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 vegan food hot spots.
Vintage Inns (Editor’s Pick)
Supporting small and local vegan businesses is something that I love to do. You get the satisfaction of eating in a place that only serves plant based food, but also of seeing where your money is going.
Nevertheless, there are times when convenience dictates that this isn’t possible. Luckily, there are more plant based options at chain restaurants around the country, meaning it is now easier than ever to eat vegan meals. The latest of these to add a vegan menu to their existing one is the pub -restaurant chain named Vintage Inns.
Perhaps not a household name, but with almost 200 branches around the UK, there is more than likely a branch not so far from you. We were really keen to visit our local branch to taste the new menu, to find out if we should be
adding Vintage Inns to our rapidly expanding list of vegan-friendly eateries.
The first impression of the menu is how extensive it is. Often, these new vegan launches are a transparent attempt to cash in on the huge influx of people embracing plant based food. Yet with Vintage Inns it is clear that somebody enjoyed producing a vast menu that is packed with exciting, delicious dishes.
That said you may be disappointed to find that the first thing on the starter menu is a falafel option. “ You can get falafel, anywhere,” I hear you say. Well, yes you can — but that doesn’t take away from how great this falafel starter was. Made from chickpeas and lentils, it came served with warmly toasted ciabatta over a red pepper dip that was bursting with spice. If you’re not a fan of food with a kick , then opt for the kale and cauliflower salad, which is fresh, light and overflowing with crunchy veg.
For the main, I chose the roasted vegetable tart . I must admit , I’m not usually a pastry kind of person, but the long list of roasted vegetables — butternut squash, plum tomatoes, red onion, spinach and red peppers — was enough to
persuade me. I’m so glad I did, the kale and thyme pastry was really flavoursome and the leek sauce that oozed out as you cut into the tart was the stuﬀ dreams are made of. This is a dish that I’ll be back for again before too long.
If you’re feeling peckish, I recommend the miso sesame glazed aubergine side option — these bite -sized pieces will blow away any preconceptions you may have about aubergine being a bland vegetable.
Perhaps the most exciting part of this menu, though, is the desserts. Gracing the menu is a rich chocolate tart , coconut panna cotta pudding, creamy coconut sorbet , or a treacle and pecan tart . Having four vegan dessert options at a national chain is ground-breaking and the treacle tart we tried was sticky and sweet — just as it should be.
Kudos to Vintage Inns, they have developed a menu that doesn’t rest too much on the predictable plant based options we’re used to seeing everywhere. So next time you’re looking for a hearty, warming pub lunch that can accommodate the whole family — Vintage Inns should be top of your list .
• Thanks to the staﬀ at our local branch The Crown, Colchester for accommodating us and making us feel extremely welcome.
5 City Arcade, Union St, Birmingham, B2 4TX
At Fressh you’ll be keen to eat there for every meal of the day, with their delicious menu of freshly prepared food including a plant based mac n’ cheese, meatball sub and chickpea tuna wrap. Situated a few minutes’ walk from both Birmingham New Street and Moor Street stations. Their food is available to order on Deliveroo too.
103 Ingram St, Glasgow, G1 1DX
Picnic Cafe in Glasgow has an entirely cruelty-free and plant based menu, oﬀering chilled drinks ready to grab on the go. A delicious freshly made curry of the day is served daily and available with rice, potato or sweet potato amongst the café’s vast menu filled with a variety of sweet and savoury food. All of the packaging is made from recycled materials or is completely biodegradable.
123 East St, Bristol, BS3 4ER
Situated on East Street in Bristol, Vx is one of the first chain vegan shops in the country with another store in London. Included on their menu are burgers, kebabs and patisserie foods for an indulgent treat! With a delicatessen section of the shop selling plant based cheeses and meat substitutes, Vx is a haven to visit and you’ll be spoilt for choice with their menu.
60 Camden Lock Place, London, NW1 8AF
Renowned for its delicious pie and mash, one of Young Vegans’ specialities is the seitan and ale pie. Also included on the menu is an all-day breakfast pie, gluten-free sweet potato and curry pies and a choice of chocolate puddings for dessert. Located in Camden Lock, you’ll find them only a short walk away from Camden Town tube station.