Tim Barford, organiser of VegfestUK Bristol talks to The Bristol Magazine about vegan eating in Bristol
I don’t eat out a lot in Bristol – being vegan, it pays to be very selective. There are only two vegan outlets in Bristol, all the other use meat and/or dairy to some degree. I’m an ethical vegan so it’s more than just a diet to me – it’s about treating animals with respect and compassion, so it’s very important that when eating out, the food is cruelty free. A lot of people in Bristol veggie or veggie friendly, flexitarian, and buy ‘happy’ meat and ‘freedom eggs’ and suchlike, as well as support the organic industry and the ‘slow food’ movement, but for me, going vegan and staying vegan is the ‘end game’ towards true compassion for animals, as well as being better for the environment, sustainable global food production, and of course your own health.
When it comes to eating out in Bristol, two places really stand out, and that’s because they are 100% vegan. The Spotless Leopard is a lovely catering waggon with wonderful food, and a beautiful lady who runs it. Handily, this mobile catering unit is often parked up just down the road from the Vegfest office. The vegan spanakopita is to die for. And there’s also the recently formed The Mighty Food Fight – another 100% vegan catering van, and equally awesome food and people…Bristol is SO lucky to have the Spotless Leopard and now The Mighty Food Fight serving up 100% cruelty free food for us.
Elsewhere, Café Kino is always a safe bet, with just a drop of the dairy stuff available for tea and coffee stops this from being 100% vegan., but very very close, and some great grub too, excellent value and a superb advert for the vegan lifestyle (nearly). One day all cafes will be like Kino. And of course the award winning Bristol institution Café Maitreya over in Easton is always worth a visit – bit of a veggie/vegan mishmash so not quite vegan enough for top marks, but very good effort from this award winning establishment.
My personal fave for eating out in Bristol has to be Hare Krishna’s on the Zetland – a mixed ‘omnivore’ kitchen but with a strong vegan tradition in this Kerala based food making it heaven on earth for vegans that like it spicy and tasty. There are around 15 vegan dishes on the menu, and they understand about the cross contamination issue too, so the food is always clean. And a lovely pint of (vegan) Cobra to wash it all down too.
There’s plenty of vegan options all over Bristol, and the website http://bristol.vegfest.co.uk will guide any vegans and aspiring vegans to many more decent outlets.”