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