Friday, April 18, 2014

My favourite vegan dishes of Manchester

So Lent, and therefore my stint as a vegan, is coming to an end and I would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to tucking in to a big fat salmon steak with gorgeous crispy skin... However, I would also be lying if I said it had been as terrible and torturous as everyone expected - I haven't had to survive on tasteless leaves and berries, put it that way. In fact, I've been surprised at just how many places there are right here in Manchester serving up really tasty vegan food and also at just how accommodating people are when you ask them to adapt a dish for you. In the whole 40 days I've only been to one place where I couldn't find anything to eat. To show you just how many tasty treats I've managed to tuck into during Lent I thought I'd share with you my favourite dishes of the 40 days, and all consumed right here in sunny Manchester!

Vegetables Simple at Coriander
Chorlton's favourite Indian restaurant Coriander is a vegan-friendly haven, having dedicated a whole section of the food menu to dishes for dairy dodgers as well as boasting a decent selection of organic, eco-friendly wines. I thoroughly enjoyed my Vegetables Simple which was a clean, flavoursome curry featuring one of my all-time favourite vegetables, plantain. Teamed with a lovely, thick Dhal Tarka and a hot and crunchy village salad, this was a very memorable meal.

Vegan BBQ Plate from Fire & Salt BBQ 
The last place I'd go looking for a decent vegan feed would be a canal boat captained by The Liquorists during a bourbon 'n' BBQ event entitled "The Mississippi Booze Cruise", which is what made tucking into a fantastic Vegan BBQ Plate, created by the lovely Fire & Salt BBQ, such a pleasant surprise. The beans were so good that they prompted me to suggest to Bailey, in some seriousness, that we kidnap Mal and handcuff him to a bean lab, like Jessie in Breaking Bad. Oh and vegans, if you don't know what a jackfruit is, look it up. Look it up now.

Mushroom Pizza from Honest Crust
'Cheeseless pizza' sounds like one of the most joyless phrases in the English language, and it probably would be ordinarily. However, with Honest Crust's amazing, puffy sourdough bases and fresh, locally-sourced toppings, they actually pull it off. I've eaten one of these bad boys at every opportunity since Lent began (find them at BeatStreet, Vintage Village, Altrincham Market, etc) and, while I'm quite looking forward to going back for a cheesy one after Easter, this has always been just spot on with a simple drizzle of chilli oil and grind of black pepper.

Dal Makhani at Indian Tiffin Room
DO believe the hype surrounding Cheadle's not-so-hidden gem Indian Tiffin Room - it's brilliant. However, it's teeny-tinier than you could ever imagine and very popular so make sure you book a table to avoid disappointment. The brilliant staff are really helpful with the menu and told me that they could make pretty much anything vegan on request. The Dal Makhani was a tasty and robust no-nonsense affair and it's worth mentioning that the Idli were the lovliest and most perfectly formed I've had to date.

Kimchee Casserole at Koreana
We were very impressed with our first visit to Koreana thanks not only to the food but the enthusiastically friendly service also. As indicated by the menu, many of the dishes are easily veggiefied, providing a decent number of vegan options. I personally am always going to lean towards anything on a menu that involves two carbs, and the spicy Kimchee Casserole of tofu and transparent noodles served with rice was an excellent choice.

Vegetarian Chicken with Fresh Chillies and Garlic Sauce from The Miramar

My favourite Heaton Chapel Chinese takeaway The Miramar have a big bit on their menu stating that their "chefs are able to diversify ingredients to cater for your needs" and were excellent over the phone when I rang to ask about the vegan-friendliness of their food. Turns out all of their mock meats are made from soya and the Vegetarian Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup I always order from them is always cooked fresh to order and can be made without egg. Hurrah!

Tao Hoo Pad Kra Praw at Phetpailin
Phetpailin's menu describes its veggie dishes as "the nicest in town" and I would be inclined to agree. Then again, you're pretty much guaranteed to have your socks blown off by anything you order in this place, where they DO NOT mess about when it comes to flavour and spice. I adored every bite of this dish, especially the crispy basil leaves, spongy tofu and perfect sticky rice; it also had the additional advantage of relieving me of my flu symptoms for the duration of the meal, winner.

Sichuan Style Spicy Steamed Aubergine at Red N Hot
Anna from @mcrfoodies described the Sichuan Style Spicy Steamed Aubergine dish at Red N Hot as "the best thing I've ever eaten", before amending it to "the best vegetarian thing I've ever eaten in a Chinese restaurant". Tall praise either way but this melt-in-the-mouth aubergine TREAT is fully deserving. Top tip: don't waste a single drop of the oil it comes in - drizzle it onto your rice for flavour-tastic times.

So there you go! And as you can see not a single one of these was a specific vegan or veggie place, although V Revolution is still high on my hit-list. I'm certain there are loads of other great dishes vegan dishes out there just waiting to be tried in some of the places you'd least expect them.


  1. Well done you! Cheeseless pizza actually sounds alright to me - not a massive cheese lover - its what puts me off officially turning vegetarian. I'd never be able to eat in a restaurant again. I heard a lot about Cinnamon but not your other recommendations - Thanks!

    1. Agree - think in 'British' restaurants, going cheese and meatless is nigh on impossible!

  2. Would definitely recommend Jaipur Palace in fallowfield. Awesome vegan dishes!


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