Trying New Things in Vegan Manchester: V-Rev, Little Aladdin and Mowgli 

Before I get back to writing about the West Country I have one more Manchester post. This one is about places that were new to me. 

Mac and Cheez Sticks

The first place I had to visit was V-Rev. I was so eager to get there that I went straight from the train with my rucksack on. I’d visited their previous incarnation on Oldham Street but only to grab stuff to take away. Now they are a bright, funky, cheeky restaurant on Edge Street serving vegan fast food. For my virgin visit I ordered the Jerry Zinger and Mac and Cheez Sticks. I have no idea how they make their chicken but it tastes just perfect. My only complaint, as a former Zinger Burger addict, is that instead of the cheap salsaish stuff KFC put on their burgers it was fresh homemade salsa. Delicious, obviously, but not authentic. Really delicious though.

Jerry Zinger

My next trip into town was to do some serious shopping. This time I was looking for a quick lunch. I went to Little Aladdin, a small 100% vegan hole in the wall Indian joint. It’s recently turned vegan, which is very exciting. The food is inexpensive and incredibly delicious. So, so good. I ordered the Chickpea Biriyani. It was beautifully spiced and very filling. 

Chickpea Biryani

I was clearly on a bit of an Indian food kick because I was also tempted through the doors of Mowgli. It’s a little more fancy pants. It’s all about Indian home cooking and street food. That’s from the website, I can’t exactly judge. They have a whole vegan menu but I didn’t feel like choosing I went with the Vegan School Tiffin for four tiers of food chosen by someone else. When it arrived the dishes where described as lentils, chickpeas, potatoes in tomato sauce and rice. The chickpeas and spuds were fairly standard. Good, but nothing different from the vegan option at the local takeaway. The lentils? I could have licked the dish clean. They tasted of pure comfort; warm, filling, perfectly spiced. In a food face off I’d probably go for Little Aladdin for taste and value but I’m not writing off another visit to Mowgli, especially if I had my meat eating family with me.


So then I’d tried three new to me places in Manchester. What next? Somewhere new for my last dinner out? Or I could just go back to V-Rev. This time I wanted to try a beefy burger. BBQ without the u. It had brisket, BBQ sauce and onion rings. It was great, though I think overall I prefer the fried chicken. This time I upgraded my fries though. I loaded them up with poutine. And we’re going to end the Manchester recap there because those fries are so brilliant I have no words.

Those Fries!

Exploring the vegan menus of my old favourites in Manchester: Teacup Kitchen, Fig + Sparrow, Pancho’s Burritos and the Bagel Factory

I’ve been running off to the centre of Manchester since I was a teenager. It’s a great place to hang out, shop and generally pretend I’m my alternative 15 year old self again. Only with fewer spots, less angst and more money. At least in theory. I visit my family a couple of times a year and I always make sure to take the tram into the city at least once but this was the first time I’ve been back as a vegan. How will my old favourites stack up now that my menu options are more limited?

Teacup… and banana and chocolate loaf

Teacup Kitchen is a favourite of both mine and Kate’s. It was the place I learned to love tea. The tea menu is still a highlight for me and it’s always really hard to pick. To match the theme visit I went with an old favourite: jasmine pearls. With your tea you get a timer and a clear pot to strain your tea into when it is perfectly brewed. And you do get a perfect brew. My other old favourite, eggs Florentine, is now out of the question so what should I get? Disappointingly the only vegan option on the breakfast menu is the porridge. I’m sorry but I hate porridge with a passion. Looks like I would have to have a cake then. I had a lovely banana and chocolate loaf. Although the cake was great I was sad not to be able to have something more substantial. I’ll probably just come here for tea in future.

Anyone got any Burrito photography tips?

Back in the summer of 2012 I was staying with my Dad for a week. He was working most days so I’d take the tram into Manchester, get a burrito at Pancho’s Burritos and settle in on one of the deckchairs in Exchange Square to watch the Olympics. I knew that I’d be able to get a vegan burrito because in the past when I’d ordered a vegetarian one they almost always stopped before putting the dairy on to make sure I said vegetarian and not vegan. This time I said vegan and they made me the perfect burrito. I was also happy to see an new tofu based filling alongside their original veggie option of beans. I’ll definitely keep them on my list of Manchester must-haves.

Cherry Chocolate Brownie

Fig + Sparrow is a cafe I found when I was desperate to squeeze a little extra out of one of my visits. I was looking of an independent cafe that was open early enough that I could pop in before my train. Fig + Sparrow opens at eight. It was so welcoming that I now get into town early on the day my train leaves just so I have an excuse to pop in for a drink, a cake and a knit. The vegan drink options are plentiful. They offer pretty much all of the non-dairy milks to go in your drinks which I appreciate even if I order a black tea. To go with the tea I got myself a lovely cherry brownie. It was dense, sticky and just the right mix of fruit and chocolate. The menu also offers those more substantial options I thought were missing from teacup. I spied a avocado toast and sandwich options.

Toasted Yum

Another last day tradition. When I’m in Piccadilly station I’m almost always tempted to go to the Bagel Factory. I think they have the best options out of all the sandwichy places in the station and the smell of toasted bagels really draws you in. I did think it would be out of the question now that I’m vegan but they had a vegan bagel right there on the menu. Cream cheese, avocado, tomato and black olives. Looking at the website they also list the Vegetarian Burger and the Peanut Butter and Banana Bagel as vegan. Yay!