24th Jan, 2018
The Leeds Meat Eater’s Guide To Dating A Vegan
Words by Phoebe Ryan
Congratulations, you’ve found yourself a vegan to be enamoured with. Be aware that they will always hold the moral high ground, forever more. And – to be frank – fair enough.
Being a vegan makes sense. You know it does. Besides the cruelty to animals involved, we’re polluting the world, big time – did you know that three of the biggest American meat companies – JBS, Cargill and Tyson – have, by estimate, emitted more greenhouse gas last year than the WHOLE OF FRANCE?! They nearly emitted as much as some of the world’s biggest oil companies, like BP, Shell and Exxon.
Livestock production now contributes almost 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.Beef is by far the most climate-damaging food we eat; to create one kilogram of beef creates 26.5kg of CO2 emissions. Second to that is lamb at 22.9kg – but vegetarians can’t feel smug yet, as third up comes…butter. That’s right, butter creates 12kg of CO2 per kg, and of course is part of the same destructive chain as beef.
Sigh. Why does something so bad have to taste so good? Some of us have astoundingly low levels of self-control and no moral compass. What are we to do?Going out with a vegan can help to alleviate those crushing feelings of guilt you may encounter when you pick up that tasty, tasty beef burger.
Whilst not perhaps an adequate characteristic by which to scout out your life partner (“must be over 6ft, must not consume animal products so that I can eat enough for two”), dating a vegan can be surprisingly eye-opening. It can open you up to a world of living without animal products – and realise that, nowadays, that world can actually be a very tasty place indeed.This all adds up to make life a breeze for vegans as well as for those of us who are more ethically-challenged when it comes to giving up the tasty beefs.
Where in Leeds serves great vegan food?
The first thing to bear in mind is that you aren’t resigned only to cafés labelled ‘vegetarian and vegan’ (though of course, they’re a solid option). Sometimes you’re just not in the mood for that amount of dietary smugness (which, as the gloomy figures above illustrate, vegans are totally entitled to).
And vegan drink…
Of course, drinks can contain animal products too. Beers and wines are often cleared with isinglass (made from the dried swim bladders of fish. Yum). A great weapon for your arsenal is Barnivore – a site where you just enter your beer/wine choice and, nine times out of ten, it’ll know it, and know whether it’s suitable for the vegan in your life. Easy peasy.
Top 5 vegan-friendly options in Leeds
Bundobust, Mill Hill
What a no-brainer. All of the foods on offer are veggie, and there’s a good selection of vegan options too. And, like the best vegan food, they won’t feel like you’re sacrificing flavour they’re just tasty dishes. Opt for onion, broccoli & kale bhajis from the new menu, alongside some Bhel Puri and a Tarka Dhal and rice. And there are plenty of vegan beers behind the bar – these guys know their beers, but Barnivore will help where there’s any doubt. Northern Monk keg beers tend to be unfined – a pint of great beer with no taste compromise.
6 Mill Hill, Leeds LS1 5DQ
Mog’s, Kirkstall Lane
This Kirkstall institution serves up the sort of greasy, naughty, meat-sweat-inducing grub that you may feel sorely lacking in if you (or aforementioned loved one) have embarked on a vegan journey. The vegan options are aesthetically pretty indistinguishable from the meat ones. This is the place for cheat meat – basically, vegan or not, everyone is enjoying a patty in a bun, some cheesy stuff, some pickles, some chips…phew. Not a carrot in sight.
55 Kirkstall Ln, Leeds LS5 3BE
Nichols Vegetarian Delicatessen, Harrogate Road
If you find yourself up in Chapel Allerton and in need of a lunch pitstop, Nichols is a great call. Not just a deli, but a café too. The menu has lots of tasty options, both veggie and vegan – think dhal, Buddha bowls, chickpea rotis and a great assortment of sarnies and wraps – not to mention brunch. Aaah, brunch. They also serve really reasonably priced wine, if a bit of booze is just what you need for your brunch. Never crossed my mind, obviously…
86A Harrogate Rd, Leeds LS7 4LZ
Little Tokyo, Central Road
Though it’s supposed to be due to shut this year, we’re clinging on to this old-school Japanese restaurant for as long as poss. Alongside the terrifying gulping carp in the indoor pond and the bits of tree, pagoda and twinkly lights set into the ceiling, Little Tokyo also serves up some darn tasty vegan options. Their Bento boxes are amazing (and with vegan chicken and vegan duck on the menu, a vegan who misses the taste – if not the idea – of meat can satisfy their tum’s desires as nearly as possible). The drinks are all labelled up where vegan-friendly too – taking the effort out of your dinner choices.
24 Central Rd, Leeds LS1 6DE
Grub & Grog, Sheaf Street
Head to Sheaf Street for Grub and Grog’s latest incarnation. Serving up breakfast and lunch (plus dinner on Fridays and Saturdays), all dishes are clearly labelled – they’re vegan unless stated – (m) for meat, (f) for fish, (v) for veg. Think pea fritters with greens, herb sauce and tahini, a celeriac cake with cauliflower and nutmeg mash, greens, gravy and pickles, or, for brunch, one of their ‘havers’ – a Yorkshire oatcake with a range of fillings. Vegans can opt for root veg cake, slaw and herb sauce, whilst the meat muncher has the options of kedgeree haver, or meat with kimchi, too.
3 Sheaf St, Leeds LS10 1HD
Other great places for keeping it vegan:
Tharavadu, Mill Hill
Tharavadu serves up amazing Keralan food, which can be made vegan on request.
7-8 Mill Hill, Leeds LS1 5DQ
Grove, Cardigan Road
This Hyde Park takeaway could be the answer to your cravings for vegan food delivered – their vegan pizzas and curries will put an end to your worries about whether your Domino’s is vegan (FYI nope. Domino’s has no vegan options).
133-135 Cardigan Rd, Leeds LS6 1LJ
Hansa’s, North Street
The Gujarati food at Hansa’s, next to
The Reliance, is all veggie and many options can be made vegan. Really tasty, too.
72-74 North St, Leeds LS2 7PN
Humpit Hummus & Pita Bar, Corn Exchange
This Corn Exchange institution offers the ultimate ingredient in satisfying vegan food – the good old chickpea. Humpit are Leeds’ resident winners at the falafel and hummus sarnie combo – and it comes with great sides too. A fab lunch on the go.
Corn Exchange, Call Ln, Leeds LS1 7BR
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