The Veganuary hype fades as television, bus stop and social media adverts plugging the latest vegan arrival come to a halt, but unlike the marketing budget, the plant based diet doesn’t disappear for the thousands who live the lifestyle.
Surprisingly in this day and age (yep, I’m an 80 year old man) when nearly everyone seems to be adopting a meat free diet, it can still be tricky to find a suitable eatery that caters for all. No longer does a single option of macaroni or simple salad cut it anymore – we want good food and we want it now.
So with that in mind, I’ve muddled together a few suggestions that go the extra mile for the vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or just conscious eater lifestyle in the city and the shire.
Being the first vegetarian and vegan cafe to open in Aberdeen, there’s no doubt that Foodstory has been a true pioneer in the city. Demonstrating that going vegan or veggie isn’t a sacrifice, Foodstory has been embraced by the community with its loaded salad bowls, bakery goods, lunch specials and its take on a sausage roll. It’s my favourite cafe to switch off and watch the world go by – that is, if I’m lucky enough to get a seat!
Starting its humble beginnings on Thistle Street, popularity grew and it soon expanded to the building next door to extend its cafe space and add an upper level to host events. Foodstory.zero came in later years at the University of Aberdeen, its first 100% zero waste cafe where I’m constantly tempted by the smells of sourdough toasties. And last in what seems like a Foodstory trail, Foodstory.hut joined the ranks on the Aberdeen beachfront, adding to the bustling food community on the southside of the beach.
Some people say that breakfast is the important meal of the day, but those people clearly haven’t had a good brunch – well, that’s my rationale anyway. At Dreamy Goat Coffee, a vegetarian cafe in Inverurie, I’m always beckoned in by the look of its sumptuous looking all-day brunch items, especially its curried eggs on toast with mango chutney, tomatoes and peas – table for one please.
Pouring coffee from the best roasters in the UK, Dreamy Goat Coffee has your back. Add impeccable coffee art to the mix, there’s no surprise that this place has dreamy in its title.
It doesn’t get more vegan than foraging for food straight from the wild and if that sounds right up your street, you have to give The Italian Ghillie a call. Venture deep into ancient forests and discover secret spots with treasures nestled in the soil, all before the reward of a picnic packed with Scottish delights and an Italian twist.
Creating tailor made itineraries taking in glorious views of Royal Deeside, Federica (The Italian Ghillie) uses her extensive knowledge of the local area to curate your perfect food-fueled expedition.
If you’re after vibrant bowls loaded with every colour of the rainbow, BioCafe is the one for you. It’s not often you see electric purples, lime green and sunny yellows all on one plate, but the team at Bio Cafe never fail to create a spectacle by the plateful.
From full vegan breakfasts, glorious cakes and bumper specials, you’re never short of choice here alongside its range of gluten free and refined sugar free products too.
It’s no secret that I can’t get enough of Roots. Standing out on the Aberdeen Beach esplanade in its lime green surfer shack, a lengthy queue of hooked fans can always be spotted waiting to try new additions to the menu.
Making a name for itself as the place to go for epic plant based burgers and loaded fries, it appears that as the months – correction, weeks – go on, the menu just gets bolder and bolder. From porcini and chestnut wellington burgers to pizza loaded chunky fries and banana blossom fish and chips to bang bang lobster rolls – there’s no stopping its spell of turning meat favourites on their head.
The all day brunch burgers are my weakness right now and if the apple pie cinnamon buns are back on the go – signal the Avengers to try and stop me from taking the lot.
Many rate a beach walk with ice cream but for me, but when I’m strolling Banff beach, it has to be a Baobab take-away in my hand. Only making it to the doorway during the height of the pandemic, I’m still to make it in properly for a sit down feed but I love the vibe of this place with mis-matched furniture, umbrella lampshades and a coffee house energy with lots of soul.
Its vegan pastries are becoming its signature with flavours like cherry and chocolate danishes and forearm sized chocolate orange twists along with a lengthy list of other bakes. Grab me an oversized pick n mix bag and I’ll happily work through its supply at my leisure.
While you visit, make sure to check out its range of eco-living products and food selection with plenty of vegan goodies and snacks.
There’s a lot that can be said for a restaurant that’s not vegan by trade but puts everything it’s got to pull off stellar vegan and veggie options. A place that fits into that description effortlessly is The Braided Fig, an unassuming bistro that always blows me away with ingenious combinations and epic tastes.
After being dazzled by its resident tree growing from the roots to the rafters decorated with twinkling lights (I told you it was unassuming), prepare to be starstruck at its menu – the Korean cauliflower is top shelf.
Just off Rosemount Viaduct, the treehouse-like hideaway of Bonobo Cafe (and resident cat Mickey) awaits with a fully loaded vegan menu that’s an indecisive person’s worst nightmare (i.e. me). Right up there on my hit list is the seitan kebab – I’ll let the below picture do the talking.
Sitting in its enclosed rooftop garden – correction, jungle – draped in greenery and swinging monkey wall art, leave your troubles at the door and escape to its plant based paradise that’s making a conscious effort to make veganism accessible to all through its menu and shop products.
If there was one word to summarise the businesses mentioned in this article, it would be adventurous. Going that extra mile to not only offer variety but incredible taste, it’s not just macaroni available to keep meat free eaters catered for here in the North-east.
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