Time to forget the stereotypes of meat-free food being sad-looking salads and stews. Manchester is a stand-out city for top-class, cutting edge vegetarian cuisine – and when better to enjoy it than World Meat Free Week 2018

World Meat Free Week (11-18 June) encourages people to try a vegetarian lifestyle for a week, whilst feeling the benefit to their wallet, waistline and wellbeing. Going meat-free also has an environmental impact, with a University of Oxford study indicating that widespread adoption of vegetarianism could cut food-related emissions by up to 63%.

Try it for a week. Then whether you fancy flexitarianism or #MeatFreeMonday, there are plenty of ways to eat less meat if you don’t want to cut it out completely. And whether you are vegetarian or not, it’s always worth checking out the variety of animal-free cuisine out there, with world-wide inspiration right here in Manchester. 

Veggie Royale at Alberts Schloss

Photo: Lydia Wakelam

This vast beer house on Peter Street also serves up some seriously good vegetarian dining options as part of their Cook Haus Menu. It’s great for breakfast too – so why not start the week with a Veggie Royale: a cooked breakfast, completely meat-free. That’s veggie black pudding, sunnyside eggs, mushrooms, beans, grilled tomato, potato rösti and sourdough toast.

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Nachos (with a difference) at Folk & Soul

Tuck into nachos with a difference at this new vegan kitchen and bar on the former site of Odd Bar in the Northern Quarter. Just look at the array of colour – thanks to yellow and blue corn chips served with mushroom chilli, tofu creme fraiche, pico de gallo and guacamole.

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Triple 6 Sandwich at Firebird Hope

Photo: Chubbie Vegan

Feast your eyes on this vegan chicken sandwich. That’s right, Firebird Hope based at Hatch MCR on Oxford Road serves up both meaty and meat-free variations on the chicken sandwich – and it’s much more than just a fillet and bread. This is the Triple 6 Sandwich, completely animal-free and combining a Seitan fillet, agave slaw, koji mayo and fast pickles all in a sourdough bun. A flavour-popping experience.

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Aubergine Tagine at Cosy Club

This charming eatery in The Corn Exchange now has an even bigger menu, including a range of vegetarian and vegan choices. Their Aubergine Tagine is an exciting change from curry or bolognese sauce, goes very well indeed with a beer – and that it rhymes, well, that’s just even more satisfying.

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Avocado & Sweet Smokey Beans on Toast at Nibble NQ

A cute café offering food made with love by an independent girl gang, close to Afflecks in The Northern Quarter. Especially good for all-day brunches and hearty lunches, feast your eyes on this sweet smokey bean and avo combo with a choice of sourdough, rye or gluten-free toast to soak it all up with. Healthy, too.

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Vegetarian Mezze at Bakchich

The place to go for some of the best hummus in town. This hidden gem of a Lebanese restaurant near Oxford Road Station serves veggie staples such as falafel, pickles, baba ghanoush and interesting salads. Combine them all as part of their Vegetarian Mezze plate, available for one or two people (though eating two-people’s-worth alone is a very tempting prospect). Their sweet potato falafel takes some beating, too.

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Bun nam room Hue at Pho

A Vietnamese restaurant in the Corn Exchange where the main menu is at least a quarter vegetarian and many options are also vegan. Particularly recommended is the big bowl of vegetarian Pho noodle soup, with a number of different options available including tofu and mushroom. Also try their Bun nam room Hue, a winning combination of hot and spicy enoki, shiitake and button mushrooms with pak choi. 

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Temple Dahl at Mowgli

So much of the menu at this innovative Indian eatery in the Corn Exchange is vegetarian, with a number of vegan and gluten-free options including veggie tiffin boxes piled high with curries and carbs. For street food and small plates to mix and match for easy meat-free eating, this is the place. The Temple Dahl is particularly recommended: a comfort-food combination of red lentil, toasted cumin, coriander and lemon.

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Out Of The Ordinary Salads at Oak Street Café

Tucked away in the Victorian Market Hall housing Manchester’s Craft and Design Centre, Oak Street Café is a hidden gem. It not only has great veggie and vegan savouries and sweets but an ever-changing selection of three fresh salads. Forget limp lettuce and tired tomatoes, these salads are certainly out of the ordinary – including the likes of funky pineapple salsa and cucumber, seaweed and blackened sesame. Enjoy three for £6.95, served with a hunk of bread, or just one for £3.15.

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Chocolate ice cream at Ice Shack

A dish of ice cream is a meal, right? At Withington’s ice shack it certainly is – and well worth the journey. This is a completely vegan dessert parlour, so all sweets and toppings as well as the ice-cream are completely meat-free. So much sweet stuff often has gelatine added, but you won’t find that here – just a selection of desserts and more than 20 inventive flavours of ice cream. Chocolate is one of their staples, and completely vegan.

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