This seems to be a hot subject – PETA announced a “best city for vegans” list which The Guardian reported on and VegFest has an award for best vegan place in its hilarious nominations list (which distant celebrity is the best veggie? Live Calves Vs Swine Flu? Who will win!). There’s also been some talk about which bit of London is the best, which is always an impossible argument because everything is so spread about here (see previous, and no doubt many future, blogs).
These discussions are fun to have, and I’m glad Glasgow ‘won’ the PETA award because it has some brilliant vegan eating places and that’s one of the many reasons I love going there. It’s an independent place and it’s the fierce and feisty towns and cities that tend to be most receptive to vegans.
But let’s not fixate on the places where the star vegan eateries all flock together – the comments section of the article (which has the usual ‘aren’t vegans CRAZY?’ standpoint, but let’s leave that for now) shows there are individual cafes in strange and special places which are treasured especially more because they’re the only vegan game in town. Conversely, there are some cities where there might a lot of vegan-friendly joints but the quality and imagination isn’t always there (afraid to say that Brighton, you’re guilty as charged).
To avoid getting bogged down in totting up mere quantities of vegan eats, I suggest three questions which you should ask of your local vegan scene, whether that means one cafe or loads of them:
1. Can you get a cooked vegan breakfast, and can you get it before 9am?
2. Can you get good vegan pizza which has more than vegetables and tomato sauce and nothing else?
3. Can you eat vegan after 10pm?
4. Can you get fresh homemade vegan cake every day and not just on special occasions, and is it still available to you in the evening?
Any place that can answer yes to these is a top vegan city in my mind.
Here’s two things I experienced this week in London which means it answers yes to at least one of those:
1. Made the pilgrimage to Village Pizza for my girlfriend’s birthday which, despite its preposterous location in far West London, has the most incredible range of vegan pizza – we went for the Hickory BBQ-Slathered vegan chicken wonder and the Spicy Jalapeno fake-Pepperoni hot hot hot tastiness. There were three other options we could have had – proper vegan pizza options. It’ll remain a very-occasional treat when we can hike to the magic kingdom of Twickers, but in the meantime, Basilico and Papa Johns (for which I’m inexplicably obsessed by the franchising model) do a fine job of vegan cheesey pizzas
2. Ate one of the new-ish pots from Inspirial, in which their rich and fine raw puddings live. They crowdfunded for new packaging recently as part of a wider expansion and now their pots o’pudding are whizzing across the land. Go seek them out at a friendly store. We had a chocolatey one and a berry one.