Did you know there's a vegan deli in Lowestoft?
PUBLISHED: 20:00 20 June 2019
Vegee brings homemade plant-based food and a vegan store to the coastal town.
Mark Gee never set out to become Lowestoft's first vegan deli. It just turned out that way.
The chef, best known for working his culinary magic on fish and seafood at his restaurant, Mark Gee at the Tramway Hotel, was coaxed into opened the new venture alongside his vegan daughter a year ago on London Road South. Last August the fledgling business moved to the hotel. And, despite his daughter moving away, Mark's deli has survived, trailblazing for the vegan movement in this little corner of East Anglia.
Vegee, as it's known has, says Mark, been "doing quite well" although it's not been without its challenges. For the restaurateur, used to chucking butter, wine and cheese into sauces, having to rethink the basics has definitely worked the grey matter. "It's cheese that's the hardest," he says. "If you want to make a lasagne you need a cheese sauce and it can be hard to get it right with vegan cheese but we've found some vegan parmesan that's actually quite good now. It's been a lot of work, more than catering for gluten-free, but it's been fun trying new things and researching."
Vegee is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday for takeaway, with the opportunity to sit in the hotel's courtyard (or bar if the British weather's not playing ball).
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Everything is handmade daily at the deli, from cakes to quiches, with lunch ranging from mezze boxes and salads, to pies.
"And we stock vegan pizzas, vegan cheeses, smoothies and soups too."
Giving an example of what diners can expect, Mark reveals the current menu. "This week our boxes have onion bhajis, which we make, with a samosa, saag aloo, mango chutney and mint yoghurt. We've got a vegetable, asparagus and parmesan quiche, and a Caesar salad with coconut bacon! I've also made a harissa macaroni pasta salad. A lot of things I make up in the mornings. This week for the bakes we've got banana and peanut butter loaf cake, flapjacks (we have those on most of the time) and Black Forest gateau as well.
"We're getting busier and busier."