What is it about the warmth and charm of a British-style pub? Personally, I have always been intrigued by the dark, cozy vibe, the low ceilings and the exotic menu. It's nice to know that when a trip across the pond isn't in the cards, I can still enjoy a cold brew with my mates where a little bit of London comes to me. And, perhaps surprisingly, one British pub is where you will find some of Houston's most delicious options for Meatless Monday.
At The Queen Vic Pub, a favorite among locals for its lively bar scene and wide selection of craft cocktails, the menu is loaded with quality vegetarian options and hearty British pub-style selections alike. As South Asians make up a huge part of the population in London, the pubs and taverns there are known to offer dishes catering to Indian people—which is why, if you find yourself in the city by the Thames, you may have noticed bangers and mash or scones and clotted cream on the same menu as spicy chicken tikka masala. This diversity is now a part of London's culture, making many Indian-influenced dishes a permanent fixture on British pub menus everywhere; The Queen Vic Pub in the posh Upper Kirby district is no different.
Here, the pub bites menu offers non-meat-eaters a generous list of options, from vegetable samosas made with potatoes and peas to a dish of cauliflower gratin, from deviled eggs to the three-chili paneer with roasted peppers (thankfully served with raita yogurt and hot naan to cool the burn). The curry menu invites more adventurous diners to explore the bold flavors of Indian spices and lists a variety of both vegetarian and protein-heavy curries. The saag paneer masala curry, made with chopped greens, toasted spices, tomato and coconut milk, is a house favorite as it is both vegetarian and gluten-free.
The salads list a traditional chaat salad as another vegetarian, gluten-free choice loaded with fresh roughage from mixed greens, black beans, onions, herbs, avocado, roasted corn, cauliflower and tomato, all topped with a cilantro yogurt vinaigrette. Pair this with a warm lentil soup made with split chickpea and vegetables, and your meat-eating friends will for once be envious of your meal.
For more traditional diners, look for the Queen Vic's veggie burger as a wonderful option (the patty is made with quinoa and chickpeas), served on a soft brioche bun. And finally, for those carnivores wishing to experience a dish from the "proper" British menu, the Colonial Shepherd's pie and Beef Wellington are smashing choices, if it is indeed Meaty Monday you choose to celebrate.
The Queen Vic Pub, 2712 Richmond Ave., 713-533-0022, thequeenvicpub.com