Meat-Free Sunday Lunch at Potters Arms Cookhouse and Pub, Harlow Essex
There’s something special about Sundays. A lazy lie-in, reading the news whilst tucked up under the duvet, a cuppa with some breakfast, and the rest of the day ahead to do as much or as little as you want. For me, the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon is a stroll in the fresh air, then stopping off in a little pub somewhere for a meal I haven’t had to cook. Bliss!
A couple of weekends ago we were invited down to Potters Arms Cookhouse and Pub in Harlow, Essex, to try out some of their new vegan menu and see what they had to offer – I never say no to food, so we hopped in the car and drove over there ready to fill our boots.
Harlow is around a 45 minute drive from where we live and isn’t a part of Essex I’ve ever really ventured to – the North of the county remains a bit of an unexplored area for us, as it’s always been a fairly long way away, but now we’ve moved we’re that little bit nearer and we are planning to visit more towns and villages around this neck of the woods.
Upon arrival at Potters Arms we were taken through to our table. Inside there are a few different little sections, so although the pub is huge it still feels cosy and intimate. We were handed the menus and were seriously impressed – so much choice and a really good selection of options for vegetarians and vegans. Sometimes I find my choices as a non-meat-eater can be a bit limited, but that wasn’t the case here!
So, what did we go for?
For our starters I opted for the Soup Of The Day which on this particular day was leek, potato and mushroom, whilst Ben went for chicken wings with a special Brewdog Punk IPA BBQ sauce. The soup was delicious, creamy and thick (you’ve got to love a thick soup, haven’t you?) and a good size too, plenty to leave you feeling satisfied but not so much that you felt you would struggle with the next course. Ben really enjoyed the wings, devouring them in record time and said the sauce was delightfully sticky (although halfway through eating them he realised he had chosen a main meal with the same sauce on it – good job he liked it really!)
For the main meal I decided to try their new vegan Fake And Ale Pie whilst Ben went for an absolute meat-fest with chicken and half a rack of ribs glazed with the Brewdog BBQ sauce, served with a generous helping of skin-on chips, coleslaw and side salad, and a little side order of onion rings on the side. He pretty much demolished this, making appreciative noises throughout – the seal of approval from him, for sure!
Before I went veggie, steak and ale pie used to be my go-to meal of choice whenever I saw it on a menu, and it’s something I’ve definitely missed, so I had high hopes for this vegan version, hoping it would fill the gap in my life! So, did it live up to to my hopes?
It most certainly did! The vegan pie was a a delicious twist on an old meaty classic, with mushrooms and butternut squash in a rich vegan ale sauce, all served up with boiled potatoes, green veg and (unlimited!) vegan gravy. It was absolutely delicious, packed with filling, with the mushrooms giving it that depth of taste that you find in the meaty version. The gravy was a different taste to any I’ve tried before, had a slight orange tone to it and a slightly sweet taste that I couldn’t quite place, but was very nice nonetheless!
Despite both being absolutely stuffed full of tasty food, we decided to have a dessert in the interests of me being a good blogger (ahem)… nothing to do with us being greedy little gannets, honest!
The dessert section of the menu had plenty to choose from (including a vegan apple pie) but when I saw my favourite dessert of all time on there, there was really no decision that needed making. Sticky Toffee Pudding will always be my favourite way to finish a meal!
Look how thick that toffee sauce is!
Ben had a bit of a tougher time deciding what to go for, but in the end settled for Half Baked Cookie Dough served with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. Slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy in the middle, it’s a dessert that brings back memories of childhood baking at home; licking the spoon and waiting impatiently for your freshly cooked goodies to be ready.
A great little feature of the dessert menu is the option to order it to take home, so if you’re full up from your first two courses but fancy something a little sweet for later, they’ll box it up for you to take away. Such a great idea!
All in all we were really impressed with the Potters Arms. The staff were helpful and attentive without being overbearing, the atmosphere was homely and welcoming, and the wide choice of dishes on the menu was seriously impressive. Meat-free lifestyles are becoming ever more popular but it can still be difficult to find venues that give a good range of options for those of us that live a plant-powered life. However, that really isn’t a problem here!
Although this isn’t a local pub for us, we’ve both said we will definitely make the effort to go back there in the future, as it’s worth making the journey for another meal like this!
A huge thank you to the Potters Arms Cookhouse and Pub for having us, we will definitely be back!
We were very kindly given this meal free of charge in exchange for a review. All opinions remain 100% honest and my own.