Sunday, 29 March 2015

VEGAN TOON - NEVS / Painted Elephant - A Taste of Americana

NE Veggie Socials at Painted Elephant

Last night, Andrew and I went to Painted Elephant in Newcastle for a very fancy dining experience thanks to NE Veggie Socials. We joined the social group this time last year, shortly after going vegan, and this was the third NEVS event we've attended so far.

Painted Elephant - Amuse Bouche - Florida Orange & Rosemary Sorbet

Every so often, Painted Elephant run exclusive tasting menu evenings with a theme, this - the third one they've run - was based on an Americana theme, but, as co-owner Laura informed us at the start of the evening, there were to be no burgers and fries on the menu tonight. The carefully selected dishes were based on more of a southern, creole style fare, which was OK by us.

Not only was the menu inspired by the south, but so too was the playlist which was packed with Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton - what more could you ask for?

Painted Elephant - Amuse Bouche - Florida Orange & Rosemary Sorbet

This was the first of six courses - an Amuse Bouche of Florida orange and rosemary sorbet. The orange was just the right balance of tart and sweet for me, and the sprigs of rosemary added a nice depth of flavour. Suitably refreshing and a good start to the evening.

Painted Elephant - Corn Chowder

Next up was a corn chowder - something I'd never tried before so I wasn't sure what to expect. The chowder was swirled with vegan cream and Tabasco sauce which packed a punch! A thick, rich dish with crunchy corn and a real kick from the sauce, delicious.

Painted Elephant - Cowboy beans on sourdough

The next course was cowboy beans on sourdough. Again, cowboy beans are not something I've tried before, so I was looking forward to seeing how this came out. The beans were served in a tangy tomato sauce and were really tasty, the overall dish was sublime and felt like a fancy beans on toast - really good, comfort food.

Painted Elephant - Sweet potato & greens

Next on the menu was sweet potato with collard greens. This course was supposed to be grits & greens, but there'd been a problem with the grits and so sweet potato took its place. I was looking forward to the grits but the sweet potato was a good substitute - tender with just the right amount of bite. The greens had been lightly pan fried with some red chilli so they too had a kick, just enough to spice up the sweet potato.

Painted Elephant - Pulled jackfruit with creole slaw

Our last savoury course came in the form of pulled jackfruit with a creole slaw. I've made pulled jackfruit once or twice before so I knew we were in for a treat on this one and we weren't disappointed. Even the two meat eaters on our table said this dish could fool anyone into thinking it were pulled pork. Going off the experience of the previous courses I expected this to be packed with spice but it wasn't - a good thing! Instead, the jackfruit had been delicately flavoured with BBQ spices and a sticky sauce, and presented on a bed of sourdough and creole slaw. Delicious.

Painted Elephant - Key lime pie and coconut ice cream

Last was the dessert, and no matter how stuffed the previous five courses had left us, there was no way we were missing out on this incredible key lime pie with raw coconut ice cream. It was the course I'd been most looking forward to and I was not disappointed. The pie was refreshing with just a hint of citrus, and the coconut ice cream was to die for. Creamy, tropical, and just a little bit sweet, we devoured the whole dish with gusto - the perfect end to our vegan American feast.

As with all of the NEVS events, we came away chatting about what a great night we'd had. Food aside, we met some really nice new people and got to chat with others outside of our usual circle. We'd thoroughly recommend attending a NEVS event if you're North East based - not only do you get to meet new people - veggie, vegan and otherwise - but there are frequently exclusive events and special offers for members, as well as freebies!

Thank you to Painted Elephant for making it such a wonderful evening and for rustling up such amazing gourmet vegan fare once again.

Emily x


  1. SO glad you enjoyed it! We'll be doing another soon and I'm thinking of making it an Alice in Wonderland theme....

    1. Ahhh that would be amazing! Seriously I might just start pitching a tent outside so I'm never too far away from the food...


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