West Bridgford nutrition coach Susan Hart gives her review of West Bridgford’s newest restaurant.
There is one large retail space on Central Avenue in West Bridgford that, over the last few years has had more reinventions than Madonna. It reopened just before Christmas as ‘Portello Lounge’, part of a chain of restaurants across the country, with one of its sister restaurants, Bendigo Lounge doing very nicely in Beeston
It use to be Mudcrab ( Wild Vine?) – a large unit over two floors that I always found was half empty. What drew me in on this particular Sunday was their promotion on Facebook of a separate vegan and gluten-free menu.
The doors open at 9 am for weekend breakfast so we got there at 9.30 and it was relatively quiet; a few couples were there with their dogs enjoying the papers and a coffee whilst relaxing on the sofas. A young family arrived and there was plenty of room for the buggy and the energetic children. The restaurant has a reasonable supply of board games, crayons and paper to keep the young diners amused and relatively quiet
We sat at a table at the back and asked for the vegan menu. I’d already glanced at it online but I wanted to see what else they did.
The vegan breakfast sprang out, but I was also tempted to try the ‘bacon’ roll or the avocado on ciabatta.
But no I’ll stick with my first choice along with an oaty cappuccino.
My other half wanted to try the halloumi and sweetcorn fritters so he ordered the veggie breakfast. You have to order at the bar and remember your table number.
On the way back it’s a chance to pour yourself some iced water from the large Kilner jars
The coffees arrived first and were nice and hot and strong; good start.
About 10 minutes later the hot breakfasts were delivered and the server asked if we needed any sauces etc.
My breakfast looked like a very satisfying plateful.
The beans are served in a separate enamel cup and my toast had some vegan spread on it (or at least I hope it was).
The lonely falafel was small but lovely and crunchy I could have eaten a few more of those.
I’m not a big fan of vegan bacon as it tastes too salty but it provided a chewy texture.
The mushrooms looked and tasted like they came out of a tin and had been boiled, not a pleasant eating experience and quite a disappointment.
The peppers, on the other hand, were delicious and sweet and again I could have eaten a heap of those. On the whole, the £7.50, the same for the veggie breakfast, seemed a reasonable price.
The vegetarian breakfast also went down well.
The much-anticipated halloumi and sweetcorn fritters were a bit of a disappointment, apparently the sweetcorn was the overriding flavoured, although he liked the crunchy texture.
We never felt rushed or crowded and the server was very diligent and asked how the food was and if we wanted anything else. On the subject of the staff, without a badge, uniform or apron it is very difficult to spot who are workers and customers. At busy times I can image this could be a frustration if you want to get someone’s attention.
We were very pleased with our food, drinks and service, but I also visited the Lounge the week in between Christmas and New Year and it was bedlam. Packed, noisy, uncleared tables, unavailable food items, over an hours wait for food, partially delivered orders etc.
So my advice is to choose your timings carefully