Where can you eat good vegan food in Suffolk?
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Struggling to eat out on your plant-based diet? Try one of these Suffolk cafes, pubs and restaurants.
So you’re vegan. Or you’re thinking about going vegan. It’s not easy eating a plant-based diet outside the comfort of your own meat and dairy-free home, but it’s certainly getting better. Satisfied they’ve ticked the gluten-free box, many cafes, restaurants and pubs are now putting so much more effort into keeping their vegan patrons happy. Gone are the days of having to pretend you’re OK eating the house salad while your mates chomp on burgers. Vegan food has become more creative, and more exciting than ever before.
Here’s just a selection of local spots where you can eat well without feeling like the odd one out.
Museum Street Café, Ipswich
This cafe’s long had a great reputation for making delicious, home-cooked, wholesome and hearty vegetarian food, and vegans are well-served too. You’ll find lots of things to choose from, be that warming vegan soups, curries (these are excellent) or something a little bit different – recently there was a bean, mushroom and carrot tagine with couscous salad and preserved lemon dressing. Fancy.
Tuddenham Mill, Tuddenham nr Bury St Edmunds
A multi-award-winning boutique hotel and restaurant that puts just as much effort into its vegan and vegetarian dishes as those on the regular menu. Expect unusual ingredients and exciting flavour combinations which will set those tastebuds on fire. At the moment, for example, there’s a lentil dhal with golden raisins, coriander and almond, a white bean ragout with girolles, cavolo nero and salsify, and king oyster mushrooms with sea beets, beetroot and pickled carrot.
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Make sure you book, because this place fills up very quickly indeed at lunchtimes. Using locally sourced organic vegetables, their own milled flour and their own blend of vegan butter, owners Holly and Christophe work culinary wizardry in their kitchen. The croissants alone are worth going for. Or the vibrant and healthy turmeric lattes. Don’t visit at lunchtime without trying their tartine – Cradle bread topped with a melee of goodies, from homemade vegetable creams, to roasted and pickled seasonal veg and salad leaves.
The Vegetarian Red Lion, Offton
If you’re dining out with kids in tow, the whole family will appreciate this bright and spacious, welcoming pub, which is vegetarian but with many vegan options. Portions are plentiful, and the flavours really are bang-on to the point that meat-eaters happily return here and don’t feel they’re missing a thing. Check out the peanut, lentil and wild mushroom burger with chunky chips and onion rings, or the maple roasted pumpkin and black bean chilli with wild rice and nachos.
The Swan, Lavenham
Head chef Justin Kett (winner of Chef of the Year in the Eat Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2018) worked with Delicious Nutritious in Felixstowe to come up with a fresh, plant-based additional menu for the Brasserie. Recent plates have included a pea and rocket salad with pumpkin seeds, watercress and lemon dressing, and marinated tomato salad with nut milk mushrooms, kohlrabi, courgettes, carrots and rocket leaves.
The Walnut Tree, Thwaite
A welcome stop off point on the A140. Jan certainly knows her flavours and you’ll be surprised by the breadth of options you have to choose from here. We can recommend the homemade sweet potato pakoras with red lentil dhal, mini poppadoms, salad and parsnip and chilli chutney. Curries are a favourite at the pub, whose smoked almond tofu laksa goes down a treat. And you simply have to try the vegan Oreo torte. It is fab.
This new café on Cemetary Road is closed until November 15 (2018) but is well worth checking out once the owners return. The menu has proved a real hit, and is totally plant-based. Earlier this month they were dishing out caramelised onion, squash, mushroom and vegan cream cheese pasties, leek, black kale and cashew soup, and colourful salads and curries. Ooh, plus vegan waffles too.
The Crown and Castle, Orford
Ruth Watson may no longer be at the helm, but the spirit of her food (regional Italian) lives on in the menus, with separate vegan and vegetarian menus offered and changing regularly. There are mainstays such as the vegetable fritto misto, while other plates could include an earthy Umbrian lentil ragu with girolles and cavolo nero, or roasted pumpkin and sage risotto with pumpkin seeds and house salad.
The Greenhouse Café, Felixstowe
Opened just a few days ago, this café is a real family affair, with mum, dad and their two daughters all working together to make Felixstowe the place to go for plant-based cuisine. Aside from the impressive drinks menu, supporting ethical growers, and serving Bury St Edmunds’ F and E coffee, you’ll find temptations such as homemade vegan cakes, blackcurrant croissants, and fresh homemade guac’ and homemade tomato salsa on toast (from the bakery in Walton).
The Marquis, Layham
Head chef Tom recently trialled several new vegan and vegetarian dishes – from delicate courgette flowers stuffed with grains and served with a spiced pepper sauce, to fennel tempura with crushed chickpeas and pickled fennel. Many of the new dishes have made it onto the vegetarian Christmas menu, and there is now always a separate vegetarian menu with vegan options. At the moment these range from roasted gnocchi with cob nut, sage and roasted artichoke, to red lentil curry with spinach and fenugreek basmati rice, naan, poppadum and homemade mango and lime chutney.