14 May 2018

16 Fab Places to Eat Out as a Veggie in North East England

I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years now and eating out as a vegetarian is so much easier now than it ever has been. Even opting for vegan food is getting slightly easier. And it's not just the big metropolitan cities that are offering such a range of choices. 

Newcastle and the whole of North East England have such a great range of places that it's now sometimes too difficult to choose. It's a far cry from when you were lucky if there was a vegetable lasagne on the menu, and once on our travels, we were even asked to leave a restaurant in Paris after we asked if they could offer vegetarian dishes. I'm so glad thing have improved!

national vegetarian week where to eat out north east england



16 Fab Places to Eat Out as a Veggie in North East England


To celebrate the start of National Vegetarian Week we are sharing our favourite places to eat out veggie and vegan style in the North East. Got a suggestion for where else we should try? Please leave it in the comments.

National Vegetarian Week 2018


National Vegetarian Week 2018 runs from 14-20 May and it's all about eating delicious and exciting veggie food. According to research by Kantar, a quarter of all evening meals eaten in the UK are vegetarian or vegan - and we've eaten a fair few of them. We much prefer it though when chefs have put some thought into the menu, educated their staff as to the ingredients and made it sound as delicious as the other meals on the menu, not just added a vegetarian dish as an after-thought. I also appreciate being introduced to new foods. We recently tried dragon fruit at Chaophraya - such an amazing ingredient - but more of that later this week.
dragonfruit
Veggie and vegan food is in high demand and the number of consumers choosing to reduce their meat intake is increasing at a great rate. So if you have ever wondered where the best places are to eat out as a vegetarian, then check out 16 of our favourite places to eat as veggie or vegan in the North East.


Vegan Food With A Pint

The Ship, Ouseburn, Newcastle

Very close to home, The Ship Inn, Ouseburn, Newcastle is a dedicated vegan pub. Located in the Ouseburn Valley, under Byker Bridge, The Ship Inn is one of the only pubs I know of that has an entirely vegan menu. Imagine going out, ordering food and not having to ask whether its suitable for a vegan to eat. You too can have this experience in Ouseburn. It's a family-friendly pub situated in the heart of the Ouseburn with a Vegan kitchen, real ales, cask ciders, cosy indoor or outdoor seating and it is also dog-friendly.

On the menu, you will find traditional pub grub with a difference. The difference is that it is all vegan! There is fish and chips, burgers, curries and nachos as well as desserts too. My favourite though has to be the 'Lucky Fish' dishes - either as a Taco or fish and chips.

where to eat veggie the ship ouseburn

where to eat veggie the ship ouseburn


JD Wetherspoons, Durham City

A Wetherspoons pub isn't somewhere we often eat out on an evening, but we were in Durham and staying opposite the Walkergate Leisure Complex, which has lots of casual dining restaurant chains, so we headed to The Bishops Mill in Walkergate to try out their new vegan dishes on the menu. JD Wetherspoons worked with The Vegan Society to create its vegan dishes and selected vegan options are free of all animal ingredients in production and manufacture and registered by The Vegan Society.

Choosing the vegan option leaves you with four choices of the main dish, a Quinoa Salad, a Five Bean Chilli, Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry and Teriyaki Noodles. There are many more choices if you are vegetarian. On this occasion, we tried the Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry and the Teriyaki Noodles. Great choices and we didn't really think of them as vegan dishes, even though they were. A great place to eat on a budget with a range of dietary choices available.

where to eat veggie jd wetherspoons

where to eat veggie jd wetherspoons

Pre-Theatre Special


Zaap Thai, Newcastle City Centre

Did you know you can get a two course Thai meal and a soft drink for just £10, in the heart of Newcastle? This deal offers 2 courses and a drink for £10 and is available Monday to Friday 11am - 6pm - perfect for pre-theatre dining. The menu does change every couple of months so please do check before you go however on our visit the deal was a choice of starter or main plus a drink and included veggie options of Poh Pia Tod - mixed vegetable spring rolls; Pad Preaw Wan - Stir fried vegetables and pineapple in a sweet and sour sauce; and Gang Panaeng - A rich Paneang curry sauce with lime leaves served with jasmine rice. I also got to try Oishi Ice Tea - so good!

where to eat veggie zaap thai newcastle

where to eat veggie zaap thai newcastle


Date Night


The Bohemian, Newcastle City Centre

For anyone reading who doesn’t know of The Bohemian, it was a Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurant with a bar and it's own vinyl record shop when we visited. It is now a wholly vegan restaurant on Pink Lane in Newcastle City Centre. They offer everything from a light lunch, or a cocktail and tapas, to a 3-course evening meal. 

