Championed vegan capital of Britain, Glasgow is rich with culinary choice.
A depressing reality faced by many vegans is the limited choices available to us when we’re not in control of the kitchen, or are unable to scrutinise labels. Something which really rattles my cage is when there are a plethora of vegetarian options but nothing for vegans, despite vegan options being suitable for vegetarians and NOT the other way around. The good thing about living in Glasgow, however, is that there are plenty of places that serve vegan options, ranging across a spectrum of cuisines.
From American to Thai food, there’s something to suite everyone’s taste. Here is a small selection of my favourite places to dine:
1) The Handmade Burger Co
Situated on St Vincent Street, this restaurant serves up a number of delicious choices. Meat is on the menu, of course, so this is an ideal place to bring your carnivorous friends, but we herbivores can select from a clearly labelled list of meat-free options. There’s the Cajun Vegetable and Bean burger, the Veg-Mex, a Sweet Potato and Bean burger, the Thai Vegetable burger and a Chickpea and Quinoa burger ranging from £6.95 to £7.85. Of this selection, I cannot recommend the Sweet Potato and Bean burger enough. I’m a sweet potato fiend and if your taste is anything like mine then the expert composition of mango and ginger salsa spread across crunchy lettuce leaves, red onion and soft sweet potato and assembled perfectly between seeded burger buns will have your taste buns rejoicing in satisfaction.
This chain of Italian style restaurants is one of very few to cater for vegans in such an expert manner. Upon entering you are greeted with attentive customer service, simply ask for the vegan menu and you will be provided with details on the contents of every dish. On offer is a lentil ragú, spaghetti pomodoro and (brace yourselves) vegan pizza WITH CHEESE! The pizzas are made fresh in front of you in a wood fired oven and you can even request a gluten-free base. As soon as you sink your teeth into the perfectly cheesy-tomatoey dish your days of cheeseless pizzas will be behind you. And if that isn’t enough, there are even desserts made free from animal produce! Of particular mouth-watering note is the vegan dessert calzone, “Warm sugared dough filled with banana, caramelised pecans & blueberries. Served with coconut & chocolate ripple gelato”.
3: The Tiki Bar and Kitsch Inn
This little treasure is located on Bath Street, close to many of Glasgows top bars and the famous Sauchiehall Street. I was never very keen on Thai food before a close friend introduced me to it and let me tell you – I’m glad I took the plunge! Before my first visit I emailed The Tiki Bar to clarify the options that were available to me. I found the staff to be very accommodating to my dietary requirements and discovered that the Tofu and Vegetable Red Curry from their dinner menu is both vegan and right up my street. Served with a side of jasmine rice, the curry includes potato, tofu, broccoli and cherry tomatoes. Ordinarily I would pick through the vegetables and make a bee-line for the tofu, however the intricate blend of tastes come together in this dish in a manner so perfect that I clean my plate on every visit!
My personal favourite place to dine is Mono, situated at Kings Court. Not only is this a pub-come-record store but it serves a whole vegan menu. That’s right, every single item on the menu is free from animal produce – even the ice cream! Featured is a special main meal option written on a chalk board and two soups of the day. Whilst I advise all vegans (and non-vegans) to try everything on Mono’s menu, I must confess my love for their Mac and Cheese. I’m sure you all know how difficult life is without cheese (who doesn’t love cheese?) therefore this option on the menu is a God send. The dish comes with a side salad and choice between garlic bread or chips and is the most creamy, authentic tasting vegan mac and cheese you can get. To change things up a bit, I sometimes ask for Cajun chips as a side with my macaroni and the marriage between these two flavours is simply delectable.
5) Cafe India
Last on my list I have placed Cafe India, located next to Maggie Mays on Albion Steeet at the Trongate, because I have yet to explore their vegan options. My partner and I have a reservation for two here on Valentines Day and I’ve already planned my meal. To start I will no doubt devour the Aloo Tikka Channa, which is potato stuffed with chickpeas (wow). Next I plan to share naan bread and steamed rice as sides to my Tarka Dal, an Indian style red lentil dish which I can imagine taking my taste buds straight to heaven.
My mouth is watering now. I’ll be counting down the days until the 14th of February when I can try what Cafe India has to offer; I’ll post a detailed update on my findings whilst nursing a food baby.
There are many more places in Glasgow for vegans to take full advantage of, but these are at the top of my list for now. For those who say vegans can’t eat anything, I say “you don’t know what you’re missing”!