Three of the Best Vegan Cafes in Manchester

A New Hope for Manchester’s Vegan Diners

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Being Vegan, or having friends that are Vegan can often problematise the most pedestrian of City tasks: finding something good to eat.  Even as an omnivore, I can respect that in a world that is monopolized by meat and dairy friendly menus, vegans often have it hard enough, finding their only option in many a restaurant to be a tedious rehash of a falafel or hummus standard. However, I’m certain that there’s more to veganism than blended chickpeas. So to all the vegan readers, I implore you to banish your homemade packed lunch and withhold hope that there’s quality dining to be had yet. In this article, I’m looking at the top 3 places to eat in Manchester that don’t treat vegan dietary requirements as a hurried afterthought.  So if you’re looking for somewhere to go for lunch or dinner, day or night, Manchester’s City Centre can be a veritable siren call to quash your well-earned dining cynicism.  It’s worth stating that the vegan cafes I’m about to list shouldn’t be exclusive to vegans alone but are excellent choices for anyone; their only dietary need should be a taste for quality ingredients and expertly prepared food.

The 8th Day’s Child is Fair of Price.

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The 8th Day Co-Op is a café specializing in salads, light meals and cakes on Manchester’s Oxford Road, which doubles as an excellent health-food store.  Given its proximity to Manchester’s University district and it’s affordable pricing, the 8th Day Co-Op certainly sees its fair share of students and thus has a rather bohemian and vibrant atmosphere. However, during the many visits I have taken to the café, I have seen diners of every age and background enjoy the food provided, from families, to city-slickers which only affirms that delicious food is an equalizer as a draw for customers. The ‘8th day’ of the ‘8th Day Co-Op’ derives from rather romantic connotations. The famous Biblical quote is that ‘On the seventh day God rested after creating the World’, yet the original founders of the establishment took a humanist approach towards naming their establishment. In 1970, after the apex of the hippie movement, the café was originally named ‘On the eight day’, and was a New Age alternative crafts centre where ‘He, She or It could ‘create something better’.  Therefore, the 8th Day Co-Op is named so due to its egalitarian approach to staff management. Here, every employee is paid an equal wage and have equal stock in the business, meaning that every worker imparts all of their talent to share the responsibility of driving the establishment forward and providing excellent, nutritious and sustainable produce.

My favourite orders includes a selection from the Salad Bar, which can be purchased in a small or large portion size at either £3.05 or £4.05 respectively. I’d recommend the latter as the extra pound in price really does make that crucial difference in size. Made fresh each day, this is a very simple but very effective way of finding vibrant vegan and often-raw salads that have been made with equal attention to nutrition and taste. The salads are always bold, fresh and often zingy, incorporating an assortment of thoughtfully prepared vegetables. It is best washed down with a freshly made smoothie or shake, each at £3.45. These are sweet and punchy and are a great way to replenish and energise, you can even supercharge your drink with a shot of health food such as Organic Spirulina or Pulsin’ Rice Protein for an extra 60p. After a deliciously replenishing salad and drink, why not indulge with a tempting and often gooey dessert. A personal favourite is the vegan friendly Peanut Butter brownie.

Furthermore, one can truly eat guilt free both in a calorific and ethical sense, as the 8th Day Co-Op is an establishment supporting fair-trade. The establishment’s shop sells over 200 fair-trade products including from rubber gloves to rum whereas the café serves fair-trade coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

Although it is very easy to find satisfaction as a vegan eater, I do suggest slight caution when it comes to food options that may be deceptively vegetarian as opposed to wholly vegan. However, these are usually very clearly demarcated and are often options that are very clearly made with eggs, such as the Specialty Quiche. A trip to the 8th Day Co-Op truly does demonstrate that one can help themselves when helping others, and in doing so, satiate their vegan appetites with wholesome and delectable food.

Revolution is the Word, its got style, it’s got meaning.

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V Revolution is set in the heart of Manchester’s fashionable and laid back Northern Quarter. I shan’t offer any prizes in ascertaining what the V stands for. Truly vegan friendly, V revolution offers exclusively vegan food and drinks and therefore one can indulge away with reckless abandon, or eat in sensible moderation if your sense of restraint is exceptionally strong. V Revolution provides charm with its dining as it is also set out as an edgy and beatnik record store. What makes V Revolution unique amongst its vegan contemporaries is that it opts not to offer food that fits the traditional notion of vegan dining. It serves not what other entries on this list do remarkably well – health food and salads, but it is paradoxically rather meaty. V Revolution is an entry that prides itself on mouth-watering American Diner styled junk food that is junk in name only.

V Revolution is definitely the best provider of vegan burgers that I’m aware of, wherein dishes such as a chicken and bacon cheeseburger can be ordered in confidence that what you’re getting is decadent is moreish, rather than being a very clear substitute to meat. Simply, the burgers are nothing more than incredibly tasty. Other equally tantalising not-so-guilty-guilt food includes hot dogs, sandwiches and grilled cheeses. These are best accompanied by the dairy-free milkshakes, which are milkshakes in taste rather than content. Many a diner opts to exploit V Revolutions’ provision of vegan cheese, given the difficulty in accessing it elsewhere. V Revolution sells the delicious Violife and Seitan varieties.

After a trip to V revolution, I am satiated in both body and spirit, and am lamenting my lack of 1950s pompadour to coif. If Kerouac was alive today and he was a Manchester based vegan, I’d bet my last bag of Quinoa that he’d frequent V Revolution for lunch and probably dinner.

Time for Tea, Cakes, Ice Cream and overall Vegan Decadence.

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Teatime Collective further proves that vegan food does not have to be boring and predictable. Like V Revolution, the Teatime Collective offers tempting rather than sensible dining and brings a vegan approach to its lovingly made home cooked menu. I make no qualms in stating that the Teatime Collective very definitely offers the best vegan ice-cream and cakes that I have ever tasted, two types of confectionaries that are typically known for their reliance on dairy ingredients.  The varieties of ice cream and cakes available change on a daily basis but what I can say is that each flavour of ice-cream is creamy and satisfying and each cake is crumbly yet both devilish and ambrosial. If you’re opting for the savoury option, then I recommend an artisan baguette filled with roasted vegetables, artichokes and sundried tomatoes served with a pine nut and pesto dressing. At £4.50, this is a Mediterranean treat, which would undoubtedly satisfy any discerning pallet.

Furthermore, not only does the Teatime Collective make its menu available for take out, it makes its cakes to order. If you need a celebration cake for a much-loved vegan friend or family member, I cannot suggest the Teatime Collective with any more gusto. As the cakes are made to order, their flavour is only as limited as your desires for them, and vary in price from £25-£40 according to size and the amount of decoration.

In short, it’s time to celebrate the vegetable as valiant rather than vapid, as enticing rather than insipid, as a meal rather than as a side. Manchester City Centre has much to offer a vegan diner looking for somewhere suitable and dynamic to satisfy their appetites.

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