For starters we had the Mushroom Quesadillas - really crispy and delicious and came with a pot of guacamole; and the Jack Fruit Pancakes with Hoisin Sauce, which inspired me to try and make my own at home. Then we had the vegan Black Bean and Walnut Cheeseburger, and the Biriyani Baji Salad which is a vegan dish and comes with a side order of vegetable samosas. For dessert we shared the vegan brownie. It came served with a delicious blackberry sorbet and chocolate sauce. I'm being very honest by saying its one of the nicest brownies I’ve ever tasted. Not too rich, not too heavy and I wouldn’t have known it was vegan without being told.

where to eat vegan The bohemian newcastle
where to eat vegan The bohemian newcastle
where to eat vegan The bohemian newcastle


Chaophraya, Newcastle City Centre


Located on the third floor of the Grey Quarter, accessed by escalator, lift or stairs, you escape the bustle of the city with views over Grey’s Monument from the Chaophraya Thai Restaurant. We have eaten here a few times now, always managing to find something new to eat from starters and mains to desserts. Their lunchtime menu is as good as their a' la carte and the new Vegetarian Set Menu, where 90% of the food is actually vegan, is amazing - lookout for a full review coming later this week. They even have cookery classes where you can learn how to cook their delicious Thai food too.

where to eat out veggie newcastle chaophraya

where to eat out veggie newcastle chaophraya


Breakfast

The Collage, Durham City

In Durham City, the restaurant at Radisson Blu is now called 'Collage'. It is inspired by Peter Blake - often called the "Godfather of British Pop Art." The English pop artist is best known for co-creating the sleeve design for the Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; the cover of the Band Aid single "Do They Know It's Christmas?"; the Live Aid concert poster; and he also designed the 2012 Brit Award statuette. The décor is littered with quirky bric-a-brac, drawings, and paintings and there is also a silver moped and a bike in the middle of the restaurant, honestly, see pic below!. It’s quirky and not too dominant but you definitely do notice it. 

We've eaten out in the evening and there are lots of vegetarian choices with a Chickpea, lentil, and kidney bean burger; butternut squash barley risotto; and roast spiced cauliflower dishes on the menu. The crushed avocado on toasted rye with roast tomato & chilli flakes starter is also very so tasty. But after staying there one night we also got to try the breakfasts where there is an abundance of fresh fruit, a choice of dairy and non-dairy milk, cereals, seeds, nuts, fruit juices, to accompany a continental or full English breakfast. And the best dish on the breakfast menu - the avocado and tomato muffin from the cooked to order menu. A totally gorgeous way to start the day!

where to eat out veggie durham radisson collage

where to eat out veggie durham radisson collage

where to eat out veggie durham radisson collage

Family Lunch


Turtle Bay, Newcastle City Centre

A Caribbean-themed menu just conjures up so many great images and thoughts of food with so much flavour, taste, spice, sweet and sour ... amazing seafood, one-pot stews, curry dishes, fresh and exotic vegetables all cooked in wonderful sauces … with plenty of spice. Turtle Bay is located on Newgate Street in Newcastle. Next to The Gate, in what you may remember was the former Coop building.

When we visited the new menu had just been introduced which included gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options making the menu much more accessible to dietary requirements as well as offering just more choice. The menu includes 16 options for vegans and a whopping 23 dishes suitable for vegetarians. A must to try is the Vital Veggie Platter - a sharing dish with sweet corn fritters, crispy okra, jerk pit grilled mushroom & peppers with coconut glaze, pepper roti, bara flatbread, spiced curried chickpeas & cucumber chutney, herb mayo & super green salad. On the recommendation of the staff for my main, we chose the vegan dish Ital Rundown. A coconut rundown sauce with butter beans, corn cobblets, carrots, sweet potato, coconut, herbs & spices, served with coconut rice ‘n’ peas & roti flatbread. This really was delicious. Tasty, filling and presented beautifully too. I’d definitely order this dish again. Yet there is so much choice!

where to eat out veggie carribbean newcastle turtle bay

where to eat out veggie carribbean newcastle turtle bay


Bistrot Pierre, Middlesbrough

Bistrot Pierre is a restaurant chain that serves great value, seasonal Anglo-French dishes which are freshly prepared using carefully sourced ingredients from local producers and artisan French producers and suppliers, in a relaxed and friendly bistro style. A new venue opened in Middlesbrough last year and we headed there as a family to try out the new Prix Fixe Lunch Menu

