Since Swampy camped out at Manchester Airport and Spider got up a tree in Corry, vegetarians have been given a bad name.
But in recent years, with Babe coming out at the cinemas and climate change buggering up the world, it’s all changed. It’s trendy and important to be a veggie nowadays, and there’s plenty of places to enjoy some great grub in and around the city.
Their first year in Manchester saw a fantastic review in the Guardian and a host of awards and accolades, so now is the time to get yourself to this great Indian street food and craft ale joint in Piccadilly Gardens. Brave the drug dealers and you are welcomed by a fantastic space with a varied vegetarian menu of traditional Indian street food dishes. Many of the dishes are also vegan and gluten free so there’s plenty to choose from. If you’ve got some mates, or are a greedy bugger, you should get the ‘Combo for 6’ which is every dish on the menu.
Bundobust, 59 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 1RG
If you find yourself in Withington; perhaps you’ve got lost trying to find the bloody post office, you should pop into Fuel Cafe Bar and check out their fully vegetarian menu. I have eaten here quite a few times and have always been impressed with the food, especially their Halloumi Fish and Chips and Falafel Burger. They also do a cracking veggie (and vegan) breakfast. On top of this you’ve got a top selection of booze and coffees, as well as plenty of gigs, open mic nights and other arty-farty things. Oh, and if anyone wants to challenge me to a game of Connect 4 in here – any time.
Fuel Cafe, 448 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 3BW
A few years back everyone was going absolutely crazy over Almost Famous and their massive burgers, so everyone else decided to jump on the band wagon and offer huge, greasy, pig-out food that would give Elvis the meat sweats just by looking at them. V Rev has made the genius step to provide a similar thing but with 100% vegan burgers, chicken, hotdogs and butties all piled high and ready to gorge on. Make sure you bring your stretchy pants because you’re going to be full, scoffing on such beauties as the Donut Have A Cow, Man! which comes loaded with 2 ‘beef’ patties, ‘cheese’, ‘bacon’, crispy fried onions and BBQ sauce. Their shakes are equally delicious, and they sell booze.
VREV, 20-26 Edge Street, M4 1HN
Scene Indian Street Kitchen
If you’re looking to experience some authentic Indian street food then Scene is a fantastic place to head, and their vegetarian and vegan options are abundant. The legendary Samosa Chaat will make you feel like you’re on the streets of Mumbai, while their fantastic Veggie Samosa Burger will bring you right back to Manchester with a big smile on your face. In addition to their vegetarian options they have also introduced a Superfoods menu, with a focus on high protein-low carbs, probably for all the people who take selfies in the gym and make me feel guilty while I sit on my sofa eating 9 packets of Skips.
Scene Indian Street Kitchen, 4 Left Bank, Manchester M3 3AN
Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen
Located down Withington end, Lotus offers a massive selection of all of your favourite vegetarian and vegan Chinese dishes. You can eat in or get it delivered straight to your fat face, and there is a selection of dishes almost as long as Andre the Giant’s inside leg. Many dishes offer a selection of vegetarian and vegan ‘meats’ made with soya proteins, soya fibres, wheat proteins and mushrooms so if you’re a veggie or even vegan then there’s plenty of choice. BB recommendation – the Aromatic Crispy Veggie Duck.
Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen, 536 Wilmslow Road, M20 4BY
Hard Rock Cafe
What is this geezer going on about?! Bloody Hard Rock Cafe? For vegetarians? Well, yeah actually – get a grip and let me explain. Hard Rock Cafe has managed to create the best veggie burger I’ve ever eaten in my life, and it’s massive and it will fill you up and you can have chips on the side. In fact, there’s two available, but the Cauliflower one wins with a patty made of cauliflower, garlic, goats cheese and breadcrumbs. So, ignore all the meaty meat-ness, ignore the gaggle of Italian exchange students buying over-priced t-shirts and get a cocktail and a veggie burger which you won’t forget. Trust me.
Hard Rock Cafe, The Printworks, Exchange Square, M4 2BS
Greens has been part of the West Didsbury scene for absolutely ages now, and it’s still offering inventive gourmet vegetarian dishes in a nice, homely setting. Between presenting Sunday Brunch and polishing his bonce, Simon Rimmer owns Greens, so you can expect a large menu full of appealing veggie delights. It can be a bit pricey but it’s a great place to take someone for a proper romantic meal if you’re trying to get off with them or looking to extend your doomed relationship for another week.
