Review: ACU vegan restaurant in Utrecht

Last night we went out to dinner. We had a meeting to attend about off-shore wind turbines. It was in Utrecht (The Netherlands), which is an hour’s train ride away. We were each coming from different places, so took different trains and met at the station. We chose the ACU because it had good reviews for tasty meals, though, not a fancy restaurant. The meals were more like home-cooked and served simply. It was our first all vegan restaurant (they are hard to find here). The ACU is a politico-cultural venue located on the Voorstraat in the center of Utrecht and operates independently of (municipal) authorities, is non-profit and is run by volunteers. They serve vegan food on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 6 – 8:30 pm.

In front of the ACU Inside of the ACU Inside of the ACU

The menu offers 4 appetizers and 6 main courses plus a menu of the day. We were both very hungry, so ordered appetizers next to the main meal. Harald ordered a very tasty baked bean and herb filled spring roll. It was served with a generous salad and miso dressing, He said it was delicious (it disappeared quickly). My appetizer was the hit of the day. Brussels sprouts in a caramel sauce with walnuts. Just the name was so intriguing I had to give it a try, and wow was it nice. The caramel sauce was not too sweet, not like what you would pour over ice cream, it was just mildly sweet which allowed for the walnut flavor to really shine through. It was amazing and I am looking forward to trying to recreate this, so we can share the recipe with all of you.

Baked bean spring roll Brussels sprouts Eggplant lasagna

We both ordered the “Plate of the day” which was Eggplant lasagna. It was delicious. They were spinach lasagnas, filled on the bottom with a layer of a t.v.p. mixture, then another lasagna sheet, then the eggplant topped with a tomato sauce and home made vegan cheese. It was a very generous amount and a hearty filling meal. It would be a meal to serve when omnis come for diner. I will also be working on a recreation of this to share with everyone. The lasagna was accompanied with 2 heaping spoonfuls of a traditional Dutch dish which mixed beets and potatoes together. We found this to be a rather strange paring to go with the lasagna. It was good, but both of those vegetables are rather bland and not so flavorful compared with the lasagna. Beets and potatoes are a good combination together, and make for a lovely color, but they need something to pep them up. I’m looking forward to working on the recipe, as I think rosemary would be just the lady to bring in some pep. It was nice to go out for diner and get inspired by new things to make and recreate.

The restaurant had a nice atmosphere, the service was good and the prices were considerably low. We paid EUR 29 for both of us including drinks.