Review: Loungers

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I was introduced to this chain by a friend very recently, and despite having never heard of them before, discovered that they have dozens of bar/restaurant establishments round the country. In the handful of weeks since discovering their existence, I’ve visited them in three different locations, and which hopefully indicates that the experience they provide is good wherever you go.

I’d probably compare Loungers to an upmarket Wetherspoons, but I don’t mean that as a bad thing. It is a casual dining, take your table number and order at the bar type affair, but equally the food is consistently good quality, reasonably priced, and brought out quickly with good service. They have a separate vegan menu which is placed on the table alongside the regular menu – no need to worry about having to sheepishly ask to see the allergen menu here. The vegan tapas options are slightly limited but decent enough value, and the other choices are plentiful, so I don’t think many could be disappointed. There is even a vegan option on their ‘specials board’ (which I must admit, I don’t think they rotate that often, as it was the same three dishes all the times I’ve been).

IMG_4636On my most recent visit this weekend with family, I decided to order the courgette, pea, and edamame bean risotto from the specials menu. I was expecting it to be a smaller sized dish as it was about two-thirds of the price of everything else on the menu, but when it came out, it was huge! Perhaps I’ve found one of the few places who actually set their prices according to what the meal costs to make. As it was so cheap, I ordered a side of sweet potato fries, which were perfectly crispy and moreish. The risotto was deliciously creamy, and seasoned well. The rocket added a freshness and the peppers were still a little crunchy, which gave a nice texture to the dish. They were generous with the amount of veggies, unlike many places where you find yourself served up a stodgy bowl of 95% rice. There is nothing super fancy about it, but this comforting meal was actually even better than I expected, and it’s one of the few times I haven’t regretted ordering a burger when I had the option!

IMG_4629My sister ordered the butternut squash curry, which I’d tried before and thought it was really tasty, but we both agreed that sadly they haven’t got the ratio of sauce and rice right. It’s a big bowl of food but with a large portion of bread on the side as well, the dish could really do with a lot more sauce. It’s a very mild, sweet curry, so if you prefer something spicy this dish might not be for you, but it’s certainly something I’d quite like to try and replicate at home. I would definitely recommend trying the vegan falafel burger here too. It’s massive and took me a long time to eat (usually unheard of) and every mouthful was enjoyable. It’s served with the thin and crispy kind of fries that I love, and a house slaw – which is nice, but packed with onion, just as a heads up…

IMG_3901Vegans have a choice between two cakes for dessert, a fruity flapjack, or a dark chocolate and ginger torte here. I have yet to try the flapjack, but the torte is something pretty special, certainly the best vegan dessert I’ve tried out at a chain restaurant. It’s rich and creamy and very indulgent, with the flavours being spot on. I only wish other places would cotton on to how fab vegan desserts can be and start replacing the sorbet currently wasting space on their menus.

With lots of crowd-pleasing options for omnis and vegetarians too, this is a good one for keeping everyone in your party happy. Como Lounge is in Witney, so would be a nice place to recommend if you’re a student and your family are coming to visit, or if you have access to a car (although, it’s not at all tricky to get there by bus from Oxford city centre either). There are other branches all round the country though (I’ve visited in Northampton, Rugby, and Bury St Edmunds), so even if you’re not Oxfordshire based, I’d suggest checking out their website as there could well be one near you.

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