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Eat out in the world’s vegan capital

30th January 2019

Categories: Press Releases

‘Move over London’ - In a worldwide survey, Bristol tops the list of vegan-friendly cities.  And we pick some of the ten best places to enjoy a plant-based meal.

With thousands signing up for the ‘Veganuary’ challenge and big fast food chains offering vegan options, it’s clear that a plant-based vegan diet is no longer a minority interest but a mainstream lifestyle choice – and Bristol is at the forefront of the movement. 

Foodie website Chef’s Pencil analysed Google search data to compile a list of the top worldwide cities interested in veganism. The UK came second (after Australia) in the countries’ list – but in the cities’ category, Bristol was top of the list. ‘Move over Berlin and London…,’ says Chefs Pencil. ‘Bristol is the new European and world-wide vegan capital.’ 

According to the 2018 survey, the popularity of vegan-related searches was 11% higher than in 2017 and 35% higher compared to 2016. And Bristol’s concentration of vegan-related searches on Google surpassed every other city in the world. But never mind the statistics, let’s take a look at some of Bristol’s best vegan meals and menus. 

Pieminister's vegan 'Mother Earth' pie

Pieminister, City Centre
Bristol-born Pieminister has just added two new vegan numbers to their popular pie range. The latest, Chooks Away, is a meat-free take on a classic chicken pie made with tofu and seitan ‘chicken’ in a smoked garlic and sherry sauce. While Kevin (who knew that Kevin Keegan was cockney rhyming slang for vegan?) is filled with mushroom, tomato, red wine and thyme.  Order a Mother Earth: a vegan pie on a bed of vegan-cheesy champ mash with garden peas, finished with a parsnip and kale fritter (pictured, right).

Revolucian de Cuba, Harbourside
The sizzling Latino restaurant chain has added a choice of vegan specials (pictured, left) to their Cuba-inspired menu: try sautéed tofu with Romesco, Arroz con Padron (aromatic rice with spinach, Padrón peppers and hazelnuts) or Paella Vegano. We love the beetballs (beetroot, coriander and mint) and the healthy, low-alcohol cocktails.

Koocha, Gloucester Road
In Bristol’s ‘independent quarter’ – this sociable, vegan mezze bar showcases plant-based Persian cuisine (think eggless kookoo, veggie fritters, spicy rice balls and beetroot dip). All dishes are designed to share and go down well with a house gin cocktail.

VX Bristol, Bedminster
Vegan junk food? Surely not. But, yes, this East Street venture proves that ‘a vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring’. Along with its older London sister, VX claims to be the UK’s first chain of cruelty-free food shops. Order a vegan burger, soya steak, a classic Cheesie Toastie (toasted artisan bread with Jeezo cheese and organic mock meat), a Hotdog (organic sausage with ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut) or a Vego chocolate milkshake. vxbristol.com/

No.1 Harbourside
Part of a small family of local, sustainable restaurants (the others are the Canteen and the Old Market Assembly) this lively waterfront independent includes tasty vegetarian and vegan dishes on its healthy, seasonal menu. Their drinks list includes a few vegan options, too.

Bella Italia and Aquila, Broadmead
In the Shopping Quarter, two classic Italian restaurants cater for vegan diners. Bella Italia has created an entire vegan menu with multiple options on almost all courses (try spiralised veg with lentil and mushroom ragu). At nearby independent, Aquila most of the dishes on their meat and dairy-free menu are available as a starter or main.

ZaZa Bazaar, Harbourside
The ‘World banquet bar’ is the UK’s largest restaurant – a 1000-seater mammoth based on a multi-cultural street market ­– and there are plans to add a dedicated vegan section to its vast buffet of world cuisines. A case of watch this space.

Suncraft, Gloucester Road
From the same team behind Gallimaufry (on the other side of the Gloucester Road), this bright young thing, is 100 per cent vegan (eat in or take away), mostly gluten-free, and the head chef is ex Ivy Brasserie in Clifton. Dishes are mostly Asian-inspired (Gochujang stew with Korean rice cake, spiced potato and spinach cakes, black masala dumplings and the like). Add local craft ales, vegan wines and tables made of recycled yoghurt pots.

Earthcake, Southville
Co-founder and head baker, Gerzson turned vegan while working in Michelin-starred restaurants as a pastry chef. Then came this south Bristol enterprise: Earthcake bakes everything from Coffee and Toffee cake and Victoria sponge to Black Forest gateau and a sumptuous afternoon tea, without a trace of eggs or dairy.

Fi Real, Old Market
This is vegan and veggie Caribbean style: Jerk tofu and spicy kale, okra and butter beans, yam stew, a side of plantain and a tropical smoothie. All locally sourced, organic and mostly gluten free. fireal.co.uk.

Root, Wapping Wharf
Josh Eggleton’s (of Michelin-starred gastro pub The Pony and Trap) innovative veggie-focused restaurant in Wapping Wharf is not strictly vegan but makes vegetables the heroes of the menu, and puts meat and fish on the side. This small-plates menu includes beetroot with blackberries, hazelnuts and seaweed and cauliflower pakora with plums and cashew milk.

For more information on Bristol’s vegan restaurants see (this blog will be live on Visit Bristol on 31 January): https://visitbristol.co.uk/blog/read?previewPostKey=993

Coming up:

Every week: The regular street-food market on Corn St in Bristol’s Old City goes vegan every Monday. The Vegan and Wellness Market is part of St Nicholas Markets.

Save the date (10-17 February) for the city’s second Bristol Dal Festival, a week-long celebration devoted entirely to this lentil-based, international dish, plus peas, beans and pulses.

House of Veg – Bristol’s new vegan street market – for one day only (23 February) at the Pennywell Project (close to the Shopping Quarter). 50% of ticket sale profits will go to a vegan charity.

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