Greens, 41-43 Lapwing Lane, West Didsbury, M20 2NT
Indian Tiffin Rooms
When I used to work in Cheadle, I’d try to get to Indian Tiffin Rooms as much as possible. Although this was quite difficult – mostly due to the fact that it’s so small it can only seat about 3 midgets – when I did go I enjoyed some top-class Indian street food dishes made to represent the many different cuisines throughout the country. So you get dosas, curries, puris and even kebabs with about 90% of it either vegan or vegetarian. They’ve also opened up a newer, bigger restaurant on First Street, so if you can’t be arsed getting on the X57, head there instead.
Indian Tiffin Rooms, Chapel St, Cheadle SK8 1BR
also First Street, 4RL, 1 First St, Manchester M15.
Named after dirt, or perhaps the planet, Earth Cafe is the place to be for homely vegetarian dishes and drinks with a daily changing menu of delicious fresh plates. There’s always a wide range of things to choose from, with around 3 main meals and some sides/snacks to add on the side. On top of this there’s also a juice bar, organic teas and coffees, and dairy-free cakes to spend your dirty money on.
Earth Cafe, 16-20 Turner Street, M4 1DZ
One wouldn’t think the Japanese were particularly vegetarian friendly, what with Greenpeace constantly slapping them on the wrist for spearing whales through the blow-hole and eating eels – but Cottonopolis certainly are. Their main menu features a wealth of fantastic veggie options, but what sets them apart is an additional Vegan Menu offering a range of Plates, Snacks and Sides that anyone can scoff. Their Shitake Mushroom, Seitan and Truffle Gyoza are ridiculously moorish and if you bang a couple of plates of Edamame down too – you’re living the life.
Cottonopolis, 16 Newton St, Manchester M1 2AE
It closed for a bit and now it’s reopened in a new located just down on Chapel Walks opposite Sam’s Chop House and that Chaophraya place. Named after the year in which the Vegetarian Society started up, this place is proper serious about vegetarian food and it shows with a varied menu that can satisfy any tastes. Their Halloumi ‘Fish & Chips’ is pretty legendary, but if you’re watching your waistline then you can chomp down on plenty of other veggie treats.
1847 Manchester, Chapel Walks, Manchester M2 1HN
Eighth Day Vegetarian Cafe and Shop
Eighth Day on Oxford Road offers a wide range of organic vegetarian and vegan food, as well as bodycare, medicines and household goods that are veggie friendly too. So if you’re one of those who is like Macaulay Culkin in My Girl and allergic to everything, you’ll be sure to find something here you can eat before you wither away. They also have a cafe on-site offering a range of daily specials, butties, salads and smoothies should you get peckish on the way to The Footage.
Eighth Day Vegetarian Cafe and Shop, 111 Oxford Road, M1 7DU
Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Restaurant
Apart from Ikea, I cannot think of any other reason to head to Ashton other than to go to Lily’s Vegetarian Restaurant, that manages to offer some fantastic home-cooked Indian dishes without making you have to re-mortgage your house when the final bill comes. The food here is about as authentic as you can get this side of the Suez Canal with many specialities including dosas, chaats and those vibrant, lovely looking sweets that you’re too afraid to try as you walk past on the Curry Mile. It’s number 1 on Trip Advisor for restaurants in Ashton, and for the only time ever, I agree with Trip Advisor.
Lily’s Vegetarian Indian Restaurant, 75-83 Oldham Road, Ashton OL6 7DF
0161 339 4774
This & That
Legendary Northern Quarter curry house This & That isn’t primarily a vegetarian joint, but every day they will offer punters a choice of 3 veggie friendly curries to go with their rice. So expect plenty of chick peas, spinach, lentils and potato getting thrown around to create some of the best curry in the city. It’s cheap as chips too for the veggie only option, so not only will you be saving the world, you’ll also be saving your money. Saving to buy some booze probably – you dirty alchy.
This & That, 3 Soap St, M4 1EW