Traditional Neapolitan pizza to decadent fast food, and not a hemp sausage in sight
Here lads, I’ve got a good one. How can you tell if somebody’s vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll let you know!! Hahahahaha hahaha ha ha. ha.
Maybe if you were making sacrifices to your personal gratification and convenience in order to literally save the planet and not contribute to the world’s portion of sorrow, you’d mention it every now and again, too.
Not that these places do, mind. Aside from a little (ve) popping up next to dishes on the menu, these restaurants don’t make a big song and dance about the fact they go out of their way to cater to people on a plant-based diet. That doesn’t mean those bloody vegans won’t shout about it though, am i right?!?! Hahahahahahahaha no but seriously, intensive farming is a major contributor to global warming.
Inspired by street food stalls (actual stalls, not reclaimed ambulances staffed by ex-graphic designers) of Gujarat in India, Bundobust’s food is entirely vegetarian by tradition, rather than design - meat and dairy is a scarce commodity over there, not to mention really expensive when it is available, so sustenance is found in vegetables, pulses, and starches. At least eight of the dishes either are or can be made vegan, including signatures like Okra Fries, Bhel Puri, and Massala Dosa.
Their dedication to sustainability extends beyond the food and into what it’s served in, too - all the disposables used in Bundobust; the pots, plates, cutlery, and straws, are made from compostable plant-based material rather than environmentally unfriendly plastic and cardboard.
Instagram: @bundobust. Real life: 6 Mill Hill, Leeds LS1 5DQ
Corn Exchange’s Humpit is responsible for elevating hummus’ status in Leeds as something that you get as a starter at Nando’s if you’re trying to look worldly or something to dip a Dorito in at a buffet because the sour cream’s all gone, to an actual, legitimate meal in its own right.
Topped with a slick of oil, parsley, and some whole chickpeas, it’s perfect for dredging scraps of fluffy, warm pitta through. For a bit of variety, you can get it stuffed inside a pit along with fresh falafel, salad, and piquant pickles.
Instagram: @humpithummus. Real life: Corn Exchange, Call Lane, LS1 7BR
Alright, so this one’s not exactly “accidentally” vegan as it has to be specifically requested, but still, a vegan option in a traditional wood-fired Neapolitan pizzeria: look how far we’ve come. Order any of their vegetarian pizzas vegan, and they’ll top it with their plant-based mozzarella cheese before giving it a quick, 400-degree-celsius blast in the oven to give it that signature melty, charred, crispy effect.
Instagram: @ecco_pizzeria. Real Life: Headingley - 93 Otley Road LS6 3PS. Roundhay - 90 Street Lane, LS8 2AL
The Grub & Grog Shop
In a novel twist, this is probably the only restaurant where you’ll see (m) and (f) next to dishes to indicate that they contain meat and fish. Unless stated, it’s a given that everything else is suitable for vegans.
This isn’t A Vegan Restaurant™, though - rather than trying to torture nuts and fruits into meat and cheese substitutes, they’re simply used to their best potential - whether that’s as soups and salads for lunch, or in bigger dishes like Pea Fritters with herb sauce and tahini or Celeriac Cake with cauliflower & nutmeg mash, as part of their Friday & Saturday dinner menu.
Instagram: @grubandgrog. Real life: 3 Sheaf Street, LS10 1HD
Everybody’s favourite new-age local pub has always got at least a few vegan options on their seasonal small plates menu (which picked up a rave review not too long ago here), but the real jewel in their vegan tiara is the nut roast served as their meat-free sunday lunch, one of the best in the city, providing vegans with fond memories to get them through a week of unimaginative plant-based lunches from supermarkets.
Instagram: @brunswickleeds. Real life: 82 North Street, LS2 7PN
Temple Coffee & Donuts
Milk can be one of the most difficult things to find a substitute for - delicious, creamy, puss-and-blood-bleached-out-of-it, achingly cruel milk. Temple's baristas make their coffees, hot chocolates, golden turmeric teas, and speciality drinks like the Insta-famous black and pink lattes with a range of plant-based milks, so you’re bound to find one you like.
There’s also bare vegan options for their insane, West Coast-style glazed, filled, topped, and sometimes even syrup-syringed donuts to go with your coffee.
Instagram: @templecoffeeleeds. Real life: Unit 3, Burley Court, Burley Place, Kirkstall, LS4 2AR
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “vegan food”? Is it dirty, guilty, fast-food pleasures, or a carrot? Regardless of whatever your preconception is, Kirkstall’s Mog’s specialises in the former, and the entire menu of sandwiches and box meals is flexi.
That means that the filthy burger you’re imagining could be a double-beef big-mog, or fried chicken, or a vegetarian alternative to either. That coleslaw or sriracha mayo that’s pouting out the side of it? There’s egg and dairy-free versions of that as well, making everything suitable for vegans, veggies, and those of us without any conscience at all.
Instagram: @mogsleeds. Real life: 55 Kirkstall Lane, LS5 3BE