The vegan movement has significantly risen in popularity, so much so that 2016 could be the most important year for vegans yet. It is estimated that 1.2 million people in the UK are vegan and young people and teens make up the highest proportion of that number.
Whether it’s for health reasons, animal welfare, or to be more ethically conscious, veganism is having a renaissance and is no longer just associated with hippies. The vegan lifestyle is being integrated into our community as a norm, a rather trendy norm at that.
A decade ago, you would have struggled to find vegan food at a restaurant whereas now many places cater to their plant-based customers. Vapiano is one of these restaurants and last week myself and Ellie were kindly invited to try the new vegan menu. Just to point out, Ellie and I are not actually vegans, we just fancied something different.
The vegan menu
The last time I visited Vapiano I was training for the half marathon. I enjoyed a beautiful meal of pasta with spicy sausage and copious amounts of cheese and Italian meats (you can read my post here). I knew that this would not be on the cards for my vegan meal, so I was apprehensive as to what it would be like. Although I have dabbled with the idea of becoming vegetarian for a few months now, so I was curious to see how (and even if) they would make the food as flavourful and appealing as the non-vegan items.
We started the night off with some bruschetta, topped with fresh tomatoes, basil and olive oil. I must admit my heart did sink a little when I refused cheese when asked by the chef, but it did taste great and was just as filling. All the food at Vapiano is prepared by the chefs in front of you, so you get fresh Italian food altered to your exact the taste.
We followed this with a fresh salad, consisting of fresh spinach, strawberries, red onions, pine nuts and home-made raspberry maple dressing, it usually also has goat’s cheese but we didn’t include this in ours. This was probably the nicest salad I have ever tasted. It was bursting with different flavours and the sweetness of the strawberries contrasted with the onions beautifully.
Next, we decided to share two mains so we could try out more of the vegan menu. I went for the Zuaa Caramellata, which was a risotto made with a Hokkaido pumpkin, orange juice and coconut milk to create a sauce, with a hint of vegan white wine, ginger, sesame & lime. The combination sounds weird, but it was gorgeous and it had quite a meaty taste to it.
Ellie got the second main, the Con Cipolle Balsamico vegan pizza, which was made with a tomato sauce, with balsamic shallots, courgette, aubergine, fresh basil & rosemary. This was really tasty, but I’m not going to lie I did miss the cheese. However, I am not a vegan and a massive cheese lover so that was bound to happen.
After that delicious feast we were too full to try any of the desserts, but we were assured that they had some vegan options on the menu. Vapiano is one of my favourite dining experiences in Manchester, the food is great and the service is always excellent. The new vegan menu demonstrates the brand’s initiative to be more inclusive and create amazing meals for vegetarians and vegans.
Read Ellie’s post about the night here.
*Many thanks to the team at Vapiano for a wonderful evening. All food and drink was complementary but opinions are my own.