Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Greenhouse Vegetarian Restaurant.

Much as it pains me, to the very core of my soul, I am not a vegetarian.  The idea of giving up meat is akin to the idea of giving up masturbation.  Wait!  Can I publish that?  What does it say about my private life?  Anyway, I love a good sausage; I love a good bacon sandwich; I love a good joint; I love getting roasted; and so on and so forth.  So, why on earth should the Greenhouse Vegetarian Restaurant be one of my favourites?  Why indeed?  More on that later.
The Greenhouse is on Great Western Street about a minute's walk from the curry mile.  Do you ever find yourself on this stretch of road and think, "There's just too much choice," or, "These places are all shit!"?  I do.  The Greenhouse is your alternative.  Yet, it is not easily discovered.  It looks, from the outside, like an abandoned house; the kind of place where squatters might reside.  There are cracks in the windows.  Big ones.  Cracks that are framed by rotting wood, peeling paint and faded signs.  Yet!  Occasionally, over the ten mile blast radius of the curry mile stench,  you'll receive the gentle whiff of a homecooked pie. 
Enter with me, hold my hand as I take you into the glorious atmosphere of the Greenhouse Vegetarian Restaurant.
Inside, you'll be greeted by Robin Knight.  He has the sort of face that could appease a screaming baby: Rosy cheeked, plump, bearded, smiling; nobody can be angry in front of a face like this.   You'll also notice that the restaurant is pretty small.  It can seat about 30 people.  Thus, at the weekends, it fills up pretty quickly.  On quiet nights, however, you could find yourself alone (unless you've been wise enough to bring a date) in which case you get the run of the restaurant.  Picking a seat is tricky though, particularly if you are a couple.  Do you pick the square table or the round?  The square table has more space for food and booze but the round is presented more attractively.  In your madness you might find yourself choosing the round.  Don't;  The portions here are pretty big; extra space is necessary.  Next, do you pick a seat near one of the heaters?  In the winter time you may think this is wise but they are so intense your bum will become a piece of cooked meat.  In vegan land!  Whereever you place yourself you will not be able to evade the music.  It's quality sea faring material.  The kind of tunes you'd jaunt along to whilst downing a pint of sperm.  Occasionally, but, fortunately, not too often, one might hear the death inducing tones of Enya.  If this situation arises, do not panic.  It never lasts for long (although, I must admit, I find listening to Enya so insufferable I'd rather stab myself in the face with a pen) and you can always concentrate on the food.
It is the food which, now, becomes the focus of our attention.  You can get pretty much anything you want: curries, pasties, "Bangers" and mash, "fish" and chips, roast dinners.  Or, you could get a pie.  These are wonderful.  The finest of them has to be the Exotic Wellington, a splendid conflation of nuts, earth and cheese.  If he were to branch out from chocolate, this masterpiece of pie heaven would be found in Willy Wonka's edible room; and the gravy, blessed by the flavours of caremelised onions and fortified wine, would make up the river.  Desserts are special too: sticky; sweet; creamy; nutty; on the large side.
Finally, make time, whilst savouring these flavours, to talk to your host.  With his jokes, anecdotes, and general good humour he is the reason this vegetarian restaurant stands above others in the region.

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