Let’s be real, I’m never going to become a vegan. It’s a way of life that I’m all in favour of and totally support, as long as it doesn’t include me because I really, really enjoy meat, dairy and sugar. Not together. That would be weird.
But, as time has passed, I’ve become more and more curious about this way of eating and keen to open my mind and mouth to sampling vegan food.
Based on Suffolk Street Queensway, Natural Healthy Foods is the city’s first vegan cafe and includes a shop selling plant-based produce too. They’re also unique in that you can choose your food and ‘pay by weight’ which is popular in Brazil, where admittedly the focus is on meat as opposed to plant based produce but its the same idea- give customers choice and control over the food they put on their plate. A sentiment I am totally on board with.
The cafe is a cool space, boasting a bright, industrial vibe of exposed brickwork, metal beams, drop lights and a mix of communal tables and high tables to enjoy your food.
A new brunch menu has recently been launched and I was invited along to try it out. The menu is concise, yet packed with a variety of options from smoothie bowls, cooked breakfasts, alongside hot drinks, juices and plant-based lattes, with no gluten, no refined sugar and no dairy. It’s served every weekend from 9am- 11.30am.
But, if you’ve had a big weekend and brunch ain’t your bag, Natural Healthy Foods also serve a selection of lunch and light bite style dishes that change regularly, including indulgent cakes to treat yo’self to.
For drinks, we order Chocolate Lattes (£3.95) made up of rich Peruvian cacao, banana powder and plant milk, whipped up into creamy, frothy glasses of deliciousness. Highly rate.
On to the food and we order The Natural Healthy Breakfast (£9.95) which comes piled high with scrambled tofu, aubergine bacon, tomato, mushroom, greens, beans, hash browns and organic gluten-free toast. It’s a generous portion, bursting with colour and texture and can hardly be accused of being boring vegan food- us non-vegans have all said it at one point. The hash browns come diced and seasoned well and the tofu, an acquired taste is lightly spiced and not that far away from eggs. But I miss my eggs.
We also order Baked Beans & Aubergine on Toast (£4.95) with a side of Scrambled Tofu (£2.50 per additional item). The aubergine is a clever play on bacon and is definitely one to recreate if you fancy a meat free option and the beans are cooked so that the sauce is that little bit thicker, which is a must in my book.
I really enjoyed switching up my brunch routine and having a change from bacon and eggs. It was great to kick-start my weekend off in this cool space and enjoy some big, hearty, plates of innovative food. Aubergine bacon? Never heard of it. Until now. The staff are cool and happy to explain how the cafe concept works and are clearly passionate about what they do which is always good to see.
I’ll definitely be back to try their insta-ready smoothie bowls, from acai to peanut butter which look absolutely beautiful, just check out Insta if you don’t believe me.