Review: The Nosebag

I had heard lots of good things about the veggie options at The Nosebag in town, so arranging a catch up with a friend felt like a good opportunity to try the place out. The Nosebag offers a seasonal menu featuring a handful of hot vegan dishes, as well as an array of salads which you can pick and mix from if you prefer. It’s a pretty casual arrangement, where you take your seat at one of the booths, then select your food and order at the counter when you’re ready. At just 6pm on a Wednesday, the place was pretty quiet, but I could imagine that you might have to wait a while in the canteen style queuing system at a busier time, which is in quite a small space. We weren’t in any hurry anyway, particularly with me as bad as ever at making decisions.

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After a long day at work and a cold bus journey into town, I was feeling pretty hungry, so I opted for the warming pumpkin and chickpea tagine, served with rice, and a choice of a couple of sides from the salad bar. This was the thing that took a long time for me, with about 12 bowls of veggies laid out on display, even though most of them were pretty basic, I still found it quite hard to decide. I took a punt on some salads I might not usually pick, and sadly ended up regretting my decision. I still couldn’t tell you exactly what it was, but one of my sides was a cold Asian-style salad, featuring courgette, bean sprouts, mushrooms, pepper, and a bunch of other mysterious things (I’m sure they weren’t particularly mysterious, I just was unable to identify all the elements that were jumbled in together)! The sauce had a bit of a funky flavour that I couldn’t really get on with. The other salad was red cabbage, which you wouldn’t expect any surprises from, but I didn’t love the addition of apple in the pickle, and especially not the sultanas. Next time I’ll stick to the lettuce leaves and grated carrot, at least you know what you’re getting.

On to the tagine though which was the most important part of the meal, and that was really lovely. The sauce was mild and coconutty, and it kind of felt like a curry served with mounds of sticky rice. The vegetables were nicely cooked, flavours delicious, and for under a tenner it was a really substantial dish. It did feel like proper home-cooked food, nothing particularly refined, but super comforting, wholesome, and tasty.

Becky ordered the Black Bean Mole, which was served with sour cream and cheese for her, but could be made vegan on request. Unfortunately the avocado on the side looked like it had seen better days, with those little grey dots and lines running through it. If I were at home, I probably wouldn’t have thrown it away, but at the same time (and I really hope this doesn’t sound too awful) it’s not really the sort of quality food you expect to be served at a restaurant. Becky said the mole itself was really nice, though the ratio of sauce to rice wasn’t quite right so she didn’t finish all of the latter.

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I can’t not order cake if there’s a vegan one on offer, so to finish off the meal I picked up a square of pear crumble cake. It was actually a rather large slice and for Β£2.80 I thought it was a bargain. Next time I’m meeting someone for a cuppa in town I’d definitely suggest coming here to enjoy a slice of cake along with it. The cake was lightly spiced with cinnamon, soft, and moist but not soggy at all from the cooked fruit. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though I’d recommend not running for a bus directly after eating it unless you want to feel it sitting in your stomach for the rest of the day!

Overall, our experience at The Nosebag was decent, it’s nothing mind-blowing, but it’s good value comfort food in a relaxed setting. The food came out quickly, but we could’ve happily sat there chatting for hours, and I think this is a great place for students to hang out over good food, or even to bring the family for a casual and affordable meal. I hope to be back soon – I’ve got my eye on a tasty sounding vegan breakfast.

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