Eating out in Stratford-upon-Avon can be hard on the nerves. You either get over-priced fast food places with Bard-related names (I wonder if the Titus Andronicus spare rib joint would catch on …), soulless pubs with faux beams, or over-priced restaurants with ideas way above the chef’s talents. And you often end up bolting your food so you don’t miss curtain up.
So Loxley’s in Sheep Street is one to remember for the future. It’s close enough to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s HQ to cater for the theatre-goers – and that’s about the first question the friendly staff ask you, mindful of kick-off times.
Don’t expect a vegetarian extravaganza, though – and we’ve got yet another kitchen that thinks Parmesan is veggie. It’s not an absolute deal-breaker for one half of your blog team (who is usually, ironically, ultra-fussy on small print). The other half of the team asked for the dish in question to be served without it, which was done without drama or raised eyebrows.
Loxley’s isn’t especially cheap (main courses come in at about late teens and early 20s), but the pre-theatre set menu (£13.95 for two courses and £16.95 for three) turned out to be decent value.
The single veggie main course was that restaurant stalwart – Mediterranean vegetable risotto. At least there wasn’t a squash or sun-dried tomato in sight. It came buried under a herb patch of rocket and, although a touch on the bland side, certainly wasn’t terrible. Some better stock would have elevated it no end. By the look of the main menu, the Mediterranean vegetables appear in a supporting role with polenta.
If you’re not rushing off for culture, Loxley’s would be a reasonable place for a pleasant night out, with its relaxed décor, nooks and crannies where you can plan to take over the universe, and good-humoured young waiting staff who chat happily to you. The main menu offers a couple of vegetarian options (and yes, of course Parmesan appears again), along with an enticing-sounding antipasta board to share (ooh look, sun-dried tomatoes!)
Loxley’s isn’t a world-shattering find for vegetarians, but it’s pleasant, friendly and convenient – and not everywhere in Stratford can say that.