Vegan Sunday brunch at Deaf Institute

Deaf Institute has been pretty vegan friendly for a while – they did a vegan club sandwich special a few months ago that I still have dreams about. But recently, they started up the vegan hangover club with a weekly changing menu of vegan specials. I couldn’t bloody wait.

Originally built in 1878 as a deaf institute (surprisingly enough), the stonework outside is pretty epic. Inside, it’s a classic mix of antlers and kitchy wallpaper, but they get away with it without it feeling painfully hipster or too on trend. Anyway, I digress – check out their gigs and general listings, they have so much going on and it’s a great venue.

Back to brunch

I’d heard rumours of pancakes but we got a very savoury menu. If you’re vegan or veggie yourself you’ll know the ‘pain’ of suddenly having to actually choose something instead of just scanning for the V that tells you the 1 thing you’re allowed. It was an intense and desperate 5 minutes choosing from these bad boys:

PicsArt_08-29-04.25.07
Brunch menu – changes weekly

We chose the seitan burger with cashew cheese, cashew cheese quesadillas (something I’ve really missed as a vegan) with pimped fries to share on the side. Yes the burger already came with fries so it looks a bit carb heavy but this is HANGOVER BRUNCH so get on board. Or go and look at these salad ideas.

The quesadillas were amazing, thin and crispy with a little bean chili inside, and guac and sweet corn salsa on the side. £6.50 well spent. The cashew cheese is the drizzle on top rather than melty inside like a traditional quesadilla – as amazing as that would be, I am picky with vegan cheese (violife sucks) so I’m not disappointed by this – would order again in a heartbeat.

PicsArt_08-29-04.26.18
Seitan burger

Next, seitan burger. This was probably the ‘worst’ plate. The burger itself was pale and quite bland – if you’re used to the very meaty-style seitan burgers at Brewdog, this is nothing like that, more like an old school Quorn chicken burger. But it was fine, and the toppings made up for it, with the cashew cheese again, aubergine, salad, sweetcorn and generous fries on the side.

Finally, the pimped fries:

PicsArt_08-29-04.28.36
Pimped fries

Good god. Smothered in bbq sauce, cashew cheese, jalapeños, smoky aubergine, tomato and fresh coriander they were perfect. 10/10. I’ll remember them forever. I had wondered if we were being greedy with the whole double fries thing but WOW no regrets.

Brunch opens at 3 on a Sunday and runs until late. There will be flyer littered around with celebs faces on – if you can tell the bar staff which of the celebs are vegan, you get free popcorn. SPOILER ALERT – they are all vegan, or were at some point in their lives.

Always been a fan of Deaf Institute, and now I love them ever more. If you’ve been on a different day let me know what the menu was!

 

Advertisements

Rainy friend date in Manchester

Last weekend, I played tourist in my own town. Manchester has so much going on, it’s easy to live here for years and still say, ‘oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to go there, I heard it’s good’. Add that to the new things that are opening all the time, new pop up shops, restaurants, gigs and art nights, and you could stay up all night every night and still not see the whole city.

On this occasion, we started with the Makers Market. This is a regular event that tours round parts of Manchester, including the Northern Quarter, Spinningfields, Didsbury and more recently, Chorlton. There’s a good mix of food and drink vs other arts and crafts, and all the traders are excited to talk to you about what they’ve made… and share some samples. I had a pumpkin samosa with sweet potato fries on the side (carb heaven) to wash down some amazing rhubarb gin tasters. There were loads and sweet treats, cookies and brownies, but not much for the vegan sweet tooth waaaa.

IMG_20160820_164934
Nordic Muse necklace and packaging – so cute, we can ignore the extra D in badass

I’d only recently been complaining that all my jewellery is cheap, years old and is getting a bit tarnished. I don’t really have much ‘grown up’ jewellery. I like the unusual, but not too gimmicky – which is why I found and fell in love with the Nordic Muse stand. Based on geometry and using a combination of metals it’s really simple and really striking. I treated myself to a little gift from me to me.

After nosing our way around every stall, from Beauty and the Beast style rose-in-glassware necklace, to paintings and postcards of local artists, we crept our way out of the drizzle and to Pot Kettle Black on Deansgate. The only thing missing from the Makers Market was vegan brownies (*sigh*) and after seeing just about every other brownie variant there I had a hankering. I like good coffee, and though I don’t pretend to know much about it, if you tell me you love Starbucks, I will judge you. The guys at PKB are lovely, knowledgeable and do a great brew if real coffee. The whole experience is considered, with your espresso served with a wafer and lemon water, and it’s all situated in the grand Barton Arcade, just off Deansgate. As it was a Saturday afternoon, we went for espresso martinis. Yes, they have an alcohol licence. Ready to take your money.

From PKB we went culturing – I’d never been to the John Ryland’s Library even though I must have walked past it more than a 1000 times. Even though it’s a functional library, you can visit as a tourist to see the exhibitions and the architecture, it’s not just for taking out a book and sneakily checking out the vaulted ceilings. Anyway, at the moment they have an exhibition on magic, demons and witches through history, as well as history of printing. After years of living here and never having stepped inside it didn’t disappoint, with gargoyles on the walls, artwork on show, and a scrap of paper from the earliest copy of the New Testament ever discovered, dated between 2 and 3 AD. I’m not religious, but that’s pretty cool. Free entry too guys. And their gift shop is full of macabre, weird and wonderful stationery, candles and books.

As we left, the rain kicked in again (classic Manchester) and we moved on to Nexus Art Cafe in the Northern Quarter, which is also home to the Salford Zine Library (not in Salford). A zine, in case you don’t know, is basically a self-published magazine. The library has more than 1500 on all sorts of topics, typically a5 and printed in black and white for ease of self-publishing. Check out some of the titles and topics on their site.

Anyway, we were fortunate enough to get the Nexus tea garden to ourselves – even though it was raining (still), there was a covered section which was perfectly dry. While we sat there, a church choir were singing across the way, which felt very surreal.

IMG_20160820_164429

 

Final stop was Dough. I’ve written about Dough before, they’re great for catering to every dietary requirement you could possibly have, but they’re just not actually that great at the dough part, which is ironic. If you like a very thin & crispy pizza you’ll love it. But I’m more of a chewy dough gal.

IMG_20160820_175709
Vegan cheese veggie pizza at Dough

 

I’d love to hear your recommendations on best things to do – the more unusual and undiscovered the better! Bonus points for vegan brownies. xxx

Easy office salad inspiration: healthy, tasty, colourful and NOT BORING

There are currently two major schools of thought in the salad camp. The first is the traditional, but does it really fill you up/ isn’t it really boring. The second is a newer faction. These people have transcended the humble leaves and carrot on a plate and evolved it into salad jars with layering, Buddha bowls with lineated quadrants, and name checking shit you’ve never even heard of. The salad has been gentrified. Continue reading “Easy office salad inspiration: healthy, tasty, colourful and NOT BORING”