I have wandered around York Minster a couple of times, and yet it never crossed my mind to visit the Goji Vegetarian Cafe. Maybe it is my non-vegeterian nature that stopped me. Well, yesterday I had no choice, but to visit it.
After a very stressful day, and despite the fact that a medium rare steak would definitely lift my spirits, I took with me my friend Alex (who also needs meat to survive) and I found myself at the doorstep of the Goji Vegetarian Cafe.
I was not in a good mood and the dull colours of the entrance made me a bit more depressed. But the blonde hostess that showed us to our table and brought us the menu was smiling all the time, and smiling is contagious. I decided to give it a fair chance; in a couple of minutes I would have fresh food in my stomach. I had no excuse for being unsatisfied and grumpy.
The menu was not very diverse: three starters and three main dishes and four desserts. We started with the crispy wonton baskets filled with aduki beans, spinach, courgettes and peppers. The presentation of the dish was so striking that we stared at it for three minutes wondering whether we should touch it or not. But I was too hungry, so I ignored Alex, who was fascinated by the creamy tamari dressing and I attacked the wonton. The vegetables were refreshing, especially the courgettes and the wonton was deliciously crunchy and left a very spicy aftertaste. If you tried the same combination, but with a piece of pineapple this time, the effect was completely different. The first taste was the coolness, the smoothness and the neutrality of the courgette, then came the spiciness and at the end the sweet and sour taste of the pineapple. Simply to say, that we needed five minutes to make the food disappear.
Our main dishes were still perfected under the hands of the chefs, so that gave us plenty of time to talk, for Alex to check his phone and for me to observe the people and the place, not because of habit, but for the sake of food journalism. The cafe was like a house, two rooms downstairs, one on the second floor and the toilets and the kitchen on the third. It was a very traditional English house, from the ones that make you think that you have been in a time machine and transported in the past, but with a touch of a french cafe taste. The wooden floor, tables and red chairs, the fresh yellow roses and the soft, light coloured nature paintings made the atmosphere cozy and friendly. What was interesting was that this homely atmosphere was at the same time very romantic if you found yourself sitting across your amour.
And hallelujah the main dishes arrived, after forty five minutes of wait the main, that was made sufferable, not only because Alex was with me, but also because the waiter came multiple times to check that everything was okay. When the aubergine baked with pesto and served with tomato sauce and goat cheese landed in front of me, I forgot the wait, I forgot what Alex was saying, I forgot my name. I was completely focused on the saltiness and creaminess of the goat cheese that completed the aubergine perfectly. My tongue could feel the fruits of the wine of the tomato sauce and my cheeks that had turned red could feel the spices. So, once again I had to turn to my glass of white wine to cool down. My only destruction during this experience, was Alex’ curry of butternut and sweet potato, untouched, at the other corner of the table that at the end made me indulge in a food orgy.
I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks there is a separate place in our stomach for dessert, but after this food marathon, I started to reconsider, so we decided to ask for the bill, which arrived with the company of two vegan marshmallows.
While departing we met the chief of staff, who was also very friendly and polite and informed us that on the 21st of November they will be having a Greek night, which you will regret missing. The Goji experience was unique, the staff very helpful and polite. The food was orgasmic or as Alex would say, not the food ‘the vegetables’. It made me finally realise that vegetarian people are not so boring and they do not eat just salads. Now I can despise them less and feel no guilt when I let myself once in a while to be a vegetarian for a day.