Trying Vegetarian Street Food with The Waiting Room at Orange Pip Kitchen*

If you've read my last two posts, I'm certain that you'll have realised that there is a lot going on in Middlesbrough at the minute. Our little town definitely has a lot going for it and the brand new venture that I'll be talking about today is no exception. As I've mentioned countless times, our town hall has just had £7.7 million worth of work done to it to give it a bit of a facelift whilst still retaining it's old charm (and it's looking fabulous, might I add). One of the newest additions to the space is Orange Pip Kitchen, a restaurant and bar inspired by Orange Pip Market, which is held on the last Saturday of every month in the town. To continue the street food theme of the market, all the food served in this little restaurant will be in the style of a takeaway and designed to be a little more like food-on-the-go. Sounds great, right?

However, this restaurant is a little bit different from your typical takeaway. Instead of having a dedicated team of chefs, there will be a switch up every three months with a team from a local eatery taking up a residency. You're guaranteed something different every quarter, making this an ever-changing experience and keeps us interested in what's coming next. To kick off the opening of Orange Pip Kitchen, Luke Harding, the owner of the popular vegetarian and vegan restaurant, The Waiting Room, has taken over the kitchen to produce a menu of contemporary veggie street food. I was lucky enough to be invited along to go and sample these delights in the brand new venue, so take a look at how I got on!
The first thing that struck me about the restaurant was how well the space had been used. It's dead ahead when you walk through the town hall doors, making it easy to see from the outside, and fills up a long space that would have otherwise been used as office space, I imagine. Luckily, the town hall has lots of little podiums dotted about with information about the space in its past life, and the space where Orange Pip Kitchen is used to be a carriageway for horses and carts. The whole place is full of historical little gems like that, so if you're ever in the area, go take a look and learn more about the history of our town! I also love how modern the space is. There's a hint of industry to it with a the bare wooden tables and the exposed pipework, but it's also very clean and white. The only little criticism I have is that there should be a little bit more of the Orange Pip brand involved, even if it was just with a few of their posters stuck on the wall.
Above, you can see the menu that The Waiting Room has in place for its time in Orange Pip Kitchen, and there's something that is sure to appeal to everyone. When I first had a glance, I was instantly pulled in by the burrito. I'm a big fan of Mexican food, so this was the one that I had the highest hopes for. Lucky for us, we were getting a sample of everything, giving me the chance to discover whether the burrito was really the one for me. But before I start babbling on about the food, let me tell you a bit more about The Waiting Room.

I've known about The Waiting Room for quite some time now. My sister had a couple of years as a vegetarian and this was one of her favourite local restaurants as all they serve is vegetarian food (which can be made vegan or gluten free on request). It was first opened by Luke Harding's mother who used it as an extension of her home cooking, so everything was hearty and full of flavour. Luke has worked there since he was around 15, but actually bought the restaurant around 17 years ago to continue what his mother started. Since then, it has grown into a gorgeous and lively space with delicious food and popular music nights. The menu changes with each season to match up with the seasonal produce that Luke sources from local and organic retailers, including the wines! It's the perfect place to go if you're looking for somewhere that doesn't serve up meat alternatives like Quorn or tofu, but instead, prides itself on the goodness of slow cooked vegetables, whole foods, creative cooking and flavour.
For the first round of foodie samples, there were several things on offer. There was the squash, kale, olive and white grape salad (which can be seen at the top of the lower box in the image above), the Waldorf baked sweet potato that had been cut up into more of a sharing salad (at the bottom of the lower box) and the sesame potatoes. I fell in love with the baked sweet potato as I'm a massive fan of sweet potato everything, and I found that it worked perfectly with all the other bits and bobs that it came with, including the apple which surprised me! It was boiled until perfectly soft and complemented the sweet flavours of the Waldorf salad beautifully. I wasn't a huge fan of the squash, kale, olive and white grape salad and I think it's because I would have preferred the squash to be warm. The texture didn't work for me as a cold cooked vegetable, however, I did think the kale was pretty yummy. However, out of this line up, it was the sesame potatoes that were the crowning glory for me. At first, I really thought I wasn't going to enjoy them because I'm not the biggest fan of boiled potatoes (which is how I think these were cooked) but ohhhh man, these were amazing. I even sent Alex back to grab us some more to share, they were that good! The flavour was gorgeous and the little crunch from the sesame seeds added an even more interesting texture.

The other scrumptious thing that was on offer along with the salads and potatoes was the spinach, mushroom and feta curry (top of image, with rice). Now, I realise that I probably should have saved the best til last, but I really wanted to go in order of the things we tasted and this just happened to be my favourite dish of all, which surprised me a lot. Don't get me wrong, I love a curry, but I love Mexican more, so I really thought the burrito was going to capture my heart. I just loved the flavour of this curry so much and I thought that the little chunks of feta brought the whole thing together perfectly. I was that in love with it that I took a box home for lunch the next day...
Next up was the pea burger with tamarind ketchup and this just wasn't for me. If you like peas, you'll probably enjoy this, but for me, everything about peas turns my stomach. I tried a little bit, but simply couldn't have anymore. Alex, however, ate the whole thing, so it's definitely worth trying out if you're looking for a veggie burger alternative on your lunch break. The bread looked great and The Waiting Room bakes all of its own, so that would be the best bit about this for me!
The next dish that was served up was the halloumi and aubergine Cypriot salad pitta, and this was divine. Granted, I took out the aubergine because I'm not a fan, but the rest of the salad inside like the onions, peppers and pomegranate sides were stunning. And that halloumi? Superb. I'm kind of new to the halloumi game but I'm kind of obsessed with it, and after this event, I actually went to the shop and bought some of my own. I'm not entirely sure what I want to do with it yet, but it's sat in my fridge just waiting to be used! I imagine this pitta would be very popular with the lunch time crowd because it was the perfect size and not overly messy. Plus, just look at those colours! How could anyone resist?
It's a surprise that I still had room to sample anything else after all of the other food, but because I was mostly excited for the burrito, I managed to save a little space for it. It was served up in foil, in true burrito style, and as you can see, it was stuffed to the brim with veggie goodness. This came a close second to the curry for me, but the only thing that stopped it from taking the top spot was that it was personally too spicy for me. As Alex said, "it's not that hot," and I imagine to most people, it isn't, but I'm a total baby when it comes to spice. But it was so filling and was bursting with flavour, making it ideal for Mexican food lovers!

Overall, I was so impressed with Orange Pip Kitchen and the concept behind it. It's so exciting to see some support for our local food businesses, so I can't wait to see what's to come (a little birdy told me that the next residency is a Greek chef - exciting!). The variety and quality that The Waiting Room have offered in the first residency is definitely going to be hard to beat though! 

Orange Pip Kitchen is open daily from 10AM - 4PM.
The Waiting Room is open Tuesday - Sunday from 11:30AM - 2:30PM and from 6:30PM.


This meal was provided by Orange Pip Kitchen and The Waiting Room in exchange for a blog post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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2 Comments

  1. Ive heard loads of things about here and now i can see why! i need to book a trip down on the train and you can take me haha

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    1. It's a bit of a bummer because Orange Pip Kitchen closed shortly after it opened, and that still hasn't been explained, but you can still go to The Waiting Room in Eaglescliffe. Let's gooooo!

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