Whether you like falafels or not, Cargo Lounge is a ‘must’

If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan and you want to go out with friends for a meal, but you know they don’t share your love of falafels, you really must take them to the Cargo Lounge in Dunyeats Road, Broadstone.

This intimate restaurant/coffee lounge, run by Lynette Conway and William Gardiner, provides generously for those who love meat as well as vegans and vegetarians and food is prepared fresh, using locally sourced ingredients where possible.

Crispy chicken burger
Crispy chicken burger

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Louis and I popped in for lunch and as I generally eat vegetarian food, I couldn’t wait to get there. There’s a decent outside space with tables and chairs for those sunny days and inside, the restaurant has a warm, rustic feel to it with wooden tables, and even a leather sofa and chairs.

FAB MENU

A thirst-quenching cranberry juice and warming cappuccino got us settled before the menu beckoned. As well as main meals, Cargo Lounge offers a variety of breakfast and brunch options including baguettes, wraps, sandwiches and even home-made baked beans on thick rustic toast, my absolute favourite – but I couldn’t review baked beans – could I! Instead I chose the bolognese with soya protein and vegan linguine served with Cargo garlic bread and Louis plumped for a crispy chicken burger with tomato relish in brioche bun.

BACKGROUND TO CARGO LOUNGE

Robert took our order, and whilst waiting for the food, we chatted to Lynette.

She and Will met 11 months ago in Christchurch. Their whirlwind romance led to a complete change in the direction of their lives. Will, who loves cooking, was a catering maintenance engineer with 20 years in the trade and Lynette worked in a department store in New Milton where she’d been for 10 years.

“We had an idea in April that we’d like to open a restaurant,” said Lynette. “Will heard that Caesar’s Bistro in Broadstone was up for sale and just four months later, on 27 August, we opened the doors to Cargo Lounge.”

It was fast work, considering they had to refurbish the premises. Lynette runs front of house and Will loves every moment preparing food in the kitchen. The first few letters of the couple’s surnames combine to make ‘Cargo’.

MAINS AND DESSERT

Our meals arrived and we tucked into generous portions. Louis’ chicken breast was cooked perfectly and thoroughly enjoyed and my linguine was generously stacked with a tomato ragu. Parmesan was served as well as the garlic bread. The vegan linguine was a new experience and had a wonderful silky texture, which paired well with the sauce.

For dessert we shared Will’s home made carrot cake. It was rich and full of flavour, incredibly moist with just the right amount of soft creamy icing and included the lovely crunch of walnuts – unsurpassable.

Soya protein bolognese
Soya protein bolognese

ALLERGEN CARDS

Will and Lynette take food seriously and want to give their customers the best possible experience. They have even produced allergen cards for everything on the set menu, which is reassuring for those requiring this information. I haven’t come across this thoughtful service before in a restaurant.

SAME STAFF

Those who frequented Caesar’s Bistro will recognise the staff, including the head chef.

CHALKBOARD

There is a chalkboard with additional choices which change every three to four days. While we were there a Jamaican curry, rice and peas, and vegan meringue with kiwi, blueberry and yoghurt were two options.

LICENSED BAR AND A CHOICE OF COFFEES

A variety of wines and spirits, plus a wide range of coffees is available.

CONFESSION

I have a confession to make. During our meal, I let it slip that I would have loved those home-made beans on toast. Not wanting to disappoint, Will gave me a container of them to take home! He also insisted that I try his vegan meringue (no eggs) and there was no way of telling that it didn’t have egg white in it. I was impressed and, as for the baked beans, I ate those for lunch the following day and they were scrummy.

Will and Lynette from the Cargo Lounge

RECOMMENDED

Cargo Lounge is well worth a visit and I will be returning to savour more vegetarian dishes.

ADDITIONAL OPENING TIMES

From this month, the restaurant will be open in the evenings on Friday and Saturday as well as
the normal daytime opening (see advertisement).

TO BOOK CALL 01202 694343.

Review by Janine Pulford, mags4dorset

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