19 Dickinson Quay, Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
www.woodyscafe.co.uk - 01442 266 280
Woody's Cafe Hemel Hempstead Reviews
Wholesome vegetarian cafe with a beautiful canal-side setting Jul 30, 2011
Overlooking the Grand Union Canal at Apsley, Hemel Hempstead is a little gem of a place that you shouldn't miss if you're passing by - Woody's Vegetarian Cafe.
It's not only the food that's special, fresh, organic and certainly meat-free. All the staff are special too. The waitresses (occasionally waiters too!), are mostly artists, sculptors, dancers or other creative folk, moonlighting from their main vocations. Clearly, they love the restaurant as much as the patrons, because year in and out, the same smiling staff will greet you.
That's a good sign. In my experience, as a seasoned traveller, when the staff are happy at a restaurant, then the customers are too. You can walk into this establishment and know immediately that there is something right, from the solid wood tables and chairs, to the lovely view across the canal, to the blackboard with the hand-chalked list of the day's mouth-watering and creative specials (here you'll find home-made soups with inventive ingredients far beyond the imagination of Heinz.)
For me, though, I don't have to walk far to find this canal-side haven. It's just around the corner from where I live (or more precisely, a little walk along the canal and then over the quaint white bridge).
The other year I had my Christmas dinner party there for friends. Spiced red lentil and coconut soup for starters. Followed by luxury nut and seed roast, with cranberry, apple and brandy sauce, accompanied with rosemary and garlic roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Finished off with delicious cranberry cheesecake. Who could ask for more?
Well, if you really do need to ask for more (i.e. meat), you can always go next door, to Calzone, another lovely canal-side restaurant, about which I'll add a separate review soon.
The Grand Union canal stretches 220km from London to Birmingham, and however you reach it, by narrow boat, walking boots or bicycle (the canal-side towpath is simply perfect for walking or cycling), or decide to go by car or train or bus, do pop by Woody's vegetarian cafe.
And let me know you're going. We could meet there for a coffee and cake or even a nettle and coconut soup - mixed with the rustic ambience and the creative, smiling staff, it's bound to invoke a discussion on art, or sculpture, or Mozart or how, actually, we didn't miss meat at all. :)
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!