Hearty Vegan Food at Nancy’s of Ardara – Restaurant Review

I often find myself lazing around my house at weekends, and as someone with mental health issues and a habit of hibernating out of season, I felt I needed to get out of the house last weekend. I’m so glad I made a plan and saw it through – that in itself is good for mental health – as I had a wonderful time with my family exploring Donegal.

Naturally, explorers get peckish after a while and I was absolutely ravenous after we got to Ardara. We had driven through Ramelton, Glenties and we had yet to go to Donegal Town, so it was time for food!Β nancys restaurant review

I was a bit dubious at the prospect of finding a place that offered some hearty vegan food options for me, but after seeing a menu option for a ‘veggie burger’ at none other than a SEAFOOD BAR, I realised Ardara was not quite like other places! It was way ahead!

We decided to pop in to ask if the veggie burger was vegan-friendly and thank God it was because otherwise I might have turned my back and not experienced the delish food on offer at Nancy’s!

nancys restaurant review

The bar/restaurant is like a labyrinth inside; there are so many little hidden hallways and doorways and staircases and it’s so ‘old Irish’ charming. The staff as well are very friendly and they engage you with you at the table, which is always nice.

nancys restaurant review

They had a whole section of vegetarian food available and all of it could be modified for vegans. Their menu also specifically stated that their soup was dairy free (the menu was LAMINATED, so it’s here to stay πŸ˜‰ ) and it was so refreshing not to have to ask. They also had a vegan carrot cake on offer for the troopers who managed to get through their portions!

I also had a soup to start, which was so thick it was more like a stew than anything else. It was delish! Though it came with Dairygold butter, so obviously I avoided that and just enjoyed the soup on its own.

nancys restaurant review

I had a veggie burger with – wait for it – chilli on the side! I thought this was a bit strange (chips weren’t available), but although I could’ve gotten baby potatoes as a side instead, I really wanted to try the chilli because it’s a main option on the menu as well. Two birds with one stone! Not that I’d excuse violence towards birds, but you get the idea!

I didn’t opt for the carrot cake because I was absolutely STUFFED but I imagine it would’ve have been fab as well. The moral of this review is that you shouldn’t judge a restaurant or cafΓ© by its name or by the food it specialises in; you CAN be surprised!

Sova Vegan Butchers | Restaurant Review

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. AsΒ 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.

sova vegan butchers review

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.Β It isn’t exactly a large venue, but there’s a ground floor and first floor with just enough floor space to shimmy around.

sova vegan butchers review

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 otherΒ 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.

sova vegan butchers review

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.

sova vegan butchers review

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 andΒ when I smothered the steak in sauce it definitely broughtΒ back memories of that meaty taste. The potatoes, too, were perfect.

sova vegan butchers review

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.

sova vegan butchers review

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!

sova vegan butchers review

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!Β 

Address: 51 Pleasants St, Dublin 8

Tel: 085 727 7509

Pure Chimp Vegan Face Cleanser And Soap Review

I received some Pure Chimp products as a present a while ago, and as I’m nearly finished them, I figured now was a good time to write a review!

First, a little about the company:

All of Pure Chimp’s products are suitable for vegans and have been registered with the vegan society (this is always a huge plus for me as it’s a botherΒ having to email companies individually to find out if they’re vegan!)

The company has a strong ethical stance as they give 5% of their profits to charity and every product on the website is 100% natural.

They also help look after the planet by using recyclable glass jars, recyclable plastic pouches and recyclable paper when packaging the products.

pure chimp vegan products review

They’re best known for their matcha green tea (which I haven’t tried yet!) but they also have a range of other products on offer, including the soap and cleanser that I received!

I got the Super Cleanser which is suitable for people with sensitive skin (not a problem I usually face, but it’s great that it’s inclusive of all skin types!)

In the mixture, extra virgin olive oil is used to lock in moisture and kaolin clay draws out impurities. The ingredients are completely natural including ground almonds, vegetable glycerine, dried marigold, banana extract, sea buckthorn oil, vitamin E oil as well as the extra virgin olive oil and clay I mentioned above.

pure chimp vegan products review

I thought it was very similar to the Angels On Bare Skin cleanser from Lush, but with a much stronger scent (the banana). It alsoΒ broke apart easier in my hands when mixed with water (a good thing!) and left my face feeling clean and hydrated.

On the website, it’s being sold for Β£11.95 (which is approx. €14) so it’s quite steep for just 80g. I think this is more of a luxury cleanser (one I can’t afford myself right now) but I’d be delighted if I got it again as a gift.

The soap I received is Β£4.95 from their website but it’s quite a big bar so you get your money’s worth from it. It smells like banana and vanilla, which is quite pleasant, and leaves your hands feeling moisturised after.

pure chimp vegan products review

I would definitely use this in the shower rather than wasting it on my hands as it is really moisturising and better suited to a body prone to dryness (like my own). It has absolutely no chemicals which is fantastic. The ingredients are olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and banana extract so it’s really luxurious.

Both of the products I got last between a year and 18 months so they have a natural shelf life rather than the chemical filled crap that you could probably still use 10 years from now.

I’d definitely recommend them if you have the money to give them a go, particularly if you have sensitive and dry skin! It’s also great to support genuinely vegan companies like this one!