Published on 6 Jun 2019
You’ll be spoilt for choice in this attractive cathedral city, and one of the most popular places to visit in Kent.
Veg Box Café
Handily situated opposite Canterbury Wholefoods, the bright, bold café has a daily-changing menu showcasing local seasonal organic veg. For breakfast, scrummy spiced granola competes with sourdough toast topped with turmeric-scrambled tofu. Or how about farinata (chickpea flour pancake): protein-rich and satisfying?
For lunch, there’s soup, jacket potato, hotpot (curry or stew), Buddha bowl, or bake (such as vegetable gratin, shepherdess pie, baked risotto). Thoughtfully, there’s a kid’s bowl option filled with whatever they fancy.
Staff are keen to share knowledge, posting recipes on Facebook and holding monthly fermenting classes. And to chillax, how about a free hand massage (available every Friday morning) perhaps accompanied by a turmeric latte and chocolate beetroot brownie?
4 St Peter’s Street
Embracing the hashtag #eatrealfood, Kitch Café prides itself on serving ‘delicious, fresh, homemade food made with all natural and wholegrain, seasonal ingredients’. There are all-day brunch and lunch menus – closing time is 4pm – and my pick would be banana and oat pancakes with dark chocolate and maple syrup.
Or try the full vegan that ticks the five-a-day box with sweet potato fritters, hummus, tomatoes, spinach and kale, with mushrooms and, of course, avocado on sourdough. The drinks menu hits the spot with all your hot and cold favourites including turmeric, matcha or charcoal lattes and no fewer than five protein-rich superfood smoothies.
14-15 Beer Cart Lane
Specialising in contemporary south Indian-style cooking with international influences, the award-winning Ambrette, in the heart of the city, has a vegan menu on offer, which excels in exciting flavours and amazing textures, like the crunch of the crispy, puffed-up hollow puri balls, and the tangy, lacy dosa (fermented rice pancake).
It was opened five years ago, by chef Dev Biswal, following the success of the original (still open) Ambrette in Margate. If you want to learn how to cook what you’ve eaten, Dev holds cookery classes, and you can also buy various dining vouchers – great for gifts.
St Dunstans Street
Going big on hearty pub grub like burgers and hot dogs, this is Kent’s only plant-based pub, and it opened two years ago. Painted dark blue with solid wood furniture, it’s the place for an unashamed blowout, or to win over omnivores, probably not for clean eating.
As well as classic toppings like blue cheese and bacon, burgers come topped with homemade seitan doner or mac ’n’ cheese, all with chips and side salad. Order those chips with a choice of 14 toppings, from gravy to guacamole, soured cream to smoked ham. If you have any room for dessert, how does a bubble-gum sundae or deep-fried battered Oreos sound?
8 Butchery Lane
Prettily decorated with traditional tiling and intricate lanterns that dapple the walls with light, setting the souk-like scene for an authentic Andalusian/north African (mauresque means ‘Moorish’) experience. For dinner, try the good-value vegan platter of meltingly soft aubergines in tomato and red wine, with tabbouleh, hummus, olives, falafel and paprika almonds, to scoop up with light, fluffy flatbread.
Or assemble your own plates to pick at from the vegan tapas menu, including patatas a la pobre (potatoes with onion, green pepper and garlic), butterbean stew or pepper and mushroom gratin with crispy aubergine fritters. And don’t miss the Moroccan fresh mint teas…
Places to visit
The cathedral city of Canterbury has been drawing visitors since the Middle Ages, when pilgrims visited the shrine of Thomas A’Becket. Get an overview of the city by walking the ancient walls, and explore the iconic 11th-century cathedral.
Admire the mediaeval architecture as you stroll the pedestrianised cobbled high street (rated as Britain’s second healthiest last year by the Royal Society for Public Health), perhaps popping into the independent shops of all types on King’s Mile.
For a fresh perspective, take a guided boat tour, or hire a punt, on the river Stour. Stock up at Canterbury Wholefoods (1-3 Iron Bar Lane) in business for over 40 years.
Where to stay
Wake up to an amazing view at the contemporary Canterbury Cathedral Lodge hotel (canterburycathedrallodge.org), inside the private grounds of the cathedral. Or go for the wonkily appealing mediaeval wooden beams and low ceilings of the House of Agnes luxury four-star B&B (houseofagnes.co.uk), once home to Charles Dickens and mentioned in David Copperfield, with city-themed rooms (match your dinner menu with Mumbai or Marrakech), an honesty bar and bike hire.
Kent-dweller Adrienne Wyper enjoys writing about food, travel and wellbeing – so bringing all three together on a tour of Canterbury’s vegan eating is ideal. See more of her work at adriennewyper2015.com
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