way I could resist! Plus, I had already seen an array of the dishes on offer via their Instagram and have been desperate to head back there to try it anyway.
Their second restaurant is based at Sunnyfields Farm and it’s much bigger with a totally different aesthetic to the Wickham cafe – bright and open plan. They serve up a totally different menu (including a different range of cakes!) and are open all day and evening serving plant-based goodness through brunch, lunch and dinner. We booked our table in for the evening menu, so the fire was on and candles were lit, giving each table an intimate vibe throughout the room.
We were a table of four and as we deliberated the menu, trying to narrow our choices down, we were served these lovely sesame roasted almonds. Still warm and with a little chewiness to them that just added to their deliciousness! Eventually we worked out a plan between us that we’d pick as many different options as possible and split them so we could sample more of the menu. For starters, we had satay skewers (seitan in place of chicken!) with a gorgeous sauce made from roasted peanuts which I couldn’t get enough of – any leftover sauce I just saved up and smothered onto other things!
We also had summer rolls which are a similar idea to spring rolls only much bigger, a little more open and they’re not fried so they’re served cold in their nudie, clear skin. Full of fresh, crunchy veg married with marinated tofu, tamarind, garlic and chilli, they’re served with a soybean dipping sauce on the side. The satay was definitely my favourite (though I am biased, I’ve had satay dishes at Offbeet before and was dying to try it again!) but the summer rolls are a perfect option that just makes you feel super healthy when you’re eating them – like a good veggie fueled vegan should! I don’t eat a lot of salads etc so it was lovely to try something new and we were all super impressed with this dish – although as soon as we’d munched our way through the starters we realised we had been very piggy with our mains order!
When our mains started arriving, we almost couldn’t even fit the plates on the table…We really had been very ambitious. The amount we ordered was helped along with recommendations from our lovely waitress so we don’t have to feel bad for being greedy (It’s not my fault, etc etc) but between us we covered the full menu of mains! The first thing I tried was their pad thai. I rarely order pad thai because I am almost always distracted by curries – if there’s a curry on the menu, what am I supposed to do? NOT order it!? This often leaves little room for pad thai but I’d seen this dish on the Instagram and it looked amazing so I just really wanted to try it. They’ve used scrambled tofu as the egg element and I tried a piece on it’s own, it really tasted like egg! Not sure how they’ve managed that but it was very good, plus some crispy cubes of tofu as well amongst the ribbon noodles and bean sprouts.
The most unusual thing on the menu was stir fried lotus stems – we all wanted to try it but had no idea what it was. As soon as it arrived, though, we all had the same reaction; ‘ohhhhh it’s THAT thing from Instagram!’ as lotus stems are one of those cool looking foods you always see in photos of fancy dishes you never eat, but here we were, trying them in real life. They have quite a similar texture to water chestnut (a bit like sliced apple) and whilst they are naturally quite sweet, they were cooked in a lot of savoury flavour. Strong garlic, oyster sauce, fish sauce and covered in little soybeans with a chunk of lime on the side.
Finally, we sampled both the curries on offer; Hunglei curry and a yellow curry which you can add to with a side of sticky rice. Hunglei is a much more traditional curry than you usually see in high-street Thai restaurants, combining sweet and sour elements (this one has tamarind and pineapple!) with roasted and glazed seitan pieces, cherry tomatoes and roasted peanuts. The second curry was definitely a massive bit of me – yellow aubergine curry. If I was going to this night in any normal capacity and had to order just one thing (like a normal person instead of a pig beast) it would have definitely been this and I would not have been disappointed. The sauce is absolutely gorgeous and the baked miso aubergine is delicious – thick and fleshy without falling apart or seeming soggy like it can in some places. Plus, this dish looks absolutely beautiful. With a little added green from the mangetout and the stunning yellow from the turmeric element this is definitely Instagram worthy.
We managed to clear almost all the plates before declaring ourselves stuffed…Except, we could probably squeeze in a little bit of cake. You can always squeeze in a little bit of cake! Washed down with the perfect gingerbread chai tea, we all had a piece of the Biscoff salted caramel cake and, yep, you guessed it, plates were rendered empty yet again. We left the restaurant well and truly stuffed! But very, very happy about it. The service was lovely as always, the atmosphere was great and all the food was sensational with absolutely no let downs. I for one can’t wait to see where they go next with their themed nights!
All opinions are from my own experience during a complimentary meal gifted by Offbeet New Forest for the purpose of this blog review.