Vegetarian diners at may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the Hyde Square restaurant, home to haggis and other carnivorous Scottish specialties, also serves up a wide selection of meatless dishes. Under the direction of newly appointed chef, Terri Montilio, the recently revised menu offers many fresh and delicious veggie dishes.
With cooking experience that stretches from restaurants in Boston and Martha’s Vineyard to New York and New Orleans, the seasoned Montilio is now at helm.
“She lets the food speak for itself,” said Haven owner Jason Waddleton of Montilio’s extensive resume.
Selecting her as the eatery’s new chef, said Waddleton was “A no brainer. I’ve known Terri for eight years.” Back when the idea of creating New England’s only Scottish restaurant was still in its inception, “She helped to shape the menu,” he added.
One of the creative cook's newly added appetizers is Fall Vegetable Bridies ($7). Filled with a mixture of roasted Delicata squash, leeks, and melted goat cheese, the tasty turnover comes wrapped in a crescent-shaped, golden brown, flaky puff pastry.
“They’re like Scottish empañadas,” stated Montilio. “They’re often served at weddings."
Two new salad offerings are the Roasted Squash Salad ($10), which Montilio will obligingly make for vegetarians without the duck confit, and the Pickled Pear and Shaved Ayr Salad ($8), which I sampled. Made with frisée, fennel, Vermont Ayrshire cheddar and dressed with shallot vinaigrette, the outstanding salad provided a complex and subtle combination of flavors and textures.
In the entrée department, Barley Risotto ($17) on dinner menu is Scottish stick-to-your-ribs veggie comfort food that could warm a misty November moor. Topped with Grana Cheese, the ample portion of plump pearl barley, carmelized sweet corn, and King Oyster mushrooms is an original and delectable dish.
The same is true for the restaurant’s Family Vegetarian Platter, which reminded me of a meatless, pre-Thanksgiving feast. For the price of $13, diners can select three veggies from the eatery's bountiful menu of side dishes. Choices from the cornucopia include Hand-cut Chips with House Ketchup, Herbed, Stilton or Mustardy Mashed Potatoes, Minted Mushy Peas, Herbed Green Bean Salad, Brussell Sprouts, and more.
At Montilio’s suggestion, I tried the Honey Mashed Rutabaga with truffle oil, Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage, and Braised Kale. In each case, under the gifted gourmet’s guidance, Montilio elevated the humble but healthy, hearty and just-picked vegetables to superbly seasoned, scrumptious stardom.
Waddleton noted that sources its fruits and vegetables through a service called Metro Pedal Power that delivers local produce via bike. The restaurant’s emphasis on fresh and local foods further includes its use of Roslindale's Fornax breads and coffee from the Jamaica Plain company Fazenda. In addition, the eatery’s mushrooms are provided by JP resident and renowned forager Ben Maleson.
If you’re not a regular at you may not know that besides food and drink, the amicable entrepreneur also serves up a seven-day
per week menu of ever-hanging fun events like Trivia night on Mondays,
movies on Tuesday, live music on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, Kilt Night on Fridays, and a variety of weekend activities including
live soccer broadcasts. At the moment, Waddleton is busy planning a celebration of St. Andrew’s Day, Scotland’s patron saint, on Nov. 29 and 30, which will feature discounts, bagpipe music, a prix fixe dinner and desserts from JP bakery .
For a fun, friendly and fine dining experience in a comfortable setting, the hospitable Haven’s provides vegetarians with many fresh, delicious and healthy options at excellent value.
Of Montilio, Waddleton correctly concluded, "I like what she brings to the table."
Located at 2 Perkins Street, (617-524-2836) serves lunch (noon – 3 p.m., Monday to Friday), dinner (5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday, and Mondays until 9:30 p.m.) brunch (10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on
weekends), and also offers a daily late night starter menu.
[Editor's note: The price of the Family Vegetarian Platter was incorrect in the initial posting.]