VEGANUARY, of course, is not just for January. Once you get the taste for plant-based treats you may choose to adopt that culinary lifestyle all year round or at least incorporate vegan dishes in a flexitarian diet long after all that fuss about Greggs’ vegan sausage rolls is a distant memory. Proof that all this stuff has gone mainstream is the easy availability of vegan dies on the menu (and we don’t mean from Greggs’ counter…
DISHOOM For a restaurant whose signature dish is a bacon naan and whose Manchester opening special was lamb shank biryani under a pie crust Dishoom is surprisingly vegan friendly. Doubtless down to its roots in Indian home cooking and Mumbai’s Irani cafes. We’d recommend Chole puri (puffed puris next to a bowl of spiced chickpea curry made without butter and sweet halwa, main image); Bhel (cold crunchy puffed rice, Bombay mix and nylon sev served with pomegranate, tomato, onion, lime, tamarind and mint); Kachumber: (salad mix of cucumber, onion and tomato); Gunpowder Potatoes(soft skin-on spuds tossed with aromatic seeds and herbs); Bowl of Greens (broccoli, snow peas and spinach dressed with chilli and lime); and No-Butter Bhutta (grilled corn-on-the-cob rubbed with chilli, salt and lime).
Dishoom, Manchester Hall, 32 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BT. 0161 537 3737. Open from 8am on weekdays and 9am at weekends with a breakfast menu.
CANTO Fellow newcomer, serving Modern Portuguese cuisine in Ancoats, is now offering a daily vegan special, using the freshest ingredients of the day. Dishes introduced to date include: Caramelised cauliflower with avocado mousse and picada, and Butternut squash with cavolo nero and toasted pearl barley – which was so popular, it’s become a permanent fixture on the menu. Chef Carlos Gomes said: “We’ve been really keen to offer more for vegans since opening, so as a record number of people have signed up for Veganuary, we couldn’t think of a better time to introduce our daily specials. It’s great to be able to offer something original for our vegan diners, and of course, you don’t need to be taking part in Veganuary to come and enjoy one for yourself.”
Canto, Cutting Room Square, Blossom St, Manchester M4 5DH. 0161 870 5904.
TURTLE BAY Caribbean cooking isn’t just about jerk chicken and curried goat as proved by the three-course vegan lunch deal now available at £15 a head at this reggae-soundtracked chain with restaurants in the Northern Quarter and Oxford Road. Expect Sweetcorn Fritters to start, followed by Aubergine Curry and Salted Caramel Brownie for pudding. There are further offers too on their surprisingly extensive array of plant-based dishes, which include Crispy Chickpeas, Caribbean Hummus, Smashed Avo, Chilli Pineapple Salad, Sunshine Quinoa, Supergreen Salad, Sweet Potato Fries, Spiced Fries, Coconut Rice‘n’Peas, Steamed Rice, Green Herby Rice, Lemony Rice, Bara Roti, Sweet Plantain and Creamy Coconut Callaloo. Guests can mix and match these dishes as two for £5.40, three or £8, four for £10 or five for £12.
Turtle Bay, 46-50 Oldham Street, M4 1LE and 33-35 Oxford Street, M1 4BH.
LUNYA Catalunya and its beautiful raw materials is the inspiration for Peter and Elaine Kinsella’s Barton Arcade restaurant/bar. Check out its dedicated vegan menu here as well as the new winter menu, which offers the like of Tenderstem broccoli roasted with harissa, hazelnuts and maple syrup (in season it might be asparagus), Parsnips crisped and dusted with zahtar spices and drizzled with pomegranate molasses and chestnuts and Cauliflower Buñuelos, roasted cauli and cumin fritters given punch by a Canary Island Mojo Picón sauce. A perennial plant-based fave of ours, alongside the vegan paella, is the Escalivada, which features chargrilled peppers, aubergines, onions and courgettes on toasted sourdough with a Romesco sauce.
Lunya, Barton Arcade, Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2BB, 0161 413 3317.
