Bradford’s budding vegetarian 
and vegan scene

by Sonia Sandhu

After months of lockdown restrictions a fundamental change to life as we once knew it, more people are living, thinking and buying differently. It is likely that new habits formed now will last beyond this pandemic, permanently changing how we live, what we value, and how and where we shop. 

We have seen a shift in focus to healthier food, shopping more locally and cost effectively, striving to limit food waste and buying more sustainable options… after a testing and uncertain time, this is hopeful for Bradford’s budding vegetarian and vegan scene, and its cafes and restaurants which are adapting and reopening.

On North Parade, Bread + Roses cafe is back with its speciality coffee and tea, and delicious, generous slices of cake. Well known for its strong, community vibe and a welcoming spot for hearty and wholesome lunches, you will find some old menu favourites available to takeaway, so do pop in for a vibrant and fresh mixed salad box with lashings of that homemade hummus, or a soul-hugging bowl of soup with your choice of bread, and herbs from the rooftop garden. And if you took up cycling as a new lockdown hobby, remember there is a bike rack right outside. Dogs are always welcome, there’s an abundance of plants and local art on the walls, and menu items are available as kids portions, too. Check out the socially distanced workspaces set up over the 4 floors of the building, if you are looking for a place to work from which isn’t your kitchen table. The cafe on the ground floor is a huge perk!

Up in Thornton, Plenty At The Square offer a weekly changing menu made with seasonal produce from local growers. Continuing to operate as a takeaway on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays, they are well worth a visit, alongside a scenic walk through the pretty village, for veggie and vegan burritos and stews finished with housemade pickles and relishes. Save room for their flavoursome cakes and finish with a great coffee. You can also place orders for organic and pesticide free veg boxes, supporting community farms and avoiding busy supermarkets.

Across to Shipley, where The Dandelion Cafe, based in the bright and open plan Holding Space, continue to serve up their menu favourites of artfully arranged mezze platters and those wonderful lemony noodles with dal, with beautiful vegan desserts supplied by Eden Pie. Nearby, check out The Willow Tree Cafe for their innovative take on Friday vegan ‘fish n chips’ and their all new spicy zinger style burgers. With parks and canals nearby, both are perfect refuelling stops on your walks. For a dining-in option a bit further afield, the award winning Prashad is reopen with its excellent Gujarati thalis, masala dosas and array of Indian street food starters. Do keep an eye out for the all new Freddie’s Bar in Baildon, which is hosting the occasional veggie/vegan 3 course supper club. And I know I for one, am looking forward to popping in to The Exchange Bar to try their new vegan toasties. 


We are still in the midst of this pandemic, and these small but resilient businesses have all adapted to the new ways of the world as best they can, reopening as takeaways and some even delivering – including Beat & The Pulse Catering who launched a new raw vegan sweets range, all delivered by bike around Bradford. I have been working away on new recipes and menus for my Indian inspired supper clubs which I hope kickstart in the not too distant future, when it is safe to do so, and am also running online cooking classes on the last Sunday of the month, if you wish to learn some vegan dishes with me from your own home. 

Bradford boasts talented chefs doing exciting things with vegetarian and vegan food, so do support your local veggie cafes and remember to be extra kind to the hardworking hospitality workers.


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