hypha (with a small h) is a plant based restaurant that opened around 12 months ago in Chester. It’s tucked away “on the walls” so you have to know it’s there as you ain’t going to stumble across it! It describes itself as: small plates/ cocktails/fermentation.
Three of us went there mid-week on a horrible, wet and windy night. May have been the weather but first impressions were that it was warm and welcoming. Staff were very friendly and attentive taking pains to explain the ethos of the restaurant and talk us through the menu. They explained that they are all about sustainability and low waste. A lot of things that would normally be thrown away such as lemon peel, fruit etc they use to make their drinks.
The drinks menu was certainly interesting with good selection of wine and beers as well as homemade soft drinks, fermentations such as kefir and kombucha and cocktails.
The food menu states that it is seasonal and is split into snacks, plates, extras and desserts. The waitress advised that usually 2 to 3 dishes per person was sufficient and you could eat individually or, as we chose to do, pick a selection of dishes to share.
And so to stop us all repeating ourselves 3 times this is what we had between us: pineapple jerky as a snack, followed by, mushroom patty, a crown prince squash salad, black sesame potato croquettes, celeriac and coriander hummus, a smoked poke salad and an extra of piccolo parsnips. Phew!
I’ve never had a fermented drink before so thought I’d try one. I ordered a Clementine & Cranberry Kefir. Not sure what to make of it – Jonathan and Cerys thought it was disgusting but the taste kind of grew on me. I think it tasted a bit like a “cream soda” if anyone can remember those from back in the day!
Food wise everything was beautifully presented and clever cooking. All except the mushroom patty. As much as it was very tasty and I would order it again, it wasn’t pretty in the way other dishes were nor was it very out of the ordinary from other veggie burgers I’ve eaten over the years. Not sure a burger kind of works as a sharing plate either. I would suggest you should order them individually and then share the other dishes.
The other dishes though were clever. The potato croquettes looked deceptively simple yet were delicious. The parsnips has an espresso glaze – yes that’s right – coffee – weird but it works. My favourite dish was the squash salad – I could happily have eaten just that. Perfectly cooked and served with an almond “ricotta”.
Being small plates means room for pudding. I am a sucker for cheesecake so when I saw kumquat cheesecake on the menu there was no other choice for me. And I had no intention of sharing it either!
In summary, I would give this place a thumbs up. Couple of caveats though: it isn’t the cheapest place I’ve been. Prices for the small plates range from around £6.50 to £9.00 and because you need to order more than one each the cost can mount up. Also, because the menu is limited and sharing plates we did try the majority of them so it might be a while before we feel the need to go back again. I hope they do change the menu frequently as would be lovely to make a return visit in a few months.
hypha is a really good restuarant! It had a really nice, friendly atmosphere. I had the lemon soda to drink (made from leftover lemons) and it tasted really good, nice and tangy and not too sweet. The food was amazing and I especially enjoyed the potato croquettes. They were so delicious! The only slightly bad thing was that the burger was counted as a small plate. It was actually quite big but not really something easy to share. However, the burger was really good!
For pudding, I had the chocolate cremeux. It was so chocolatey and tasty that I could have eaten another. I really enjoyed our meal out and I would love to go there again.
I have to confess that as a vegetarian I do occasionally get a bit worried going to vegan restaurants as I know there will be no cheese and everything will have a “I’m a really healthy person” focus. I don’t go out to eat healthily – we do that at home. I want to stuff my face, fairly literally, on delicious food that I can enjoy as a one-off.
I regularly run round the walls at Chester (or I did until some idiot developer decided to dig too close to them and they fell down recently), and have noticed the hypha restaurant sign numerous times. We had wondered what it was like and I have to say that it was imaginative, innovative cooking, apart from the mushroom pattie, which did not sit comfortably on their menu.
The pudding was a disappointment to me because the other two got to eat giant helpings of chocolate pudding and a cheesecake, whereas I made the mistake of thinking the gingerbread option was going to be substantial when it wasn’t – see the photo below. Still delicious though! As Clare said, this is not a cheap or low budget restaurant, but it was very nice food. We wanted to leave a tip, but unfortunately they don’t accept bank notes (vegan owners) and this did create a dilemna for us at the end of the meal!