For a French-style restaurant, there was plenty of choice for vegetarians and a much-improved experience from trying to eat out in Paris! We had Brioche et champignons, Brie d’Auvergne for starters. Forestière Tartes Flambées - is a French-style pizza, and Gratin Méditerranéen - a vegetarian dish with Ricotta and spinach “veggie-balls” baked in a rich tomato and béchamel sauce. It was all really delicious as were the desserts - Gâteau au caramel and French crêpes with a mixed berry compôte and vanilla ice cream. It was well worth the drive to Middlesbrough!
where to eat out veggie middlesbrough bistrot pierre

where to eat out veggie middlesbrough bistrot pierre

where to eat out veggie middlesbrough bistrot pierre

where to eat out veggie middlesbrough bistrot pierre

Keepers Cafe, Dipton, County Durham

Keepers Café, is a mother and daughter family run business, on the Front Street in Dipton. It not only serves delicious food but also sells keepsakes too. It opened three years ago, and as well as the tasty homemade fayre, it also features carefully selected gifts and handmade pieces by local artisans and crafters, both regional and national. 

It has very tasty food and drinks and is close to 5 top family attractions, including Hall Hill Farm, Gibside, Beamish Wild, Beamish Museum and Tanfield Railway. Here I really enjoyed  The Cheese Platter which is basically a delicious veggie Ploughman's and came with a selection of Northumberland Cheeses, mine were Cheviot, Kielder and Reiver, served with chutney, grapes, caramelised onion, crackers and oatcakes. It was so tasty and filling - I am a real cheese lover.

where to eat out veggie dipton durham keepers cafe

where to eat out veggie dipton durham keepers cafe

Pizza & Flatbread


Bear & Natural, Heaton, Newcastle

At the Bear and Natural Kitchen on Heaton Road in Newcastle upon Tyne, you'll find a health-conscious café, run by a fully qualified nutritionist and serving up exciting healthy food and drinks, including chickpea pizzas and vegan milkshakes. These protein pizzas are made with chickpea flour and protein powder and are completely gluten free too. we tried two with different toppings. A Margarita with mozzarella, oregano and fresh basil leaves, and a Vegetarian with seasonal local vegetables. Each menu item is clearly labelling with the Kcals, Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein to allow you to make informed choices of what to eat too.
where to eat out veggie newcastle bear and natural heaton

where to eat out veggie newcastle bear and natural heaton

Central Oven & Shaker, Newcastle City Centre

Central Oven & Shaker opened at the end of 2016 in the location formerly known as The Lounge, opposite Newcastle’s Central Station, serving food from breakfast time to the early hours. Inspired by the pizzerias of Napoli, it aims to combine this authentic cooking style with the very best local produce. 

Wanting to try somewhere new I headed there for a business lunch with two colleagues. Looking for somewhere informal, with excellent service allowing us to get back to work after our meeting, and tasty food - we weren’t disappointed. The lunch deal offered 3 veggie options Margarita, four shroom (which I chose) and roast veg - accompanied by a salad choice of Rocket & Hazelnut or Mixed Leaf. For a lunchtime meal, the size of pizza was perfect. The salad not only crisp and delicious but also makes you feel a little bit better about having pizza for lunch. The fries were lovely but to be honest we probably didn’t need them but are worth tasting.
where to eat out veggie newcastle pizza

Ernest, Ouseburn, Newcastle

Ouseburn is, in fact, full of our local pubs. I have lived close to Ouseburn for nearly twenty years. I've enjoyed it as a student, a young professional, a newly-wed and lately as a parent too. As well as really cool pubs, not flashy ones just ones that serve great beer and food, its is also home to The Biscuit Factory, Stepney Bank Stables, Ouseburn Community Farm, Seven Stories, 36 Lime Street, Northern Print, The Blackfriars Ouseburn Cinema and Cobalt Studios.

Ernest is an independent cafe bar situated at the top end of the Ouseburn, that serves up honest food, drink, music and art. It is open every day from 10 am until late for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinking and dancing. On our visit there were specials available but alongside our pints of Brooklyn beer, we opted for a Guacamole Flatbread - A guacamole base with spring onions, sun-dried tomatoes, rocket, basil and mozzarella.
where to eat out veggie newcastle pizza

Burger


Smashburger, Newcastle City Centre

Smashburger opened its third UK restaurant in Newcastle last year. Located in intu Eldon Square in Newcastle City Centre, on the menu are handcrafted items ranging from smashed-to-order burgers, handspun Haagen-Dazs milkshakes, chicken sandwiches, salads, and a variety of sides. On our visit, I was pleasantly surprised to see not one but veggie burger options. And, as you can create your own by mixing and matching fillings, buns, sauces, toppings and cheese; and a number of premium add-ons - not only are there two options but much more to come back and try too.

