Urban Meadows: Hotel Trickster

Normally I don’t frequent restaurants-attached-to-hotels, but this one caught me unawares. It didn’t really look like a hotel-restaurant with its design, outdoor seating and no indication in its name (usually these type of restaurants would say “Hard Rock @ The Four Seasons) or something.

Ambiance: 4 carrots Near Confection Perfection

Urban Meadows looked like your run-of-the-mill modern-chic Anthropologie-esque sustainably sourced café. I liked that it had a feeling of spaciousness. It’s not like NY cafés that squeeze as many tables together as they can get away with to accommodate the maximum number of customers.

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Nothing about this sign makes me think “this is connected to a hotel.” But IT IS THO

The décor was modern with a splash of citrine color. The wooden side booths had linen cushions for much appreciated bum-comfort (dare I coin the term “bumfort?”). I felt that space was chic, comfortable and airy.

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My kind of decor: fresh, bright and minimal. Everyone was sitting outside though to enjoy the awesome summer weather.
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The outdoor seating wasn’t too shabby either!

Service: carrot-rating-2-5

Granted, it was our waitress’ first day on the job, but it took an inordinate amount of time to get our food: 35 minutes, to be exact. That’s unacceptable. Perhaps it’s because tip/service fees are baked in, but if that makes servers complacent, I’m not a fan.

Broccoli + String Beans

Simplicity is key for UM diners — their food isn’t covered with sauces, spices or extra flavorings. I liked that the standout star in all of their food were the vegetables, lightly cooked to leave a bit of a satisfying crunch when you bite into them. The green beans were especially tasty and crisp, while the broccoli was garnished with plenty of chopped garlic and red jalapeño chilies.

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Veggies with nothing but olive oil, heat and fresh garnishes.

Orange Juice: 

If a menu says “fresh orange juice” on it, I expect it to actually be freshly squeezed (crazy, right?). It was not. Since I was sympathetic to my waitress’ first day, I didn’t say anything, but it is most definitely NOT freshly squeezed here.

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I want my OJ to be fresh if it says it’s fresh, damnit!

Lemonade: 

At least their lemonade tasted real! It was the same price as the “fresh” OJ, so if you actually want a beverage made from fresh fruit, get this one!

Cherry Tomato, Sugar Snap Pea & Courgette Penne:

Unsurprisingly, places that don’t specialize in vegan food don’t really have superbly-tasty vegan dishes. Urban Meadows was decent in that their veggie selections tasted fresh + healthy, if not a bit basic. It kind of just tasted like an antipasti with pasta thrown in. While it certainly didn’t taste bad, it was it was far too boring to warrant ordering it again (at least the next time I’m in England).

Sidenote: Courgette is the way English folk say “zucchini” and “rocket” is their way of saying “salad greens.” Go figure!

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I love when the cherry tomatoes are cooked and explode on your tongue (please no dirty thoughts here #iknowwhatyourethinking)!

Egg-Free Linguine: Fair, but really, can't you do better? three carrots

This was the only “true” vegan menu item and I actually found it to be less tasty than the penne (which is vegetarian/can be made vegan). The tomato sauce overpowered the whole dish, so I could barely taste the veggies included in the pasta!

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The greens on top are called “rocket,” because Brits be funny like dat.

One-line rhymary: Fresh food FTW, if you manage to get your order in.

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