Friday, 16 September 2016

Excalibur Cafe Glastonbury

Now if there is anything you could say about the town of Glastonbury it is that you are guaranteed to find good wholesome vegan food, while away many happy hours hunting for good books, and enjoy interesting and random conversations here and there.  All of these things we enjoy and hence why we try and visit a few times a year.  We've become quite familiar with the shops and eateries along the high street and so on a recent visit we were surprised to see a new cafe had arrived in town since our last visit.

The clean and crisp frontage of Excalibur Cafe, along with what appeared to be quite a minimalist interior (from peering through the window) actually had us confused at first.  It had quite an air of  'up market' about it which sat a little 'off centre' to the down to earth wholesomeness of the Glastonbury we were more used to.  The minimalist menu on display in the window, at first glance, also had us wondering whether this was one of those establishments that you'd leave with a still empty tummy but with a lighter wallet.  We were slightly suspicious.  However, this was Glastonbury and the sign outside used words like natural, organic, wildcrafted and buffet.  It also called itself a cafe instead of a restaurant. That was a good sign for us down to earth foodies.  We were definitely curious and so we stepped inside.  We are very glad we did.

Rather than stuffy poshness, the interior was instantly light, airy, vibrant, and relaxing, and the staff happy and welcoming. I was inwardly feeling embarrassed about my clear preconception of Excalibur but the proof would be in the eating.  The Pendragon Burger caught our attention and upon checking whether it was all vegan, we were told that it was all vegan and, with a mischievous glint in her eye, the lady followed that by telling us that it did however contain dragons!  There was also a self service buffet on offer which was sold by weight (£2.00 per 100g).  We might have just stuck with the burger, but when we took a look at the buffet some weird magic happened whereby we couldn't resist, and subconsciously served ourselves a plateful of tasty morsels to share and try.  

The drinks took a while to peruse and choose, such were the interesting and tasty choices. In the end Phil opted for the Pine Power Smoothie; described as a creamy, energy boosting smoothie with fresh almond milk, coconut meat, dates, lucuma, pine pollen, maca, vanilla and sea salt. I meant to opt for the Love Potion Hot Chocolate which included ashwagandha, cacao, chaga, cinnamon, maca, mesquite, pine pollen, vanilla and cayenne pepper, but I think I was so in awe of the choices I somehow just ordered the less intensely interesting hot chocolate on offer.  This was still very satisfying but I did end up staring more lovingly at Phil's Pine Power Smoothie with a tinge of envy.  I had been allowed a sample and just enough to realise I would definitely order the smoothie next time!  

The service was very quick and we hadn't managed to polish off much of our sample buffet and drinks before the burgers arrived.  As it was placed in front of us any notion that this was a 'minimalist food' establishment exploded.  It was not only a thing of beauty but it was 'love at first bite'.  The Pendragon Burger involved mushrooms, activated walnuts, raw olives, dulse and sun-dried tomatoes, served on a homemade sourdough ciabatta bun.  The burger itself was intensely flavoured; a real 'wow' moment.  The sourdough bun surrounding it was really good too and an ideal additional accompaniment to the plateful of lovely buffet items we had indulged in, such as the 'Creamy Cheese' dip.  The size of the bun was extremely generous and had it not been for the additional buffet dips we may have struggled to have balanced that against the size of the wonderful burger.  There was a raw version of the Pendragon Burger on offer too which was served on homemade raw crackers.  I might try that next time.  At the end of the meal we were well and truly satisfied. Ironically, in a 'grass is always greener' moment we wished we'd had more space to sample the desserts on offer.  So much for worrying about it being a minimalist menu!  

So if you are in Glastonbury, do look out for Excalibur.  It certainly offers something a little bit different from the norm.  The menu identifies vegan, vegetarian, raw, gluten free, nut free and even Sattvic options.  All alcohol is also labelled as 100% organic and vegan (although we noted that Pennards Organic Mead was included on the menu so honey avoiding vegans should avoid this; aka actual vegans!).

The General Manager and Executive Chef, Sarmado Sibley, sounds like quite a dude too. Not only has he trained in Michelin starred kitchens and worked with some of Europe's top chefs, but he has also founded an innovative holistic food company in London and is a renowned raw food coach.  However, there is much more to Excalibur beyond the food. They have also installed a full spectrum EMF defence system in the cafe, all their water passes through a state of the art filtration and energising system and even the cafe ceiling is coated with a special paint that neutralises pollutants in the air.  We can hear the laughter now from some of you but when we became vegan 30 years ago we heard the same laughter, so it might be time to open up to fact that there are multiple factors in the modern day world that may affect our health.  It really is up to you but it is good to know that some establishments are thinking about the 'wider picture' for their customers just in case.  50 years ahead of time is better than not at all, and perhaps our open appreciation of such issues will mean that we can look back with gratitude on their efforts.

For further information on Excalibur, including their menu, please do check out their website or their Facebook page for social media updates.

  • Excalibur Glastonbury Ltd
  • 22 High Street
  • Glastonbury, Somerset
  • BA6 9DU, United Kingdom
  • +44 1458 258301

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