As a vegan, nothing is more inviting than the thought of sitting down with a menu at a restaurant and not having to direct a barrage of questions at the waiter. As someone who loves going out to dinner, it can be a bit of an ordeal these days unless I’ve called ahead to ensure there’ll be something for me to eat. Since hearing of Sova Vegan Butchers, a 100% vegan restaurant off Camden St, I’ve wanted to go. The food in the pictures I’d seen looked fabulous and I’d heard nothing but good things.
This weekend I FINALLY got to go. It was my birthday and my boyfriend was treating me, so why not go to the one restaurant in Dublin where I can relax and not have to worry about what I’m eating? I booked a table a month in advance (not that you have to, but I was so excited I wanted to sort it straight away!) for me, a friend and my boyfriend. We got there in plenty of time so that there’d be no issues with our table and I wasn’t at all shocked to see the place was packed. It isn’t exactly a large venue, but there’s a ground floor and first floor with just enough floor space to shimmy around.
After walking up the curvy staircase, we were seated next to the stairs, where we were given menus straight away. The decor is very minimal but there are some great art pieces on the wall featuring abstract animals, plus you’re so excited to just be there that it doesn’t even matter. The atmosphere is bopping anyway because of the number of people, but surprisingly it didn’t feel overly crowded despite being quite close to other diners.
We ordered quickly and all of the food reached our table quite fast, which was impressive given the number of people being served. That’s part of the beauty of eating out vegan – you don’t have the same wait times that you’d expect when ordering steak for instance.
I ordered king scallops on a bed of dill potato cakes with marinated cauliflower and black pudding and the other two ordered seafood chowder. Both starters were gorgeous. I’d never had seafood chowder before so I don’t have anything to compare it with, but it was fabulous. Similarly, I’d never had scallops before but the whole starter was delicious, particularly the dill potato cakes and black pudding. Surprisingly, I loved the cauliflower bites even though cauliflower wouldn’t usually be my cup of tea, as it were.
We soon moved on to the main event! I ordered seitan steak with pepper sauce and a big dollop of potatoes with toasted kale. Although the texture isn’t steak-y, the meal itself tasted lovely and when I smothered the steak in sauce it definitely brought back memories of that meaty taste. The potatoes, too, were perfect.
Unfortunately, the soya schnitzels that my boyfriend ordered were not very nice. It was such a pity because the rest of the meal was so tasty and really high quality, plus it was all beautifully presented. I really couldn’t say anything good about the taste of the schnitzels, if I’m honest; I don’t know if it was a bad batch or if that’s really what they’re meant to be like, but I’d recommend avoiding them as the rest of the menu offers much tastier alternatives.
For dessert we had lime cheesecake. Full disclosure: I HATE lime. Like, I hate it. It’s the beetroot of fruits! However, I really wanted to check out the texture of the cheesecake on offer at Sova so I decided to give it a go. Although the lime taste was awful (not Sova’s fault, just my tastebuds), the texture was great and it was well presented just like the rest of the meal. So next time when they have a different flavour on offer, I’ll happily get the cheesecake again! The other dessert offered was a chocolate avocado mousse, but I’ve had that a hundred times so I took the chance to try the cheesecake texture. No regrets!
My two guests had a great time and we all plan on coming back again soon. The only problem they brought up was a €6 corkage charge for wine and €1 for beers, as it’s BYOB. To be honest, I didn’t think this was a problem because so many restaurants in Dublin do this and you can actually end up better off. For example, you could pick up a cheap bottle in Lidl/Aldi and bring that instead of having to opt for a very expensive bottle in-house. Look at the glass half full!
Overall, Sova gets a solid 4 stars from me. It has friendly staff, a varied menu, reasonable prices for the quality of the food, and a 100% vegan menu. Although the experience wasn’t perfect, I really enjoyed my night and I loved the food. Do yourself a favour and visit Sova. Your tummy will thank you! If tummies could talk, which they shouldn’t. If yours does, get that checked out.
Have you been to Sova? What did you think? Do you agree? Let me know in the comments!
Address: 51 Pleasants St, Dublin 8
Tel: 085 727 7509