Being born in Birmingham in the UK, I was accustomed to living in a big city environment. Now I’m fortunate enough to live on the south west coast, far away from the metropolis, with the beach being a short walk from my home and my local, smallish, city of Exeter having some great vegan places to eat. So, you could ask, how do I manage to eat vegan when travelling for business? Man-Kind tells you how…
The UK’s Second City
My day job takes me all round the UK with my company’s head office being in Manchester. Some say it’s the capital of the north and I’d be inclined to agree. With a major international airport that rivals Heathrow, flights go to almost all worldwide destinations.
There is an abundance of hotels in the city centre to cater for business travellers and tourists alike. Most chain hotels are in the city and they range from 3-star functional hotels to swanky 5-star accommodation where you may even bump into the odd celebrity!
My Home from Home
The Principal Hotel, opposite Oxford Road Railway station, is my (and the Finance Director’s!) preferred hotel. It doesn’t break the bank and booking in advance can offer some real savings on the daily room rate. The hotel has undergone a major renovation whilst still retaining its elegance and grandeur.
Breakfast consists of a wide selection of fresh fruit and what appears to be a bottomless supply of soya or hazelnut milk for cereals, tea and coffee. When my work schedule allows, I like to take a leisurely breakfast and see what vegan delights the kitchen staff can whip up. Smashed avocado on toast is one of my favourites.
A Taste of India
Tucked away in a basement location off Piccadilly Gardens, Bundobust is one of my regular haunts serving delicious Indian Street Food. Their menu is all vegetarian with several vegan options clearly marked.
During my last visit, I had three dishes which, in reality, were far too much for me so probably best for those who have big appetites. Being a ‘school night’ I didn’t drink but I could see from the bar pumps and the drinks menu they had a wide range of craft beers and real ales – just check www.barnivore.com to see which ones are vegan.
As well as the Manchester location, Bundobust also has a bar and restaurant at Mill Hill in Leeds. Since opening there, they have been recommended in the 2017 Michelin Guide, featured in Time Out’s top 10 UK Indian Restaurants and been included in The Sunday Times’ Top 25 Vegetarian Restaurants.
Based on the quality of the food I experienced in Manchester a trip across the scenic Pennines to Leeds could be in order…
You Spin Me Round!
No trip to Manchester would be complete for any vegan if they didn’t visit V-Rev Vegan Diner. This venue is only an occasional treat for me as its wide selection of vegan junk food can be too tempting!
V-Rev is the city’s first and only 100% vegan eatery. It was established in 2011 and their current location on Edge Street, in the vibrant Northern Quarter district, is their second and largest venue in the city. They close on Mondays but are open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 11pm with the kitchen closing at 9pm. Arriving early evening, especially at weekends, is essential as the restaurant can get extremely busy.
Feeling hungry when I last visited, I ordered the Jerry Zinger Chkn Burger. This spicy fried chkn burger comes complete with cheez, house salsa, ranch dressing, lettuce and a hash brown. This is complemented with an enormous serving of fries which can also be upgraded to loaded fries!
As well as an extensive food menu, V-Rev has a wide variety of sodas, milkshakes, cocktails, draught beers, bottled beers, ciders, wines and spirits. A trip to V-Rev demonstrates that you can still enjoy junk food whilst maintaining a vegan diet. And don’t forget to check out the pictures of man’s best friends who have also visited!
Full English Breakfast
In my previous life as a non-vegan I loved hearty English breakfasts so when I discovered there was a pub serving a vegan alternative I had to try it out.
Mod’s Café is in the Thirsty Scholar Pub under the railway arches next to Manchester Oxford Road Train Station. The location was directly opposite the Principal Hotel so on the evening I last visited, a quick dash in torrential rain didn’t leave me too bedraggled.
The menu is very traditional and offers similar dishes to most menus seen in pubs around the UK, except everything is vegan. The inspiration for the café comes from the vegan chef. Last time I visited I ordered the all-day breakfast. This was a hearty plate of herby sausages, mushrooms, beans, grilled tomatoes, hash browns, toast and amazingly, vegan black pudding! Also on the menu is a large breakfast but on reflection that would have been way too big for me to finish!
The food is great quality, service is quick and the portion sizes would satisfy the largest of appetites. The café opening times are varied throughout the week to suit the chef’s hours of work so call before you go.
Manchester offers some superb vegan friendly eateries and restaurants which will make any vegan feel well catered for, whether visiting the city on business or pleasure. As well as the three venues mentioned, most of the chain restaurants have vegan options on their menus and are well represented in the city. Happy travels all!
* This is not a paid advertisement for:
- The Principal Hotel
- V-Rev Vegan Diner
- The Thirsty Scholar
we just think they are great!