Lindsey Bennett goes plastic and meat free in this virtuously vegan community cafe
In words, which would have made no sense to anyone even three years ago, I now identify as an allergy and intolerance free omnivore vegan ally, with flexitarian leanings.
Affiliations and inflammations (or lack thereof) stated, it’s better to get the food at CAN out of the way before truly appreciating this cute labour of love and the good intentions within Crosby’s increasingly vibrant food and drink neighbourhood.
I unwittingly picked the drink that had travelled the furthest, a ‘half bottle’ can of decent Sangiovese
Because in the few short months since opening, CAN - Liverpool’s only plastic-free, plant-based eatery - is shaping up to be a sort of club house/community bar/living room for locals, with a clear but understated environmental message.
Of course we both opted for pea and pies (£6), but were able to secure a taster of the jackfruit special, which was doing its normal duty of meat substitute doused in a thick sauce.
I broke my vow to avoid vegan cheese like the plague and chose the ‘cauliflower cheez’ pie. I now wish I hadn't. Chasing any semblance of cheese flavour proved futile for this lactose lover and the whole pie with its mushy cauliflower was a disappointingly bland affair enjoyable only for its warming qualities.
Blind Scouse pie was more successful, a colourful mix of veg in sauce, slightly under seasoned. Sadly, the ‘gravy’ (£1) which came with both dishes could not compare to the real thing, being thin and unsatisfying (although absolutely necessary).
The pies were served with excellent mushy peas and a ‘rough mash’ (£1), so called because the skins are left on. The mash missed nothing of the creamy extravagances of regular restaurant varieties and actually tasted enjoyably of earthy potato. A tiny side of pickled red cabbage (50p) completed the meal.
Sweet stuff is not so much dessert as all-day offerings of baked goods to accompany a coffee from the excellent Crosby Coffee roastery or tea from Liverpool Tea Warehouse. We laid into a vegan, gluten free chocolate brownie (£3) - again a structural marvel - and a ridiculously moreish giant ‘jammy dodger’ (£3), both provided by Cakehole Vegan Bakery - I had to be restrained from ordering another.
jewellery making and sustainable ecobrick workshops - that's a new one.
We met co-owner Ryan, who served us before sitting down for a long chat about their naturally evolving and non-proselytising vegan practice and their hands on approach to a plastic free environment.
CAN, 32 St John’s Road, Waterloo, Liverpool L22 9QG
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you're passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Cauliflower chez pie and peas 6, blind scouse pie and peas 7, fries/rough mash/red cabbage 6, Jammy Dodger 9 Brownie 7
Welcoming owners who take the time to explain
Cool, friendly, community cafe