It was serendipity that just as I exchanged contracts to move to the city, Peterborough’s first vegan restaurant When Polly Met Fergie opened. A week later I completed my house move and we headed straight there to celebrate.
Located in the Westgate Arcade, the main restaurant is located downstairs and has a relaxed cafe feel. Meanwhile upstairs there is a cocktail and jazz bar with regular live music. The decor certainly sets the mood with dark walls, a centrepiece chandelier and a grand piano in the corner.
I can only describe how good my first meal there was as my camera was still packed away in a box at home. I started with arancini balls served with a punchy tomato sauce, followed up with a rich and stewy red wine bourguignon. The accompanying dill mash was so smooth and pillowy that I cleaned my plate!
Oliver chose a nacho starter topped with a convincingly meaty fragrant ‘mince’. His main of ancho chilli, tortilla and rice was fresh and filling, but we both would have loved some kind of sauce with it to add a little moisture. We were very impressed overall and vowed to return.
Fast forward to a few weeks later and I popped in for breakfast. I’d been hoping to try their signature eggless benedict but it wasn’t on the menu that day. I’m glad in retrospect because the avocado on toast that I had instead was exceptional. The creamy avocado was generously piled atop a slice of fresh baked focaccia and given a sumptuous earthy, unami twist with the addition of truffles. For extra oomf, there were also sweet but tart sun dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. Definitely not your average avo!
Maybe it’s over the top to visit the same restaurant three times in a month but hey, it’s not often that an entirely plant based restaurant launches a Christmas menu and welcomes you inside to taste it all is it?
I arrived with the other Qbloggers, eager not only to taste the new menu, but also to find out what my non vegan friends thought. The verdict was unanimous: whether you’re vegan, vegitarian, flexitarian or a carnivore, this is food everyone will love!
In a Christmas menu full of highlights, I’ll give a special mention to the potato dauphinoise. I haven’t tasted anything so creamy and cheddary since I gave up those very things! My friends said that if they’d walked in off the street and eaten this without knowing that they were in a plant based restaurant, they’d be none the wiser.
Also, it’s an absolute pleasure to have a choice of multiple vegan desserts, something rather lacking when visiting other restaurants. Here, the festive option of a berry crumble with vanilla cream ticked all the boxes for me. It was warming, fruity and homely.
“It’s just honest plates of fresh food that are aromatic and full of flavour. They just all happen to be plant based.”
I can’t express how good it feels to finally have a place in my hometown where I can walk in and have the freedom to order anything I like off the menu. Peterborough’s first vegan restaurant has arrived just in time to make my Christmas!
The thing with When Polly Met Fergie though is that it isn’t ‘gimmicky’. It isn’t trying to convince everyone to go vegan with a menu full of meat substitutes. It doesn’t even make a big deal of it being a vegan restaurant! It’s just honest plates of fresh food that are aromatic and full of flavour. They just all happen to be plant based.
When Polly Met Fergie is situated at Westgate Arcade, Queensgate, Peterborough and can be accessed from inside or outside the shopping centre.
*Disclaimer: I was invited to preview the Christmas menu as part of my duties as a Qblogger for Queensgate Shopping Centre. That meal was complimentary. I made the other visits as a paying customer.