I travel a lot around Somerset and Dorset with Liberty Loves – meeting new clients (and restocking their cake cabinets!), as well as selling at fairs and markets. Come lunchtime, I’m always on the lookout for vegan-friendly cafes and have found some real gems recently.
I love dishes that are full of flavour and bursting with fresh ingredients. I’ve found it’s often the quirky, independent cafes that really excel at this, and are usually more than happy to cater for different dietary requirements. Which is great news for us!
So if you’re looking for freshly cooked, delicious vegan cuisine in the West Country, here are my current top five places to try!
Who needs the Orient Express when you can dine in this absolutely charming railway carriage in Lopenhead. Based in a lovely setting next to the deli farm shop, the old railway carriage – originally built in the 1880s – has been lovingly restored and converted into a quirky café.
The owners make a real effort to cater for special dietary requirements – in both their café and farm shop – and serve an array of gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan products and dishes.
The ingredients that make up the lunchtime menu couldn’t be any fresher, and change every day depending on what comes in from the fields. The cakes are also really good.
Sweet Pea Café has only been open a few months and couldn’t be more different from its previous incarnation as a greasy spoon. It’s beautifully designed and decorated and the staff were really friendly. They describe their lunch menu as incorporating ‘colourful salads, artisan breads and piping hot soups’ (which all get my vote) and they had a couple of nice vegan options too. My meal was delicious and full of fresh ingredients.
They also serve seriously good coffee from Beanpress Coffee Co., along with a mouth-watering selection of smoothies and juices. I’m going to head back there for breakfast next time which they serve ‘til midday.
Next time you’re in Yeovil you must check out the Cow and Apple – a restaurant that will transform your vision of a burger joint. A great setting by the church, fun interior décor, and relaxed atmosphere are the perfect ingredients to complement Cow and Apple’s burgers.
I had the falafel burger (which they can make vegan on request) and sweet potato fries, which tasted amazing. They do a great range of ciders too.
I had the most amazing vegan mezze plate at The Potting Shed in Poundbury, it was such good value too. With seasonal menus and lovely produce from their deli – including olives that have been voted the best in the UK – you’re in for a treat. And if you like the look of a dish that isn’t vegan, they’re happy to tweak it to suit. They also serve excellent coffee.
If you’re in a new city and haven’t checked out the best vegan lunch spots, Wagamama is always a reliable option. The food is freshly cooked in front of you, served quickly, and they’re happy to cater to different diets. You can even check on their website which dishes contain allergens and if they can be modified.
Last time I was in Dorchester I had the Yasai Itame – rice noodles in a spicy green coconut and lemongrass broth topped with tofu and vegetables. Yum!
Over to you! Which vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants can you recommend? We’d love to hear your reviews!
Fancy trying my vegan loaf? I’ll have the recipe for you in the next blog…