I do respect The Rusty Bicycle for not taking the easy route. They have a menu full of solid winners (I would be fairly happy to live on their Truffle Funghi pizza) and yet they are still doing inventive stuff, seasonal offerings, monthly specials, and generally keeping things interesting. Despite the fact that they already have a pretty good selection of vegetarian and vegan options on their standard menu, they have still done it up right for Veganuary and a delicious evening was had there by my group of three, which contained (for balance…) one vegan, one vegetarian and one omnivore.
The Rusty is no stranger to the pages of this website so I won’t go into a general review here. mostly because you’re probably all sick on me banging on about how much I love the place.
No, we’re here for Veganuary.
The Lebanese pizza (£10) was the most divisive dish of the night, with two of us loving it and the third on the fence. It is topped, intriguingly, with za’atar, sweet potato, date, pomegranate molasses, tahini dressing and coriander, and our detractor found the sweet and sour elements of the date and the pomegranate molasses a bit too unusual for a pizza topping, but I personally thought everything was well-balanced and it was great to have a pizza unlike any I have tried before.
Viva La Vegan (£9.50), on the other hand, is more straightforward. Crushed tomato, oregano, roast sweet peppers, roast mushrooms, pesto and rocket are really solid pizza topping choices for a reason. Everything worked well together and we all really loved this pizza, with our genuine vegan guarding it jealously from our greedy fingers.
Our one regret of the night was getting only one of The Jacked (£10.50) to share. Jackfruit burgers are nothing new on the vegan scene, but we all agreed that this was the best example of one we’d ever tasted. Smoky pulled jackfruit, pickled red cabbage, slaw, vegan burger mayo, lettuce, BBQ sauce and a linseed bun combine to make something meaty, satisfying, and utterly delicious. This is a burger that will be enjoyed by all, vegan to carnivore and everything in-between.
In summary: The Rusty smashes it out of the park once again. If you’re doing Veganuary and need something motivational to get you over that finish line, off you go to Magdalen Road for a vegan feast of dreams. You’ve got eleven days left: think how many jackfruit burgers you could cram into that time if you really commit.