For some reason I thought it'd be packed, but I felt a little silly saying we'd booked when there was clearly only 2 other people there eating! Thankfully a few more turned up whilst we were there, but it was certainly a different vibe from last year when it was rammed.
The weather was beautiful, so we sat outside at the back. Either they need to level the ground or adjust the tables - one of the two. After trying several we eventually decided upon one (a benefit of having the place to yourself!).
We ordered starters (* means cooked):
Saf Cheese Trio £7.45My starter was very good indeed (I had a feeling it would be). Definitely the highlight of the day (it was all downhill from here!):
Smoked paprika, olive & pesto cheeses served with tomato jam & raw crackers
Mushroom Gyoza* £6.50
Shitake & Woodear mushrooms with organic tofu & caramelised onion wrapped in rice pastry served with black vinaigrette
I was really pleased to see a sensible number of crackers this time. Even the tomato garnish tasted fabulous.
The filling in the mushroom gyoza was equally good, but pastry a bit of a let down. It was chewy and not quite right. For a moment I thought it must in fact be some clever raw pastry, but apparently it was just crap cooked stuff :)
We weren't taken enough by any of the mains to pay £15 for them, so ordered a sandwich each:
Tempeh Salad Sandwich* £7.50I'm not a great tempeh fan, so can't really comment on this one. The mushroom burger however was pretty disappointing. I'd have been disappointed by it anywhere, but it was especially disappointing at Saf!
Shoyo & ginger marinated tempeh salad with baby gem leaves, vegan mayonnaise served in kentish flute bread
Portabello Mushroom Burger* £6.50
Roasted Portabello with grilled red onion, gherkin, tomato & fig jam served in ciabattini
It really was a mushroom, pretending to be a burger. The bread was stiff and I ended up eating it with a knife and fork. Overall, it sucked.
Desserts were thankfully a little better:
Sour Cherry Trifle £6.95I hate to say this on my blog, but I really have to: the cashew cream looked like someone had just wanked on top!
Layers of chocolate sponge, vanilla cashew cream, sour cherry coulis & chocolate cigars
Layered Saf mascarpone & coffee-walnut savioardi
Can you see any chocolate cigars? Shavings sure, but no cigar.
It was OK, but not special enough to cost over £4. See this post for info on making far, far better sundaes.
The Tiramisu tasted pretty good, but it wasn't tiramisu. It's probably the best attempt I've tasted (certainly better than Inspiral and Zilli), but I'm still waiting for the holy grail of vegan tiramisu that tastes remotely like dairy tiramisu.
In summary? I love Saf and am definitely going again, but next time not for Sunday lunch! It is a little expensive, but it is special and I'm really glad it exists.