Dandelion & Burdock (Sowerby Bridge)

I travel a lot. In the past year I've visited the US twice (San Francisco & DC), Belgium twice, France, Holland and Estonia. Having also blogged 35 vegetarian cafes & restaurants across England in this period (and eaten at many more over the past decade); I can with great pleasure confirm that Dandelion & Burdock is amongst the best.

Inconveniently for us; it's neither nearby, near to the area I work or close to where we holiday. Having heard positive reviews from people in Manchester though we detoured on the way back south from The Lake District, adding about an hour extra onto the journey. I'm a great fan of breaking up otherwise long laborious journeys with meals out and National Trust properties (this time Lyme Park). Sowerby Bridge isn't the best looking town I've ever driven through, but it is well located for trade from Manchester, Bradford, Halifax, Leeds and Sheffield.

There are 2 key ingredients for a good cafe/restaurant: good food and good service. You can't have one or the other and expect repeat business (hence why despite regularly passing Mildreds I rarely go). Everything else is a bonus - my favourite restaurant has dreadful decor. Food doesn't have to be fancy or complicated, provided that it's flavoursome, well seasoned and priced accordingly (e.g. not fine dining price if it's not fine dining).

Dandelion & Burdoch scores well on all points. With the exception of the terrible music that was playing when we were there; decor is above average (well chosen furniture and a decent number of tables), service efficient, polite and friendly. I don't know the area well enough to comment on pricing, other than that it's at the lower end of the national scale for restaurant quality food. It isn't fine dining, but doesn't profess to be.

Not everyone's definition of the phrase "Pure Vegetarian" is the same; it's not obvious looking at the website, menu or restaurant frontage that everything is vegan. I guess that this is a tactical decision so as not to scare off non-vegans. I can genuinely believe that some people dine there without realizing it's vegan.

What it does mean is that there are no "Vegan Options" or compromises on the menu, where you're never sure quite how disappointed you'll be by what is served vs the vegetarian version that's advertised.

We were pleased to see Fentiman's Cherry Cola for the first time, which like their standard cola tastes a lot like sweets (I realise that my manliness is in jeopardy by shunning bitter drinks):

On the Sunday lunchtime that we visited the food menu wasn't extensive: 3 starters, 3 mains, 3 desserts. Still stuffed from a 3 course breakfast at the hotel (which in our restraint we only took 2 courses of) we shared a starter, then broke the golden rule of new restaurant visits by ordering the same thing (you'd think we'd have learnt from the £30 bird seed Aloka fail by now):
Mediterranean Tart £4.50
Spinach, sundried tomato, basil, green olives, mixed baby leaf salad, olive oil & balsamic syrup

Sausage & Mash £9.50
Sun dried tomato sausage roll, spinach mash, tender stem brocolli, mushroom sauce
The tart was exceptionally good. It was closer to quiche than any dish claiming to be quiche that I've had. It tasted like Taifun Olive Tofu (which @cherrivalentine has taken to eating straight out of the pack), but creamier; with good pastry, whole olives and sundried tomatoes:

Main course was confusing, but very good. Confusing because what is normally served as sausages without pastry or some kind of fancy looking roulade was in fact a sausage roll! Probably the best vegan sausage roll I've eaten though, with well above average mash and a creamy mushroom sauce. The whole dish worked really well:

For dessert we ordered a couple of cheesecakes:
Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake £4.50
Vanilla Ice Cream

Strawberry Cheesecake £4.50
Vanilla Ice Cream
I didn't get a chance to photograph mine - I was too busy salivating over (and trying to pinch spoonfuls of) @cherrivalentine's:

I considered ordering a 2nd but was too full. If it wasn't so warm I'd have requested some for take away.

It was by far and away the best vegan cheesecake I've eaten in a restaurant. It reminded us both of Turtle Mountain ice cream in the states. Consistency was perfect, height perfect and visually stunning.

If the restaurant owners ever read this review: if you ever have difficulty trading in Yorkshire then please do consider re-opening in West London. Now that Saf has closed there really is only Manna V to get a decent vegan meal, and your dessert is better!

Now to find reasons to return....


  1. Emma said...:

    Oh my goodness, I've already eaten dinner but I think I could demolish that cheesecake all the same! Everything looks seriously good and the prices?! Perhaps I'm just used to London and currently Paris' obscene restaurant prices but D+B sounds like a bargain. I've got a trip planned up to Yorkshire in September, and crazily ahead as it may sound this place is definitely being scheduled into the diary! Thanks for the review.

  1. Wow, that place looks really good! Shame it's nowhere near me, a think a trip up North is in order. Also, Fentiman's CHERRY COLA?!! OMG!

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