Although the Southern Cross Bar and Restaurant has meaty stone grills and a roast dinner on Sundays and Wednesdays, their strength is the ever-increasing range of interesting vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan offerings (and the fabulous sun-drenched beer garden in summer).
On my most recent visit I had a Buddha Bowl of roasted spiced carrot and mint, wild rice and cranberry pilaf, toasted chickpeas (was a little wary about that component when ordering), spinach leaves, and a creamy almond dressing. It could have been up-scaled with Zany Zeus halloumi, chilli soy tofu, garlic chilli prawns or spiced chicken, but I decided I’d go for the basic and see what I thought.
It really was excellent. The almond sauce was a nice conductor, and the toasted chickpeas were deliciously textured and light (not the dry dusty journey I’d expected). After sampling all the components, I ended up combining the the dish into a delicious mixed salad. Satisfying and healthy, nice.
I noticed they have quite the cake cabinet too now (if you don’t eat your chickpeas, you can’t have pudding!), so its also an easy place to slide by for a coffee and cake. Especially on peaceful weekdays. With at least two vegan options available always.
The Cross is all about different nooks and crannies, casual and easy dining, and suitable for everyone from families to students to lunch-time workers dashing in and out, a weekend BBQ in the sunny courtyard, or a large event. And excellent for those with vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free requirements.
There’s easily another dozen things I’m eyeing up, including:
- the almond pina colada smoothie
- the almond porridge topped with caramelised bananas, walnuts and lightly toasted coconut
- the mushroom and halloumi Aro burger
- the halloumi stone grill with mediterranean vegetables, beetroot and sunflower seed dip, and roasted kumara
- the vegan cashew mac’n’cheese
- Spanish baked tofu
- butter and sage ricotta gnocchi
- Mediterranean lentils with grilled veggies, toasted pistachios and crispy tofu or marinated and baked feta
- I could go on and on…..
I also might or might not have checked out the salted caramel cheesecake on a previous occasion. Somewhere along the line I’ve lost the side picture which shows that this beauty stood about 2 inches high, but you’ll get the idea. Rich, moorish and very memorable. My advice – share with a friend.
And do have a look at their Wellington on a Plate offerings too, again interesting vegetarian and vegan.
7 days and nights.