Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vittoriosa, Malta: TATE

 

Now I happen to know, from reading other vegan blogs out there, that vegans have a tendency to get very excited when they discover there is a vegan friendly restaurant in an area they are planning on visiting. In fact, if they are anything like me, they will actively seek such treasures out. It’s my vay-dar.

So, imagine my excitement when I discovered that on veggie-unfriendly Malta, there lies an all vegetarian restaurant! Happier than a kid at Christmas.

I wanted to find some information out on this place before I went, find out how well it caters for vegans, what the menu is like, is it expensive? Alas, this just wasn’t my lucky day as I couldn’t find it anywhere. I had to wait until I took the risk myself and tried it out, and then I vowed that I would review it in the hope that anyone else looking for such information, could find it available to them.


The restaurant I am talking about is TATE. It is marketed as a café/bar and is situated in the old town of Vittoriosa, right on the waterfront. Easy to find, and a lovely location, especially if you go for an evening meal where you can sit outside with the marina and yachts all lit up in the dark. Inside is pretty special too, sleek and modern with a sumptuous lounge area upstairs – perfect for drinks with friends. You wouldn’t know it was vegetarian from looking though, perhaps they are trying to capture those tourists who might shy away from a vegetarian advertisement, get bums on seats before any presumptions can be made?


When we arrived, we checked with the waiter, “You are still all vegetarian aren’t you?” “Why, of course,” he replied, like it was so obvious. “Oh good, that’s why we’ve come!” “Yes, I know that’s why you’ve come.” Ha.

Said waiter was very friendly and helpful, but I can’t say the same for the other members of staff who I encountered before him. One young waitress didn’t seem to know what vegan was, and the girl behind the bar was rather abrupt and told me, “Yes, we get lots of vegans here, they usually go for the stirfry so you can have that.” I had rung up in advance to check out their vegan credentials, hell, I’d even emailed them from England before I even arrived on Maltese soil and I had been reassured that yes, they did indeed cater for vegans.

Still, I was here now, and they were going to cater for me (without a stirfry in sight!) So I called upon my friendly waiter and I got him to go check a few things out with the chef regarding ingredients, and we decided I could have a Mexican tortilla wrap with refried beans, chips and a side salad. I chose guacamole to replace the cheese.


The selection of drinks they offer is pretty standard, I opted for black coffee, but they do have a cocktail list although it seemed quite overpriced to me at about €6 each. Having lived in Malta for several weeks by this point, I had come to the realisation that if you’re on a budget, the eating out options are pretty repetitive. Everywhere offers the same stuff on their menu, there is very little resembling vegetarian food anywhere and very little variety in terms of meal choices, meals don’t ever seem to come with decent healthy accompaniments. Even finding something as simple as a jacket potato is a feat in itself.

It therefore made such a nice change, not just to biased old me, but to the other members of my group (2 of whom were vegetarian and 3 of whom were not vegetarian,) to have the massive selection that TATE offered us. The sun had set behind us before we’d made up our minds what to order, it was such a treat!

So, to run you through what TATE offers:

Breakfast Menu:
Yoghurt and cereal, croissants and your usual English breakfast options. All coming in at €8-9, I’d say it was a little expensive for the first meal of the day!

Nibbles:
These are light snacks or starters including options such as soup of the day, samosas, spring rolls (TATE is big on food selections from across the globe clearly,) bruschetta, tempura, garlic breads and wedges. €5-8 euros a piece.

Mains:
Here you can choose from an extensive salad selection at €9-11, including such delights as a Moroccan falafel option which I happen to know comes with huge falafel burgers, not just little falafel balls! Pasta dishes are about the same price but when you can eat pasta anywhere and everywhere in Malta, I don’t know why you’d choose it here! Tortilla wraps like mine are priced at €10, but the portions are huge and come with chips and salad so I reckoned it was a pretty good deal. You can pay €7-10 for a filled jacket potato, but again, this seemed a little overpriced to me. There is a large choice of sandwich fillings and various breads but these are only available until 6pm, would make a nice lunch option though. Of course, the ubiquitous pizza options are also found here for €7-9.

Platters:
For the princely sum of €12 you can indulge in a TATE platter with a theme to your taste. Maltese, Indian, Chinese, Lebanese, Greek, American, French, Japanese and Mexican are all on offer. If you can’t find something here to suit your fancy, well, I don’t know what to say….. that’s going beyond picky! There is also an all nut platter and a cheeseboard, but at €14 and €28 respectively, I question who orders these?!? Answers on the back of a postcard please.

Desserts:
For between €5-7 you can treat yourself to one of the most decadent, decent looking desserts found anywhere on Malta. This is practically a fact, because I happened to spend a month with someone on a cake mission to find some halfway edible cake in Malta and this was the only place she approved of! (Perhaps if you are lucky enough to be frequenting hotel restaurants and the like, you will have more luck than we did, but if like us, you aren’t, this is the place for you!)

The food was delicious, and the portion sizes were huge, they were happy for us to take-away and provided us with boxes! We also got given complimentary nibbles before our meal which helped with the fact that the food took quite some time to be delivered to our table. Then and again, if they are cooking it all from fresh, which it certainly tasted as if they were, then I personally don’t mind waiting for this.

So my advice to anyone looking to visit this restaurant would be, without a doubt, to give it a go. The location is beautiful, the food is tasty and fresh, everyone should find something they like on the menu and let’s face it, so long as you don’t order the cheese platter, it isn’t going to break the bank!

6 comments:

  1. I'm travelling to Malta soon. I know it was a while ago that you were there, but can you remember any other good places to eat for vegans?

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  2. I'm afraid not - this was the only vaguely vegan place I could find. I was self catering so didn't have a huge need for eating out but there are a lot of pasta options in most places. I do remember having a very good, but very very spicy plate of pasta in a tomato and chilli sauce. Other than that.... don't think it's such a vegan friendly place. Have a lovely time though, it's a wonderful country!

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  3. Hi there, I just wanted to say that I did enjoy Malta a lot. I also had a pretty easy time eating vegan, so in case it's of help, or you or anyone reading this is interested, I made a few notes on where to eat in Malta: http://hillesque.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/vegan-eating-in-malta.html

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip and found it easy to eat, and thanks for your blog post... although it didn't sound like Tate was much good for you. This also reminded me that I totally forgot the best vegan place to eat. In St Julian's they have a Wagamama!!!!

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    2. I didn't see that one. I'm sure I'd have found it if I hadn't got a stomach bug halfway through the holiday and lost interest in eating...

      Tate would have been better if I'd had someone to go with, but I visited Vittoriosa on my own, and eating alone is never very fun (may have been the first time I've ever gone to a restaurant alone). The service was a bit weird, but maybe the waitress was just having a bad day. The food itself was fine and that's the important thing.

      That was probably my best day in Malta - it was my first day sightseeing alone and I managed to fit in loads of things I wanted to see - I wandered around Hastings Gardens just as Valletta was waking up, went to the archeology musuem, saw the noonday cannon get fired, visited Casa Rocca Piccola and still had time to go to Vittoriosa, take in the (in parts) amazing Malta at War museum and underground bunkers and find a vegetarian café. Some of it was a bit intimidating because I was alone, but then some of it was even more interesting/exciting because I was alone.

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  4. Angka Cafe - Millenia Building, Triq Aldo Moro, Marsa

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