COMPTOIR LIBANAIS Lebanese cuisine has much to offer a plant-based diner. This Veganuary, the colourful Comptoir chain, with an outlet in Spinningfields, is offering a special Lebanese Vegan Feast menu at just £12.95. It features a mezze selection of Red pepper hommos, served with pita bread and a Quinoa tabbouleh (chopped parsley, quinoa, tomatoes, mint and onions with a lemon and olive oil dressing). For mains it’s either Couscous Salad with grilled peppers, roasted squash and mixed nuts or an Aubergine Tagine (baked baby aubergine in a rich tomato and chickpea sauce). For dessert there is a Coconut Mouhalabia – a traditional Lebanese milk pudding made using coconut milk and topped with toasted pistachios.
Comptoir Libanais, 18-19 The Avenue, Spinningfields, M3 3HF. 0161 672 3999.
MAMUCIUM Andrew Green, ex-Lowry Hotel exec chef now running this new restaurant at The Hotel Indigo, has a way with meat. Witness his legendary Beef Wellington, which has made the transition with him. The same attention to details applies to his dedicated vegan menu. Starters include roast vine tomato soup or chickpea fritters, with hearty mains of pasta with grilled Mediterranean vegetables, wild mushroom buckwheat risotto and butternut squash, and spinach and chickpea curry. For dessert, there’s seasonal fruit with maple syrup and toasted coconut, fruit sorbets, or Bramley apple and caramel crumble.
Mamucium, 6 Todd St, Manchester M3 1WU. 0161 359 7499.
PHO More than a quarter of the menu at his Corn Exchange-based Vietnamese restaurant qualifies as vegan. Choose between crispy spring rolls and rice bowls topped with peppers, tofu and wok-fried Chinese leaf or fragrant Vietnamese curry. Even the eponymous noodle soup, Vietnam’s national dish, comes in a plant-based version, replacing traditional stock with a veg-led broth and topped with enoki and shiitake mushrooms. A healthy specials menu served until the end of February has new additions including rice paper rolls filled with crunchy veg, enoki and vermicelli and cauliflower rice bowls.
PHO, 37 Hanging Ditch Unit 15, The Corn Exchange, Manchester M4 3TR. 0161 464 9779.
ELNECOT We’re unabashed fans of this self-styled neighbourhood kitchen, which offers a carefully thought-out menu with more than the usual token nod to vegans. We recommend the likes of Disco cabbage, Wild mushroom pearl barley arancini, Jerusalem artichokes with parsley pesto and spicy dahl (above), finishing off with the exquisite. Vegan plum cake with tarragon and maple roasted plum. Chef/co-owner Michael Clay even a Sunday nut roast of real quality, accompanied by vegan gravy.
Elnecot, 41 Blossom Street, Cutting Room Square, Manchester, M4 6AJ. 07496 152373.
HARVEY NICHOLS The posh store’s Second Floor Bar & Brasserie has long taken its special vegan menu very seriously, head chef Matthew Horsfield crafting imaginative dishes spanning three courses. It might offer the likes of Wood-cooked beetroot, beetroot ketchup, beetroot crisps, beetroot powder and tofu as a starter or a Chick pea and spinach tagine, spiced vegetable couscous, pomegranate. Currently you’d expect to find a main built around the groundbreaking Moving Mountains® plant-based B12 BurgerTM, its pattie blend of oyster mushrooms, pea and potato protein, wheat and soy proteins, coconut oil and oats, given authenticity by ‘bleeding beetroot’. One sample menu partnered it with pulled jackfruit, onion ring, smoked garlic and paprika-seasoned fries. The Brasserie also offers vegan wine matches.
Harvey Nichols Second Floor Bar and Brasserie, 21 Cathedral Approach, Manchester M1 1AD.
THE PASTA FACTORY Vegan options have always been to the fore at this progressive operation, which makes its own fresh pasta – and has created its own vegan cheese. Go for the ravioli on the menu, either the earthy savoury, Triangoli de Funghi in Salsa al Truffo (filled with mushrooms, garlic, parsley and cashew and dressed with a black truffle and porcini sauce) or the silky chocolate dessert version, filled with figs & dressed in a creamy coconut sauce with coconut chips. You can also buy their Cibus Almondino artisan nut cheeses (four flavours) at Unicorn Grocery, Chorlton and On The Eighth Day on Oxford Road.
The Pasta Factory, 77 Shudehill, Manchester, M4 4AN. 0161 222 9250.