Eating Out: Liverpool
Alex Bourke of Vegetarian Guides beetles around Merseyside's veggie delights.
The European Capital of Culture 2008 makes a super veggie break. Visitors flock to the Waterfront for ferry trips, Tate Modern, the Beatles Story, and the Maritime, Slavery and Liverpool museums. There's shopping, football, pubs and clubs, or venture to Crosby beach and beyond for Antony Gormley's Another Place life-size iron statues, red squirrels, and vegan cream tea at the Crosby Tea Rooms. The city boasts a dozen veggie eateries, vegan festivals this year in March and August, and many mainstream restaurants offer a separate vegan menu.
The Egg Café, in a Victorian warehouse loft near Central and Lime Street stations, was for years the only full-time veggie place in town. Open late every day, it's incredible value at £9.75 for three courses. Mains include potato and pea Madras, spicy bean burger and Sunday roast. Their vegan wheat-free apple crumble and chocolate crunch cake have long been local legends. At night the candles come out for a more relaxed and romantic restaurant vibe, and you can bring your own wine for £1 corkage per bottle.
The Bagelry vegetarian café gives a nod to its Chinatown setting with specials like pho noodle broth with tofu, but beguiling bagels are their business, made with untreated organic Shipton Mill flour. Favourites include rye bagel with avocado and salsa, or jalapeño bagel with herby cashew cream cheese. There are also pancakes, porridge with blackcurrant compote and toasted almonds, and some unusual soups and salads. Finish with a slice of chocolate orange cheesecake and a bag of bagels for later.
You can try drop-in yoga or meditation before eating at White Wolf Kitchen vegetarian café and yoga studio, near the Cavern Club. Breakfast ranges from sourdough toast with avocado to the blowout scrambled turmeric tofu with tortilla, spiced black beans and seasoned seitan steak. For lunch have quesadillas, falafel, sweet potato and lentil soup with spinach, tofu and kale Caesar salad, or chickpea fake flaked tuna rye butty. They also serve juices, raw cakes, and matcha latte with cashew milk.
• Ital Fresh vegan Jamaican takeaway goes all rasta-raunt at night. Try cauli wings in ginger beer batter, jerk mushrooms, curried lentils, dumplings, and chocolate plantain dessert.
• Sanskruti vegetarian restaurant's huge menu includes South Indian dosas, Gujarati thalis, North Indian curries, and vegan ice cream.
• The Old Hardware Shop is a master of 'meaty' traditional café nosh, vegan-style, like the titanic triple toastie with sausage, pepperoni, baloney, chorizo, chicken, Cheddar and mozzarella.
• Greendays vegetarian café near Sefton Park specialises in cooked breakfast, pancakes and vegan desserts like Bakewell tart and chocolate and ginger cheesecake.
• The Juicery at Exchange Flags does smoothies, soups and raw vegan cheesecakes.
Crosby Tea Rooms
The Egg Café
White Wolf Kitchen
The Old Hardware Shop
Facebook: Greendays Café
Facebook: The Juicery Liverpool