That’s right, we’re back again. The members of my team are hungry after their holiday and raring to dive into as many restaurants, cafes and general eateries as possible for your benefit. This issue, to celebrate ‘vegan-uary’, I’ve sent the gang to two vegan-vegetarian restaurants around Lancaster to sample some of the vegan fare they have on offer. Let’s see what went down.
Whale Tail Café
The Whale Tail Café is a secluded, vegan and vegetarian friendly café/restaurant located down Penny Street, Lancaster.
“I have to admit, I’ve been a big fan of the Whale Tail Cafe for a while now; and my most recent visit has done nothing to change my opinion.
For such a small cafe they have a surprisingly varied menu, all of which is vegetarian or vegan-friendly. Plus, they do a fantastic chocolate cake. All big ticks in my book. My personal favourite has to be the salad platter; it’s tasty, filling, and tricks me into thinking I eat healthily.
There’s only one real downside I can see to this place, and that’s the pricing of the food. While it’s nothing short of fantastic, it can be a bit on the pricey side for a student budget. However, it’s a great place to make your family take you there when they come to visit. (I can confirm from experience.) Whether you’re a veggie, vegan or a meat-eater I can guarantee it’ll be worth the trip.”
“Hidden in a secluded courtyard just off Penny Street lies the Whale Tail Café. It’s a haven for both vegans and vegetarians – possibly meat-eaters too. Despite being met by possibly the most miserable man in existence manning the tills, upon arriving at the quaint café, there was a relaxing and calm atmosphere. It really put you at ease.
In honour of Veganuary I ordered the Vegan breakfast. Although the vegan alternatives of sausages and bacon had no way near the flavour of the real thing, overall, I have to say the breakfast was pretty tasty. Following my breakfast, I was still slightly hungry, so I ordered a slice of vegan chocolate cake from Mr Miserable, which I had no complaints with.
If you have a craving for home cooked vegan food, then I can happily recommend Whale Tail as the place to go. However, you must remember that it is still only a café – so don’t be expecting the most spectacular meal you’ve ever had.”
“Honestly, if you told me yesterday that I would go for a vegan brunch and actually enjoyed it, I’d have thought you were off your rocker. I was majorly hungover and feeling quite nauseous this morning, so a vegan brunch was NOT on my list of cravings… However, the first thing that called to my northern soul when perusing the menu was, of course, a good old-fashioned sausage barm and chips. If there’s one thing I’ve never had, it’s a bad sausage barm.
When my food arrived, the outlook wasn’t good. I poked the sausages with my knife and they were rock solid; like lumps of bark on a whole wheat bun. I took a gulp of my tea, slathered on some ketchup and bit the bullet. Surprisingly, the taste and texture of the sausages were not too far from an actual sausage and they were by far nutritionally superior. In a twist of events, Whale Tail is somewhere that this northerner plans to revisit.”
The Herbarium is a trendy all vegan café/restaurant located down Great John Street in Lancaster, with a mismatched, bohemian vibe.
“The Herbarium is without a doubt my favourite cafe in Lancaster. Its atmosphere is perfect for both relaxation and some quite work hours away from busy university life, and its food is to die for; always ﬁlling and (mostly) healthy.
When I visited, I got some vegan Mac and Cheese, which was unexpectedly gorgeous. Normally, vegan cheese tastes like rubber, but in this case, they used cashew milk to give it that classic creamy taste. They never seem to go for extravagance, but instead simple meals made beautiful. Plus, being 100% vegan means all my allergies are catered for (usually a diﬃcult task believe me). What’s more, they have a yoga studio attached, and a studio upstairs for artists to hold workshops. They throw great parties and make excellent cake, what’s not to like?”
“This might honestly be the most chilled place in Lancaster; and I love it. The Herbarium is a funny little place. It’s one of those rustic cafes where no two pieces of furniture are the same and everything looks hand-made; which is in no way a complaint.
Their menu is a bit of a funny one; it’s not on a particular day by day schedule, the people working there just make whatever they have the ingredients for. So, it’s a bit of a roll of the dice in terms of what you’ll get, but I can guarantee that it’ll all be fantastic. I went for an aubergine pizza (vegan-friendly, as is everything Herbarium makes) along with an oat milk cappuccino, and I was very impressed. I’m not even the biggest fan of aubergine and it was still great.
Whether you’re looking for a full meal or just a quick coffee, I’d say this is one of the best places around right now.”
“The Herbarium, from the moment you enter it, gives a distinct feel. Maybe it’s the gentle music, or the wood flooring, or the plant life strewn about the place. Perhaps, I muse, as I eat a delicious slice of vegan cake, it’s simply how much I’m enjoying the food.
There’s also a range of tea, along with a ‘tea of the month’, to go with their excellent food. The range of seating is varied, but it has a cobbled together, comfortable feel; I have spent many happy hours with friends here in the past, and the Herb’s atmosphere is certainly one of the biggest contributors to that.”