Craving a food adventure beyond the kitchen? To save you having to ransack search engines for the best vegan restaurants, cafes, street food or quick bites around the UK, our Editor has tried and tasted various plant based eateries to bring you this month’s hot spots.
Happy Maki (Editor’s Pick)
8 Poole Valley, Brighton, BN1 1NJ
Happy Maki is on a mission: to showcase veganism, whilst giving people an option to eat truly sustainable sushi which is good for health, beneficial for the environment and great on the taste buds. Co-founder Anna MacDonald describes it as “feel good sushi” — and she’s not wrong.
Tucked slightly oﬀ the beaten track, close to the Brighton seafront and a five minute walk from its famous pier, Happy Maki’s premises are clean, bright, fresh and extremely popular. People are popping by to grab lunch to go, a Deliveroo driver waits to pick up his delivery, and a few people are sitting at the bar inside enjoying the busy atmosphere and tucking into their sushi.
Opting for the beet and basil satay sushi wrap as recommended by the lovely staﬀ behind the counter, I decide I’ll take the food away and enjoy it in the rapidly disappearing sunshine, on the nearby pebbly Brighton beach.
The wrap is made up of an abundance of fresh ingredients: grated raw beetroot, crunchy peanuts, avocado, cucumber, red pepper, basil, a rich satay sauce and of course the rice and nori sushi staples. The vegetables crunch as you bite into them and the chunky wraps are incredibly filling.
In retrospect, this would have been a suﬀicient amount of food for a satisfying lunch. However, trips to Brighton don’t come around often enough, and so it only felt right to get a side of seasoned tempura cauliflower, too.
The chunks of battered cauliflower were a satiating addition to the sushi. Sometimes cauliflower can be a tad on the bland side, but this was seasoned to perfection and the spiced coconut sauce on top added a creamy kick that I just couldn’t get enough of.
Worried you’ll get addicted to Happy Maki’s dreamy sushi? Well, as if the food isn’t good enough by itself, the restaurant’s ethos to donate money to two incredibly valuable organisations for each sushi, means you can leave feeling good about your lunch too. So far, 79,000 meals have been provided for children in the poorest parts of the world, and 41,000 trees have been planted since Happy Maki began.
So if you fancy a bite of refreshingly healthy sushi, then we can’t recommend Happy Maki enough. Got no plans to head to Brighton soon? Fear not. The Happy Maki food van travels around the country going to festivals and events, so you may find them near you soon.
The Button Warehouse
Stanley Mill, Stanley Street, Macclesfield, SK11 6AU
When you think of places to eat for great vegan options, Macclesfield might not be one of your first thoughts. However, The Button Warehouse is bringing delicious plant based food to the people of Cheshire. The café is in a renovated 19th century silk mill and is hidden away down a beautiful passageway. Oﬀering a menu that reflects seasonal produce and what the weather is doing, the recurring theme is that everything is nourishing, hearty, and packed with wholefoods.
182 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 7UY
Haunt is something of a hidden gem in North London. It is a bar/restaurant/gig venue that switched to fully vegan earlier in the year. The best thing about eating at Haunt is the great, atmospheric vibes that comes from such a bustling venue. Owner Alex Brooks has mentioned the sense of community the pub has gained since going vegan, and you can certainly feel that as a customer. Though, the food was pretty tasty too. The beer-battered stuﬀed chilli peppers on the starter menu are magnificent.
The Old Red Bus Station, 104 Vicar Lane, Leeds, LS2 7NL
The only exclusively vegan eatery in Leeds, Cantina is nestled in the buzzing Victoria Quarter of the city. Making the most of fresh, local ingredients, head chef Sam Thomas explained: “Pioneering new flavours was a key aspect [of the menu], exciting carnivores and challenging the palates of the most experienced vegans”. Expect favourites such as warming soups or Cantina’s ever-popular Southern Fried Hellfire Seitan Strips.
34 Elder St, Edinburgh, EH1 3DX
Edinburgh has a thriving vegan scene with one of its popular haunts being Holy Cow. The menu changes to incorporate seasonal produce but is full of fresh, organic, homemade options. You can expect impressive burgers, vegetable-packed sandwiches and nutritious salads. With an ever-changing menu, you can arrive at Holy Cow knowing that the food options won’t have become stagnant.
Kara’s Supper Club
Bosconova Café, 650 Christchurch Rd, Boscombe, BH2 4BP
This supper club, located in the Bournemouth suburb of Boscombe, takes place on the final Friday of each month. Kara Hayward wanted to take vegan home cooking to the next level and aﬅer pitching the idea to the café she worked at, it has become a key event on the Bournemouth vegan scene calendar. It has grown to be so popular that it now sometimes rolls over to a Saturday night too!If you’re in the area, book up for your three courses of homemade nourishment.
Pulse Vegetarian Cafe
34 Union Road, New Mills, Derbyshire, SK22 3ES
Situated in the heart of the beautiful Peak District, in New Mills, Derbyshire, Pulse is a café designed to make meat-free eating aﬀordable and tasty and also providing a space for local art and music events. This may only be a vegetarian café, but there are plenty of vegan options on request too. You can even take along the kids and keep them occupied, thanks to the café’s child and baby-friendly toy room on the second floor.