There’s only one thing I love more than the city of Leeds, and that is good vegan food. So, when you combine the two of them… things start to get pretty exciting. Every Saturday, North Brewing Co – a brewery and events space on Tarverner’s Walk Estate – hosts a mini food festival called #EatNorth#EatNorth, which features loads of the coolest and quirkiest independent food vendors from around the city and beyond. This Saturday just gone, the 14th of July, saw #EatNorth go vegan – and what a treat it was.
Let me start by saying that #EatNorth is totally dog-friendly, which makes for lots of cuddles with friendly fluffs. This here is Fox, a little Jack Russell-Chihuahua cross, and she’s the baby of the guys behind Doner Summer, Yorkshire’s first and only vegan doner pop-up! Super sad to say that I was working until 6pm in Sheffield so I only got to #EatNorth at about 8pm – by which time many vendors had sold out or packed up, including Doner Summer. Not to worry, though, as they will be at Magic Rock Food and Drink Festival in Huddersfield on the 5th of August, and they will also be present at Leeds Beer Fest on the 6th-9th of September.
I was so sad to have also missed Little Bao Boy, because I adore Asian food, and their menu looked divine: Szechuan baby aubergine, Chinese lilly with shiitake mushroom, and teriyaki tofu… I’m not sure how I would have made my choice! Again, Little Bao Boy is usually not a vegan business (sad face), but they clearly know how to fix up a decent vegan option! I’m determined to catch them again some time soon.
We were also gutted to have missed That Old Chestnut, a 100% vegan bakery, with all-vegan ingredients operating in a totally vegan environment! Hooray, hoorah! They unfortunately don’t currently have a customer-facing shop, so you’ll need to pre-order for collection or delivery from their site. On offer at vegan #EatNorth, they had white chocolate and raspberry cake… peanut butter and jam cake… chocolate orange torte… peach and cherry cake… chocolate strawberry cake… chocolate chip cookies… and banana caramel cake! What a line-up! Which would you choose? Liam liked the sound of the white choc and raspberry, but I reckon I’d have gone for banana caramel!
Mor Mor was still about when we arrived, and boy were we happy about that! Unfortunately, Mor Mor is not a vegan business – they sell dairy and meat products, also – but they went vegan for this event, of course, and they had loads of tasty options on offer. They provide a contemporary take on Middle Eastern, North African, and Mediterranean street food. We went for the harissa & sumac cauliflower wings (pictured above), and the super seed & durran falafel Lebanese Khoubz flatbread wrap (pictured below). Both were delicious and great portion sizes, too.
They also gave us a little sample of the jackfruit from their jackfruit & chickpea shawarma, which was really tasty and moreish. If you’re not well-versed in herbivorous cuisine, jackfruit is a great place to start because it somewhat mimicks a very meaty texture and is super versatile and easy to season and flavour.
Also present at the event was junk-food newcomer Knave’s Kitchen, who recently opened up as part of Oporto Bar on Call Lane. I’ve already reviewed Knave’s Kitchen, as I was invited to test out their menu when they first opened back in March! This meant that I could easily recommend their OBB to my omnivorous friend Joss – the onion bhaji burger. It’s a super unique dish, and one that will truly become a signature of the brand. Their seitan kebab and seitan “fish” finger sandwich was also on offer on the day, but in-store they also offer katsu tofu curry and satay tofu. Knave’s is 100% vegan, so show your support and pop down to try some of their great dishes!
The main event for me, though, was the hot dog selection at Fat Annie’s. I’m a sucker for a hot dog, and with all the different egan hot dogs with different combinations of glorious toppings that Fat Annie’s had to offer, it was almost too hard to decide! I eventually settled on the Texas Jack which was topped with jackfruit, beans, vegan cheese, and nacho crunch… a good choice, indeed. Sadly their maple facon topped dog had sold out! Fat Annie’s found its permanent place in Kirkgate Market back in October 2016, and although day-to-day it is unfortunately not a vegan business, they always have a vegan option.
Being a brewery, of course, how could I not mention the fantabulous beverages on offer at #EatNorth? They had loads of beers and ciders on tap, clearly labelled as to whether or not they are vegan! I went for an apple cider which was super crisp and refreshing… I went for a couple of pints of this, actually. Liam went for a lager, and then later a pale ale. If you want to try North Brewing Co beers and ciders in Leeds, they’re on sale at Belgrave Music Hall and Headrow House, Wapentake and Sheaf Street Cafeteria. Or, head to North Brewing Co on Fridays between 4pm-10pm, and on Saturdays between 12pm-10pm to try them fresh from the brewery!
We had an absolutely fabulous time, with DJs playing, and loads of outdoor games to play too (we may have had a tipsy game of badminton in the dark). I cannot wait for the next vegan #EatNorth and will definitely be in attendance! In the meantime, support the local independent businesses I’ve mentioned here and keep the vegan dream alive!