Fellinis (Ambleside)

Having visited Zeffirellis in Ambleside many times over the years; I was initially excited by the prospect of trying their latest venture - Fellinis, a supposedly higher end vegetarian restaurant.

Their website describes it as a "modern 'Vegeterranean' restaurant catering for the most discerning vegetarian palette with a distinct Mediterranean twist", before going on to promise that "You can indulge in fine dining vegetarian cuisine with us at Fellinis."

Sound good?

My excitment waned somewhat however, on finding quite how unvegan-friendly the menu is. When we were up in the area last year they had a vegan starter and dessert option with no main! This time round there was 1 starter and 2 mains, which was enough for us to try it out.

Fellini's is a short walk from Zeffirellis and clearly styled by the same person (the interior is almost identical). Prices are above average for vegan options that sound uninspiring to say the least.

We ordered the one starter, a couple of sides and both the mains:
Spiced baba ganoush with green tahini dressed crudites, pickled cucumber and toasted pitta (V) £5.95

Basket of homemade bread with virgin olive oil and balsamic reduction (V) £3.50

Bowl of marinated olives (V) £3.50

Butternut squash, with a tomato, walnut and puy lentil filling served on fresh spinach and saute potato (V) £11.95

Spanish roasted vegetables and chickpea cassoulet topped with crostinis and basil oil (V) £11.95

Paprika roasted potatoes (V/GF) £3.50
It's the kind of menu which whilst boring; if perfectly executed is worth a go.

It's a good job that we had a big basket of bread; half a pitta isn't enough to eat an entire pot of baba ganoush with!

The pickled cucumbers and baba ganoush were actually pretty good. It tasted a lot like hummus though and we chose to avoid the creamy looking dressing on the veg. The bread was OK but not stunning (focaccia or ciabatta would have tasted a lot better) and olives fairly average. I'm not convinced the balsamic had been reduced, at least it was still at the thin and runny stage rather than sweet and sticky.

In contrast the mains were probably the most boring things we ate whilst away:They were pretty much as advertised - half a butternut squash filled with lentils and some sauted potatoes on the side, a thick chickpea and vegetable soup with teeth breakingly hard crostini.

The roast potatoes (recommended by the waitress for my main) were above average, but didn't really fit with the dish.

We skipped the £5.95 sorbet option for dessert and opted for ice-cream sundaes at the hotel instead :)

(crappy looking picture taken on an iPad3)

Overall, at £20 for 2 courses of uninspiring food each it's difficult to recommend Fellinis to other vegans. It's a real shame too - irconically it's un-fine dining sister restaurant serves better food for less money.


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