vegan / vegan-friendly cafes in Manchester UK

Travel and location information for vegans, restaurant, hotel, B&B etc reviews. If you want to meet people from some area, post here.

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Postby Hiking Fox » Sat Mar 17, 2007 1:59 pm

Jonathan wrote:It is a shame about the Basement. It was really good for a while after it started (nothing to do with me working there for 6 months! :lol: ). Unfortunately the kitchen was run by two people in a relationship and when that ended, so did the good food at the basement.


I volunteered there a couple of times, but didn't feel comfortable, cos people kept asking me to do unhygienic things, and nobody seemed prepared to wear an apron.

I made a chilli and someone asked me to put cabbage in it and stir the spices in at the end!!! Thought I'd better leave them to it. There were far too many volunteers anyway, there wasn't room for us all!

I do like to support social centres though, and the toasted sandwiches are great.
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Postby spike » Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:46 pm

LMAO at cabbage in chilli...... :roll: :D
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Barburrito

Postby spike » Tue Mar 20, 2007 2:28 pm

Urbangardener and I checked out Barburrito yesterday.
I was not impressed at all to be honest. The problems wasn't so much with the food, more the place and the service.

It was cheap and quick and seemed healthy and fairly tasty, but there was WAY too much salt on the food that it kind of ruined it.

Which leads me onto my main criticisms of the place - it was too much like a fast food joint; the brown decor to make you hungry, the fast music to encourage you to eat fast and get out fast, the huge amounts of salt on the food to make you need to drink their overpriced coke and sprite and the fact they suggestive sell and offer you "meal deals" and hand you your food on a Maccy D's style tray complete with trayliner full of ads.

vegan things weren't labelled, the staff were unhelpful, though fairly polite and efficient - you're not allowed to have guacamole instead of cheese, you have to go without the cheese and pay extra. There didn't really seem to be a great deal of choice, especially for vegans.

I don't think I'd go there again in a hurry, unless I was in a hurry I suppose.
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Re: Barburrito

Postby Hiking Fox » Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:28 pm

spike wrote:Urbangardener and I checked out Barburrito yesterday.
Which leads me onto my main criticisms of the place - it was too much like a fast food joint;


It is a fast food joint - that's the whole point, surely?

I didn't like the way I couldn't have guacamole instead of cheese. I put 'provide more dairy-free options' on the feedback card, but I think I'll write them a proper letter. They have won an award for provision for vegetarians, so it would be nice to let them know that not all vegetarians eat cheese. Lots of places don't realise this.

Personally, I was just really pleased that I could have a great big wrap full of beans, peppers, guacamole and salad for less than a fiver in a city centre.
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Postby spike » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:43 pm

It was good value and quick, that's true.
I didn't expect it to be so fast-foody.
I might go back in summer when I can avoid some of the annoying features of the place by getting a takeaway and lots of liquid to rehydrate mtself after all that salt!

Since I have a few days off work and a tax rebate coming soon I'm going to revisit some of the places and try something that isn't just the cheapest thing on the menu - I'm thinking 8th Day and Fuel to start with - haven't eaten a proper meal at either in years.

I will post my opinions on this thread and I imagine people will come and disagree since those of us who frequent Manc veggie places seem to have quite different taste in food.
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Postby Rochellita » Wed Mar 21, 2007 7:57 am

8th day's vegan breakfast has taken a turn for the worst, I had some yesterday and was really disappointed, there's nowhere else to get a decent breakfast since the Bean Counter in Chorlton closed.
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Postby spike » Wed Mar 21, 2007 10:54 am

Yeah, the Bean Counter was good! I prefered the Misty's (greasy) breakfast to the Bean Counter's more wholesome offering, but now that I'm generally being more healthy the wholesome option appeals more these days.
I am venturing over to Chorlton today partly to see if there are any new veggie cafes - Last time I was there Diamond Dogs on Beech Road had closed down but a poster in the window promised a new veggie cafe opening soon, so will see if that's true!
I only ever went to Diamond Dogs once but remember it being really good.

Re the 8th Day (again, sorry I sound like a stuck record!) the fact they can't get the basics right doesn't give me much hope for foods I haven't tried there. When I say they don't get the basics right I mean things like the soya milk curdles in their coffee, smoothies are bitty and not smoothie-like and cakes are dry.
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Postby Hiking Fox » Wed Mar 21, 2007 12:14 pm

spike wrote:I will post my opinions on this thread and I imagine people will come and disagree since those of us who frequent Manc veggie places seem to have quite different taste in food.


That'd be useful!

I think tastes must vary, cos I haven't had a bad meal yet in Tampopo, and I found the food at Misty's excessively salty!

I recall going to a tapas bar near Deansgate that was really good, but I can't remember the name of it, and it was years ago. I'll try and find out.

Does anyone know of a good Chinese place in Manchester? I went to one in Chorlton that was highly recommended to me, but it was rubbish - the spring rolls were out of a packet and the food was loaded with MSG.

