I, like everyone else, am super excited about Christmas. I especially enjoy the look of panic in the eyes of shoppers as they struggle to decide whether socks (again) or something in the 3 for 2 presents section at Boots is the ideal present for their Aunty/cousin/work secret Santa.
Plus there’s the least German German market in the world, making the city centre even more of a pain in the arse than it already is to navigate. Yes I do want to pay £6 for a mug of non-descript ‘lager’ and a plastic chip, how did you know?
No, this isn’t a blog about what great vegan options there are at the German market, because like every decent brummie, I bloody hate it. Instead, in the season of awkward Christmas meals, I am going to try and make it about 10% easier for you by doing a quick rundown of places you can go for food with a group of people that include non-vegans. Apparently they have to eat too.
Even before Wagamamas had a dedicated vegan/vegetarian menu, their one vegan option, the Yasai Itame, was good enough for me to keep going back. Now they have a separate menu, with six different mains on it to keep you happy. Check out the Kare Burosu for some serious noodles. The desserts are the usual sorbets, but who goes to Wagamamas for dessert?
You could go to Zizzis just for dessert though. They have an amazing vegan chocolate torte that is delicious and I doubt any non-vegans would know it doesn’t involve some kind of horrific animal product. But it doesn’t, making it a million times more tasty. Zizzis also have pizza (which won a PETA award) and pasta options, again with a separate menu so you know you’re getting the good stuff.
More pizza here. Another separate vegan menu with quite a few options to get you excited, all topped with Bute Island cheese. Bute Island make Sheese, so they’ve got some good vegan cheese pedigree. Check out the Bute Island blazer if you like something spicy.
A local gem, I always recommend Cherry Reds to people who want some vegan food, or just food. As well as the ever-reliable vegan all day breakfast, they often have specials on, plus a trusty falafel burger. But most importantly they do great cake. Check out the red velvet cake if you want a big slab of super moist, super sweet cake.
Just across from Cherry Reds, Turtle Bay have a clearly labelled menu with some tasty vegan options. As well as a couple of curries to choose from there are great sides, including fried plaintain and dumplings, so you can make sure you’ve lined your stomach properly before you attack their 2-4-1 cocktail deal.
Another local favourite. Damascena has amazing Turkish/Middle Eastern food, which is obvious if you ever try to get a table at the city centre branch at lunchtime. People will queue for a seat, because the food is worth it. If you haven’t been before, check out the vegan Mixed Mezze, and get a taste of a bit of everything. Plus they have fantastic vegan brownies with almond butter that are worth a visit alone. There’s a new Damascena opening in Harborne in 2018 as well, definitely welcome news for anyone in the area who owns taste buds.
Ah, Bodega. If you haven’t tried this South American style cantina yet, then, well, you’re a fool to yourself. They do pretty much every veggie dish as a vegan option by removing the cheese. Sounds a bit meh but when you consider they replaced the sour cream dip with more guacamole, you can tell that they understand vegans, they know what drives us. Yes, it’s avocadoes.
I haven’t been to Tamatanga yet, but this is the place we have chosen for our works Christmas party (after I declined a trip to Pieminster, which has one vegan option that isn’t even a pie – clear insanity). The menu here though looks fantastic and they know what vegan means, and of course Indian food is a great go to for plant based nosh – the Chickpea curry looks awesome. I am hungry already.
All the places above have options for vegans, veggies and even omnivores (those weirdos) that won’t leave anyone feeling left out. I don’t know about you, but I like food and I get pretty grumpy if I see a vegan ‘option’ that’s removing the cheese and dressing from a salad (and still pay £8) and add a side order of fries. Yeah, I’ve done that and made sure it was an uncomfortable experience for EVERYONE involved. You’ve been warned.