Oranaise Cafe, Leeds: ordering non-Moroccan vegan food was a bad idea
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 serves Moroccan and Mediterranean food and the restaurant interior is nice, being impressively decorated in a North African style.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1 The Crescent, Hyde Park, Leeds, LS6 2NW
0113 274 4422
0113 278 1777