Does anyone know of a good Italian place? I miss going for pizza in London and getting loads of roast veg and olive oil instead of cheese.
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Postby urbangardener » Fri Mar 23, 2007 10:17 am

Me and Spike ventured to Chorton to see whether a new veggie cafe had replaced diamond dogs yet. Hurrah - a new cafe 'cilantro' had opened and had vegan options labelled! We filled our 'granny trolly' with shopping, worked up an appetite dragging it all the way back to the cafe and went in...

The cafe seemed to be mostly populated by 'suits'. The food seemed to be reasonably priced though not loads of choice - 3 vegan sandwiches, jamaican pattie which could be made vegan upon request and roast garlic dahl!

The women who I pressumed owned the cafe was really impatient (some other people walked out just as we sat down). I asked for soya milk (it had vegan stuff labelled and was run by Jamaican people - they had to have soya milk?). Apparently they 'used to have it but it went to waste', grrrr. We ordered sandwiches and tried to find something to drink that was vegan and not ridiculously overpriced. Impatient woman then told us they only had one ciabatta left for sandwiches so one of us would have to have sour dough (which didn't sound likely to be vegan to me). She seemed really put out by us being vegan, asking questions and not deciding what to eat quick enough for her. Why label things as vegan if you don't want to deal with vegans?

We decided to leave and go home to soya milk land :)
Very disappointing cafe though would be interested to try roast garlic dahl :)
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Postby Hiking Fox » Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:59 am

What a shame! I'll drop them a line. You never know - the woman serving might not be the owner.

I'm in Mancs most of next week and am going to try and find that tapas plae again.

By the way, it's a bit far out, but there's a good mediterranean place by Sale Brooklands tram stop called 'Manni's'. They do at least 8 vegan starters, like hoummous with aubergine, tabouleh, mixed salad, vine leaves etc. Some things might come with a yoghurt garnish, but if you make it clear when ordering that you don't want any dairy, they avoid doing this. The staff are very approachable. You can get a really good meal and a drink for about £13-15 each.
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Postby JP » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:59 pm

Cycling Fox wrote:Does anyone know of a good Chinese place in Manchester? I went to one in Chorlton that was highly recommended to me, but it was rubbish - the spring rolls were out of a packet and the food was loaded with MSG.


first rule of checking out chinese restaurants in Manchester: see that over half of the customers are chinese :D

Using this rule of thumb and some experimentation my favourite one easily is the one on oxford road, near the library and mcdonalds.

It has awesome mock chicken with pineapple and ginger, and my fav starter is something slightly off menu: get pancakes and plum sauce with the starter called spicy friedf tofu bits or something = fantastic.
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Postby Hiking Fox » Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:58 pm

JP wrote:Using this rule of thumb and some experimentation my favourite one easily is the one on oxford road, near the library and mcdonalds.

It has awesome mock chicken with pineapple and ginger, and my fav starter is something slightly off menu: get pancakes and plum sauce with the starter called spicy friedf tofu bits or something = fantastic.


I will most certainly check that place out!

Btw. AndyO and I went back to Tampopo on Saturday and tried the vegan option on the early evening menu (a starter and main for 6.95). It was veg and noodles in rice wraps, followed by steamed rice, tofu, baby sweetcorn, coriander and lemongrass with a ginger and soy sauce dip.

We loved it, and it wasn't greasy at all. I reckon the most be some differing of taste buds...
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Re: Barburrito

Postby Hiking Fox » Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:03 am

spike wrote:vegan things weren't labelled, the staff were unhelpful, though fairly polite and efficient - you're not allowed to have guacamole instead of cheese, you have to go without the cheese and pay extra.


I have been in correspondance with Barburrito about this. They said that the guacamole is the most expensive thing on the whole menu and it would not be cost effective to offer it as a replacement for cheese. I responded by saying that the staff should offer extra of something else, like beans, or should have a squirty soya yoghurt sauce, so that cheese-avoiders don't feel like they are missing out.

The response was that at the moment they are trying to keep things as simple as possible, but will be reviewing their menu soon, and will take all customer feedback on board. They also said that they haven't had many comments from vegans and people who can't eat dairy products, so there doesn't seem to be much demand for a replacement.

Therefore, I'd urge people to either email them or fill in a customer response card, asking for a dairy-free replacement to cheese. They only know people are unhappy if we write it down...
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Postby Rochellita » Thu May 10, 2007 11:10 am

Has anyone been to the newish sushi bar in town?

http://www.instructgraphics.com/maibai/index.html

Will need to check how much (if any) egg they use in the veggie dishes and if the wasabi is vegan (most of the brands I've seen here contain lactose) but if anyone has done this, let us know!
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Postby dublin dave » Thu May 10, 2007 5:23 pm

On the question of Barburritos food being too salty. I have to disagree. I think that their food is properly seasoned. Salt when added in the cooking process acts as a flavour enhancer and is necessary to bring out the flavour of the other ingredients. All to often vegan food, particularly from wholefood type places is under seasoned. I've had daals from these types pf places that needed a good dash of salt and pepper. Some foods are meant to be salty.
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