The Magic Roundabout Restaurant – Bowness

A mixed café/restaurant with some vegetarian and a few vegan options available although not clearly indicated on the menu. Relaxed atmosphere with ambient music over two floors – full and loud downstairs, upstairs was quieter, although unfriendly staff.

Cuisine: Varied (meat, vegetarian, vegan), café food during the day, pub-style food in evening from 5pm (burgers, grill, salads)
Opening Hours: 8.30am – 11pm daily
Location: 8, Queens Square, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 3BY
Date Visited: Oct 2020
Price Range: £13-25 for a main course, lighter bites available.
Contact: 015394 43535 
Website: https://www.themagicroundaboutbowness.co.uk/
WiFi: No
Charging: No

The Magic Roundabout looked like an interesting place to try out as choice seemed more limited in Bowness-on-Windermere compared to Ambleside. Unfortunately the overall experience wasn’t positive, mainly down to the poor service, and the food received mixed feedback.

When we arrived, they had the wrong reservation time for us. We had booked 7pm over the phone but they had written it down as 7.30pm. After some huffing and puffing (I can’t quite see how it’s our fault), they found us a table upstairs. We were lucky enough to get a window table, which overlooked the roundabout. Unfortunately their unwelcoming attitude was a sign of what was to follow – not much magic was involved in our dining experience.

Foodwise, the menu was confusing. It claimed to have clear markings for vegetarian and vegan options yet at the top of the menu it also said ‘Available upon request’. If you are coeliac, you need to ask the waiter what options are gluten-free.

When we enquired as to what the vegan and gluten-free options were (as instructed by the menu), the waiter informed us that 80% of the menu can be made vegan or gluten-free. This wasn’t too helpful as the menu was very long. We asked again if he could point them out, but he just repeated his answer.

When my dining companion chose an option she thought could probably be made gluten-free, she was told that it couldn’t, nor was her back-up choice. She wasn’t sure what to do next as the waiter wouldn’t tell us what was gluten free, but anything she chose couldn’t be made gluten free. Our recommendation would be to mark on the menu next to each item VGO and GFO for options that can be amended, to avoid a lot of frustration. On top of this, the waiter was rude and moody, making us feel like we were being awkward. 

I chose the vegan smokehouse tofu with sweet potato fries which was tasty but not very filling as the portion was not very large. My non-vegan but coeliac companion went for the nachos which were unfortunately dry and burned – brown tortilla chips, anyone? She couldn’t finish them. We didn’t look at the dessert menu as we didn’t want to hang around because we hadn’t been made to feel welcome, so we left after I finished my meal. We did have a different waitress towards the end of the meal who was really nice and friendly but it wasn’t enough to save the evening.

The food was ok overall, the value was average but neither of us will be returning after such a poor experience.

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