Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Orrery, Isle of Wight

This place is a little cafe in Ryde, tucked away about halfway up the high street. It seems to be all vegetarian, although they don't really advertise it that way - at least not at the actual cafe. 

It's interior decor is really unusual - most of the globes in the pictures are Alice in Wonderland themed and actually for sale. The large planets suspended from the ceiling can be controlled by switches for £1 for 5 minutes.

The cafe also houses what can only be described as a 'naughty postcard' museum. The cafe itself has about eight tables. If you are planning on visiting the Isle of Wight it's the only all vegetarian place I could find at time of writing - check the website for opening times as they seem to vary quite a bit.

The menu isn't large and vegan options aren't marked on the menu (although they say soya milk is available). When we visited there was a choice of two things - a vegan curry on the specials board and the falafel pockets from the menu. We asked if the falafel was vegan and they didn't seem to know, so we asked to see all the packets and ingredients lists and they were indeed vegan. Slightly annoying having to do that though, I'd hoped staff members would be a little more clued up about what they were selling.

I enjoyed my meal, although the falafel was almost mashed into the houmous so I couldn't actually find any pieces for my daughter to easily pick up and eat herself. When we arrived our group of 5 adults and a toddler were the only customers, but the food still took ages to come. The staff member seemed to be turning away customers by telling them he had no strawberries or cream before they'd even had chance to sit down.
The menus were sticky, the tables looked like they needed a wipe and perhaps it would have been a better experience if the member of staff was a little more knowledgable. 
It was reasonably priced and great to find a vegan option for lunch on an island that seems to be seriously lacking in vegan choice. I rang around some of the suggestions on the I.O.W vegans & vegetarians website but was told they only do vegetarian food, or that they could make something but things are not kept seperate in their kitchens. The Quay Arts Cafe in Newport is the only place I know of that clearly marks vegan options on their menu, but again it's lunch type food.
I'd return, but it'd be nice to see some improvement!

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