I could also have opted for a salad but really wanted to try the burgers. However, there are two veggie salads, Spinach, Cucumber and Goats Cheese; and Harvest. Both come with raisins, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cucumbers, tomatoes & onions with balsamic dressing and you add a Portobello Mushroom too as a premium add-on. As much as I like the idea of creating my own for this review we decided to go with their recommended veggie burger creations

So we tried the Avocado Ranch Portobello Mushroom - fresh avocado with ranch dressing, garlic grilled Portobello cap mushroom, Swiss cheese, lettuce & tomato on a multi-grain bun; and the Sweet Butternut and Chickpea Veggie Burger accompanied by Haystack Onions and fries plus milkshakes.

where to eat out veggie newcastle burgers smashburger

Fat Hippo, Durham City

Located next door to The Mugwump, in a quirky Grade II-listed building Fat Hippo Durham is nestled in amongst the historic buildings on Saddler Street, the cobbled street that leads you up to Durham Cathedral from the Market Place. There is a full menu but being lunchtime we decided to test out the lunch menu on the day I met a colleague for lunch. The lunch menu is available weekdays from 11am-4pm. Burger options included Little American, Little Texas, Little Hippo, Little White Buffalo and a Little Spicy Bean. All of these burgers come with hand cut chips and are priced at £5. 

I chose the Little Spicy Bean and as a non-meat-eater, I wasn't disappointed. Veggie burgers are often dry, and to be honest often better cooked at home, but this one was delicious. The sweet chilli sauce definitely gave it a kick but not too hot for a lunchtime.
where to eat out veggie durham burgers fat hippo

Sunday Lunch


The Smeltery, Middlesbrough

The restaurant at MIMA in Middlesbrough is called The Smeltery and is run by artist Luke Harding and the team from The Waiting Room in Eaglescliffe, who have successfully run the award-winning vegetarian restaurant for 30 years. It is regularly included in The Observer Food Magazine’s Best UK Restaurant category  and has won the Best Restaurant in the UK award from the Vegetarian Society.

 The Smeltery is a slow food restaurant, building relationships with local small free-range and organic suppliers as well as high quality, high welfare producers of fish, lamb, chicken, pork and beef, in addition to Acorn Organic Dairy, Suma Wholefoods, Skinningrove Fruit Wines and Schoolhouse Brewery who already supply The Waiting Room. It has a quirky feel to it. I really liked the crockery, open kitchen and relaxed community environment that they are aiming to create. It was very relaxing.

We visited for a Sunday Lunch and there was not just one but three vegetarian options on the Sunday Lunch menu, all The Waiting Room favourites, Field Mushroom and Smoked Cheddar Cashew Plait, Celeriac and Goats Cheese Roulade, and Braised Fennel, Cauliflower and Butterbean Curry. We tried the first two. Both were delicious but our firm favourite was the Field Mushroom and Smoked Cheddar Cashew Plait. Tasty and very filling was our verdict. Again, not a small portion but on a cold, windy and wet day in Middlesbrough, the perfect comfort food. The desserts were amazing too! As a vegetarian it was a delight to have a choice for Sunday Lunch, it certainly wasn’t just meat and more meat.
where to eat out for veggie sunday lunch middlesbrough mima smeltery

where to eat out for veggie sunday lunch middlesbrough mima smeltery

The Stables, Beamish, County Durham

The Stables Bar, Restaurant and Brewery can be found at Beamish in County Durham, located in a converted 18th-century stable block at the back of Beamish Hall, a four-star 12th-century country house hotel on the borders of County Durham and Tyne & Wear. The Stables uses local suppliers and producers for fresh, seasonal stock, and also produce everything in-house from scratch wherever possible, including a daily range of artisan bread with yeast from the microbrewery - a great example of minimising waste. 

I'm often disappointed as a vegetarian when I see a great review for Sunday Lunch but then see that the menu only caters for meat eaters. Well thankfully at The Stables this is not the case. It was great to see a vegetarian alternative to a Sunday Roast dinner that didn't mean missing out on all the trimmings. On the day we visited the Vegetarian Roast was a Cranberry & Chestnut Stuffing Roast. There were other options if you aren't looking for a roast but it was a very generous portion and came with roast potatoes, new potatoes, gravy and the all-important Yorkshire - which was huge. Half-potions are also available for children.

where to eat out for veggie sunday lunch durham beamish stables

where to eat out for veggie sunday lunch durham beamish stables


The Best Vegetarian Places to Eat Out?


We have by no means exhausted great places serving amazing vegetarian and vegan food in the North East and we are looking forward to happily eating our way through many more. Free food Tuesday or the vegan Sunday Sunday Lunch at The Tyne Bar in Ouseburn - very close to home may be next on out list.

Where else should we try?

Deb x


Please note the menu choices relate to when we visited the restaurants, pubs and cafes - please check ahead before visiting.

To be kept up to date with events, new openings, recipes, things to do and child-friendly places to take the kids, plus giveaways then follow My Boys Club on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter too.
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national vegetarian week where to eat out north east england

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