The campaigning activities of Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are designed to shock, with bucketloads of fake blood, semi-nudity and sexy vegetables. But have they gone too far this time? Quite a few cages were rattled when Peta announced last week that the best city for vegans in the UK is … Glasgow. Has Brighton really lost its crown?
Glasgow certainly has more vegan eateries than most cities, and its city-centre cafe bars give Brighton a run for its money. In the Merchant City area, Mono is an enormous airy performance space. The menu is light and modern, with vegan takes on popular international dishes – bean burritos, nasi goreng, Vietnamese salad and porcini risotto. Mono’s sister, Stereo, a popular bar in the Mackintosh-designed building that was once home to the Daily Record, is always packed and also offers live music along with an all-vegan tapas-style menu.
The 78 cafe bar in the West End has a cosier vibe, with a coal fire, comfy sofas and a proper old HMV 78rpm record player. For a slightly less bohemian experience, head to Saramago café bar at the Centre for Contemporary Arts for freshly baked organic bread and some vegan haggis fritters.
Glasgow, with its history of radical politics, innovative live music and bar-based socialising, is a good fit with veganism. More generally, towns with large student populations and influential communities of academics are good places to look for vegan and vegetarian food. Old trading ports, too, have a history of diversity. Scouseveg, Liverpool’s campaigning veggie social group, meets at The Egg Café on the roomy top floor of a Victorian warehouse. The menu is not particularly adventurous (quiches, soup and garlic bread), but the boho vibe is alive and kicking.