Apparently eating less meat is one effective (and easy) way to fight global warming – sorry, extreme carnivores. According to the UN, raising animals for food is a top contributor to environmental problems, globally and locally. So at this stage in the game, cutting down and eating veggie is a pretty awesome thing to do – and ace new campaigners Reducetarian agree. You might even try some delicious things you never thought about eating before.
Right now, Leeds boasts an impressive array of restaurants and food shops, bursting with veggie and vegan treats. Here are a few places that the master herbivore and the curious food enthusiast alike should check out.
Grove Cafe, Cardigan Road
Grove Cafe is a fantastic little gem in the Burley area of Leeds. Because it doesn’t advertise as a specifically veggie and vegan café, it's quite often overlooked. But it's worth going that little extra distance to experience what's on offer. There's a variety of Indian style starters and mains, including tasty tofu fritters, vegan chicken gourmet curry, and soya, mushroom and pepper biryani, and their vegan pizzas are to die for. Plus, everything is available to takeaway. They also cater for non-veggies and the gluten-free.
Global Tribal Café, Swan Street
Everything about this place exclaims peace and love. The staff are relaxed and welcoming, the bohemian decor is a refreshing mix of pastel colours and there is a shop on the ground floor selling a selection of incense, crystals, and zen-inspired home decor. The food at Global Tribal is suitable for vegans, veggies, gluten-free, and meat eaters. They present a variety of dishes from different cultures, including the refreshing Garden Roles with miso soup, hearty jambalaya, and a generous greek meze. They also offer an assortment of vegan and gluten-free cakes, baked and raw. Don’t even get me started on the vegan breakfasts and milkshakes.
Roots and Fruits, Grand Arcade
This adorable little café, in the middle of the Grand Arcade, is fantastic for both a light-bite and a full-blown three-course meal. Everything on the menu is totally vegetarian, with both vegan and gluten-free options. As well as an all-day breakfast, a mouth-watering veggie lasagne, and a heavenly, gluten-free chocolate cheesecake, they also do main-course specials, used from seasonal, local ingredients. A few seconds from the Grand Theatre and Opera House, it's particularly convenient for theatre-going veggies.
Out of this World, New Market Street
Out of this World is an organic food store devoted to the ethics of Fair Trade, and supplying us with only the best in local produce. Whatever you want, I guarantee they'll have it. Not only do they sell an exotic choice of fresh fruit and veg, and vast amounts of vegan cheese, milk, cake, and meat replacements, they also sell things like environmentally-friendly alcohol, cosmetics, skin care, and even hair dye.
Millies, Vicar Lane
This independently-owned wonder is a goldmine for ethical food and local Leeds greengrocery. It’s not just a food shop either; head upstairs and you'll find the Beauty Room parlour, which offers a variety of beauty packages, massages, and spa treatments, using only natural, guilt-free products. There's also an award-winning deli bar at the back of the shop with a small café where you can indulge in a slice of succulent vegan cake, salad, or the hot meal of the day. There is seating at the front of the shop. Millies is a joy to visit, and offers a fantastic range of vegan and veggie dried and frozen foods, as well as freshly baked bread.
Hansas Gujarati, North Street
Hansas have been cooking up celebrated vegetarian cuisine since 1986, and they have the reviews and ratings to prove it. Featured in the BBC Good Food Guide among others, Hansas not only offers an excellent dinning experience, but also cookery classes, their own cookbook, and outside catering for special occasions. Every dish is prepared to order, with special deals for parties of four, six and over. The range of starters, mains, and desserts is remarkable, with a whole section on the menu dedicated to vegans alone. If you will try going veggie, even once, let Hansas be the restaurant to sway you.
That Old Chestnut, Mabgate
The guys at That Old Chestnut are truly angels parading under the guise of bakers. A fully vegan, fully delicious bakery only a ten-minute walk from Leeds city centre, That Old Chestnut offers a selection of cakes, tiffin, brownies, and flapjacks that will have you drooling in no time. Because of the outstanding quality of their cakes, they've come to be the sole suppliers to many cafes, delis, and shops around Leeds, both vegan and non-vegan. If you can’t be bothered to go there in person, you can always order from their online shop, and have these heavenly sweets delivered directly to your door.
Yelp's Artful Part At Café 164. Photo by Matthew Kitchen. www.matthewkitchenphotography.co.uk