Oranaise Cafe, Leeds: ordering non-Moroccan vegan food was a bad idea

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I finally got round to checking out Oranaise Cafe in Hyde Park last night. I was particularly keen to visit because the restaurant has a dedicated page on their website talking about the vegan options on offer.

It’s great to see a restaurant responding to the increasing demand for vegan food and a really encouraging reflection of the way veganism is growing ever stronger and more influential.

 

Oranaise cafe Leeds

 

Oranaise serves Moroccan and Mediterranean food and the restaurant interior is nice, being impressively decorated in a North African style.

 

Oranaise Leeds

 

I was also impressed to find a dedicated vegan menu on the table. In non-vegan and non-vegetarian restaurants you usually have to scour the menu and ask questions to identify suitable options, so it made a very nice change to see so many vegan options and to have them all clearly laid out in a special menu.

 

Oranaise menu

 

So far so good! The staff were very friendly, I was enjoying Oranaise’s atmosphere, and I was loving the vegan menu.

Unfortunately though it was at this point that things went downhill.

In hindsight ordering non-Moroccan food in a Moroccan restaurant was a foolish move. We should have ordered one of the traditional options such as falafel, hummus, or tagine – though we’d had hummus for lunch and fancied something different. It was a particular mistake on my part to order pizza, having had one of Ecco’s fantastic Neapolitan creations just a few days earlier, up the road in Headingley.

I ordered the sillily-named ‘Yummy’ pizza (vegan cheese, aubergine, spinach and garlic, £8.95), whilst my partner went for the quinoa burger with vegan cheese (£6.95).

The vegan pizza was not good. It had far too much vegan cheese on it, too few vegetables, and was incredibly oily. Eating this oily orange concoction was heavy going and a distinctly unhealthy experience. Despite being hungry I could only manage to eat two-thirds of it, and that was a struggle.

 

Oranaise vegan pizza

 

The burger wasn’t as bad but it was still disappointing. The quinoa burger itself was fine, but spoiled by the uninteresting bread bun, the thick slabs of orange non-melted vegan cheese, the small, uninspiring salad, and the pile of anaemic chips. Whilst the ‘sides’ section of the vegan menu refers to Oranaise’s ‘homemade’ chips, I’d be very surprised if these fries had come from anywhere other than a packet.

To be honest I’ve seen more appetising burger meals in Wetherspoons – not to mention the fact that the burger itself looked completely different to the one on the front of the vegan menu.

 

Oranaise vegan quinoa burger

 

It’s great to see a restaurant responding to vegan demand and offering a dedicated menu – and to be fair to Oranaise I have heard that their vegan Moroccan options are great. If they want to offer vegan food outside their establised range of North African options however, Oranaise do need to improve both the quality and presentation of these dishes.

I might give Oranaise another go in future – I just won’t order the pizza or burger.

 

Have you been to Oranaise? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.

 

Oranaise Cafe

1 The Crescent, Hyde Park, Leeds, LS6 2NW

0113 274 4422

0113 278 1777

oranaise-cafe.co.uk

 

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6 Comments

  1. My husband and I had been meaning to visit here for quite some time, but overall the food we chose was disappointing.
    I opted for a mezzo platter, including houmous, stuffed vine leaves, mixed green salad, quinoa salad, and pitta slices. I probably should not have ordered the houmous, as we are very adept at making our own at home. the quinoa salad was dry, but the vine leaves, though not my cup of tea generally, were better than I had expected, and my hubby, who loves them generally, thought they were great.
    My hubby opted for the quinoa burger – he initially ordered the ‘meat-free’ burger, but it was unavailable. it came with green salad and cheese inside the bun plus chips. The worst thing about the burger was it was deep fried, or at least appeared to be, and so was greasy. it was also not large enough for the bun – which is of particular annoyance to me. It did not strike me as tasty ot healthy, just greasy. The chips were a let down too, being too dry and, again, not tasty. They were also neither crispy nor soggy, soggy like some chip shop chips – either soggy or crispy would have been good, but these were rather non-descript. Homemade chips? I think not!
    We shared a smoothie of a good size, of the mixed berry variety, and this was especially scrummy, made from frozen fruit, in my opinion, as opposed to being filled out and watered down with ice, though I think they added additional taste to it by including a slash of cordial, maybe Vimto. There was also a free carafe of (tap?) water provided, being a pleasant change from being made to pay for water.
    I think we will go again, this time to try a tagine, hoping their more traditional meals will be made to a higher standard.
    The inclusion of a separate vegan menu was a great idea, and was of a great help in helping us chose our meals.
    They had a large selection of the most scrummy looking cakes on display at the counter, though when I asked there were only two desserts which were actually vegan. . This was such a let down, as the non-vegan cakes were of great variety and looked absolutely, OTT delicious. the two vegan desserts were, I assume Moroccan, but did just not look anywhere near as appetising. I did not opt to try one, so maybe I am being unfair in pre-judging – they did look boring, plain and nothing special though – plus when I asked what they were made of I got a very brief answer, which did not answer my question – rather it was just reiterated that they were vegan.
    Overall, the café’s interior was super, being very well decorated, with Moroccan styles and colours. We visited on a Friday lunchtime, and had trouble parking nearby – a let down again, as I have mobility issues – plus the café was quiet, so it could be even harder to park close by many other times. Our order was taken quickly and the food delivered to our table rather quickly, too – – very handy if one is in a rush, as we were.
    The bill was not too expensive, or rather it would not have been if the food had been of a higher quality. Instead, with the offerings we were given, I feel it was somewhat overpriced. however, maybe if we chose a tagine each next time we will come away feeling much more satisfied. (I would have been tempted to try a pizza on a future visit, but from what I have gathered from other reviews, these have not been recommended, either – which is a shame, as the various toppings available did appeal to my taste …. maybe It would be best to ask for less cheese and more of the other toppings?)

  2. Moor

    I found ur big review very very very harsh,if ur new in vegan u should ask 3 ways of cooking it… I’m vegan from family countryside the vegan cheese they using is perfect for the new vegan eater as if u go 2 some vegan cheese I don’t think u gona manage 2 eat it… This place give perfect food and the choice for everyone I don’t think u will get it somewhere else… U should encourage this society and give ur personnel feedback by giving advice and I think u should give it direct 2 this places where u see vegan menu if u can help not by putting this smal business offfffffff and stick with their specialities
    Ur review didn’t put me offffffffff as I’m not new vegan eater and this place give a lot the food her is fresh, tasty and the staff very nice and helpful .
    I come her with friends and family and always happy with the result and the price
    You should support every small local business for the effort of getting this vegan food 2 us

    • Thank you so much for your support. I am the Owner of oranaise. I can say that we are making a huge effort to respond to our vegan customers even if we are not familiar with these new products. We have improved, we are still improving as the demand is constantly increasing. I would love people to talk to us directly in the restaurant if there is anything they don’t like. As a small family business working hard for 14 years we find it really hard to see some customers destroying our business in a few words online.
      Thank you so much for giving us the strength to keep going. Thanks God we have faithful customers x

      • Destroying your business? What an absurd thing to say. I talked directly to your waitress about the pizza, by the way.

    • My review didn’t put you offffffff because you either own the place or work there, I can see your IP address is the same as Patricia’s. Anyway, I wasn’t trying to put anyone off. The pizza was not good and I wrote an honest review about it. I told your waitress this directly, so if she didn’t pass on the feedback then there’s a problem with your internal communications.