Upon entering the restaurant you are greeted by the cosy ambience, the lighting was low and the colour palette is rich and warm creating a relaxed atmosphere. The ground floor has a variety of seating arrangements making it as easy to hang out on the sofa and have a coffee as well as have an evening meal at one of the dining tables.
The reason I was so delighted to eat at this restaurant is because of the amount of vegetarian and vegan choices on their menu. In most establishments you will be lucky if there is one vegetarian option and it's usually an onion and goat's cheese tart!
I was so impressed with the menu on offer at Bake n Grape I asked Chris Windram, one of the proprietors of the restaurant why they have such a wide selection of veggie and vegan food.
ML: What was the driving force behind the well rounded menu you feature, why was it important to not only include vegetarian dishes but also vegan options?
CW: Whilst neither I nor my co-founder Martin are vegans or vegetarians, we do know a lot of people who are. We appreciate how difficult it can be to find vegan/vegetarian food, and that there is only so much packet-originated nut-roast one human being can eat! The same extended to coeliacs or those with other gluten intolerances.
Having been open for a few months now, and having found our footing, we have been able to evolve our menu to start to encompass the breadth of offerings that we always planned. This is largely achievable by us cooking all of our dishes fresh (and thus we can tweak/add/substitute/remove ingredients), and to the skills of our hard-working chefs.
ML: Where did the inspiration come from for the beautiful décor for the restaurant and bar area?
CW: We wanted to create somewhere that we would want to go if we were customers. We wanted somewhere warm and inviting. Many restaurants tend to be quite masculine, and we were looking for our décor to strike-a-balance. We were lucky to find this lovely building, and have a great landlord. He allowed us to follow our vision and to change the building to what it is now. Once we start getting some summer sun, the courtyard should also come into its own. We will start using our outside bar, and it should be a lovely area for people to enjoy a drink and/or some food.
ML: Do you have any new and exciting menu changes coming up in 2016?
CW: We have just taken on a new head chef, who will continue the high standards set by the previous and evolve them further. I am certain that we will be offering a number of new dishes that will be a little different from the norm, and continuing to cover the bases of many diets.
ML: What hopes do you have for the business for the coming year?
CW: Relatively speaking we are still a new business. Most of our customers are very complimentary of our offering, and we have a good number of regulars. As a business owner it is, of course, my hope that more people come to learn of us, and discover that we make a great destination for weekday dining and not just for weekends.
I really commend Bake 'n' Grape for their wonderful menu, I hope they are leading the way for other Chelmsford restaurants to start broadening their menu to include more vegan options to keep up with the demand for this cruelty free way of eating.
Bake 'n' Grape
12 Baddow Road