Eating a more veggie-friendly diet is one of the greatest and most effective things we can all do to make a difference to the planet. As we’re in the middle of National Vegetarian week, we thought we’d do our best to find the best places in Manchester to make this pledge even easier for you.
Starting with Shoryu, Piccadilly, which has gone green for National Vegetarian Week.
From Monday 13th to Sunday 19th, Shoryu Ramen (based in Piccadilly Gardens) will be offering an exclusive vegetarian set menu, as well as brand new dishes – including a heart veggie alternative to their popular Karaka Tan Tan ramen. For this limited time, diners can enjoy an authentic three-course for just £22.
We popped down to sample the menu. To keep things fair, myself (a pescatarian of around sixteen years) and my partner (a proud but open-minded meat-eater) each tried the same dishes, and we have to be honest, we both left feeling pretty satisfied. To start, we tried the much-loved Shoryu Bun, which has seen a green makeover, coloured by matcha green tea. The bun comes with a range of fillings, including Atsuage Fried Tofu with Hirata vegetable sauce, or Grilled Halloumi with avocado and Japanese mayo, but we both went for the Grilled Halloumi. One of our favourite snacky dishes, the hirata bun is steamed to perfection, and in this case, was filled with an assortment of textures and sweet yet savoury flavours.
Moving on to mains, we both went for the new Quorn Karaka Tan Tan ramen, which was rich and spicy with Quorn mince marinated in white miso, garlic and chio chow, vegan soy milk and shiitake broth, all topped with a Japanese poached egg and chilli oil. Packed full with flavour, and saturated with notes of miso, nori seaweed, nutty shitake mushroom and warm spice. We admit we were apprehensive about the Quorn addition, but somehow, the textures all came together like magic.
To finish, guests are invited to enjoy some palette cleansing Mochi Ice Cream, with a choice of flavours (matcha, yozu, vegan chocolate). Consisting of a soft, sticky rice shell and filled with sweet ice-cream, mochi is a traditional Japanese confection that’s chewy on the outside and soft on the inside. If you’ve never tried mochi before, we’d definitely recommend giving one of these small, round bundles a go.
To drink, customers can also choose from the Japanese Royal Warrant brewery Gekkeikan’s Kobai Plum Wine, a light and fruity Strawberry Calpico, or brand new Kombucha drinks from Remedy Drinks. The Original Kombucha flavour is a sweet and sour fermented bubbly brew with apple cider notes.
Another amazing veg-dedicated Manchester favourite, Bundobust is situated in a basement, just down the road on the edge of Piccadilly Gardens. With fantastic reviews and a host of awards and accolades, this Indian street food and craft ale joint is well-worth braving a trip through the gardens. With a menu full of veggie, vegan and gluten-free options, there’s plenty to choose from.
We may not have paid a visit for this week especially, but trust us, Bundobust has been a firm favourite since opening in 2016. To pick a few of our favourites, we’d recommend; the Okra Fries (£4), coated in chickpea batter and seasoned with black salt and mango powder, the Bhel Puri (£4.50), a crisp and crunchy samosa pastry, puffed rice, peas, red onion and tomato, tossed in tamarind chutney and topped with pomegranate seeds. We’d also go for Bundo Chaat (£4.75), a layered taste sensation of samosa pastry, chickpeas, potato, tamarind chutney, yoghurt, onion, turmeric noodles and chilli sauce, the Tarka Dhal and Rice (£6), a classic mixed lentil curry cooked with cumin, garlic and chilli, served on basmati rice and a staff favourite, Paneer Kadai (£6.50), made with paneer cheese cooked in a deep cinnamon, fenugreek, red pepper and tomato sauce, served with bhatura.
New to the Manchester scene, we love Honest Burgers for their unlikely vegetarian offering. As far as burger joints in the city go, we’d put Honest Burgers right up there – but the fact they have such a great vegetarian option definitely scores them bonus points. Located on Bridge Street, Spinningfields, Honest Burgers is right next to Manchester Hall and next door to Dishoom (another culinary gem) and housed under a stunning marble-esque archway.
Honest Burgers have collaborated with Beyond Meat, bringing to the menu the Honest Plant Burger (£13.50). Topped with vegan smoked Gouda, chipotle ‘mayo’, mustard, red onion, pickles and lettuce. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best veggie burger I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying.
Ah Rudy’s… Where do we even begin? Perhaps with its crown position as one of the Top 10 pizza spots in the UK (Tripadvisor), or possibly with its recently announced Top 10 pizza spots in the world (Big Seven)? Either way, Rudy’s takes its place in our hearts and knocks any chain pizzeria out of the water. Just like in Naples, Rudy’s dough is made on site every day, and is left 24 hours to double ferment and just 60 seconds to cook. Each precious pizza is soft, light and floppy perfection.
While it’s true that Rudy’s isn’t specifically a vegetarian restaurant, there are some really great veggie options on the menu. If you like to keep things classic, try the Margherita and ask for vegetarian mozzarella, (£6.50) or if you’re feeling something a little more decadent, go for the Portobello, (£7.50), topped with tomato, fior di latte, portobello mushroom, basil, oregano, parmesan and garlic oil, again – ask for this with vegetarian cheese options. The menu updates fairly regularly, and there are always fresh specials on the boards, often with some lovely vegan options too.