Located on the edge of the Peak District and a popular base for those visiting Alton Towers, Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire have a growing vegan scene, says Caroline Butterwick.
Published on 12 Jun 2019
The Quarter is located on Piccadilly, an area of the city centre that’s great for unique independent businesses and also home to two other Stoke vegan favourites, Rawr and Klay. Their vegan cakes are made by wonderful local baker Tsp. and I love popping in for a latte and Oreo cupcake or a warming soup when I’m in Hanley.
The Quarter regularly hosts live music, so it’s a great place to unwind with a G&T and a vegan platter which features moreish delights like leek and pepper quesadilla and patatas bravas — perfect to share (or not share).
Out & About
There’s a wealth of local museums to visit, including many that draw on Stoke’s ceramic history (stokemuseums.org.uk). You can also visit nearby Alton Towers (altontowers.com) and enjoy beautiful walks in the Peak District (enjoystaffordshire.com).
Part of the quirky Loungers chain, Cappello Lounge has a large vegan menu — be sure to specify you are ordering from this, as it includes vegan-ised versions of meals from the main menu. Nothing beats a vegan BLT or their pulled jackfruit burger as the ultimate in comfort food. I like taking advantage of their ‘Tapas Tuesdays’ where you can enjoy three tapas dishes and a glass of wine for £10.50 — perfect for a mid-week treat.
Cappello Lounge is also a nice stop for a quick coffee while shopping in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and I highly approve of their music taste (think Fleetwood Mac, Dido, 80s and 90s hits and everything in between).
Corner of York Place and Merrial Street,
This friendly community café serves up delicious food at really reasonable prices — a cafetiere of coffee and a slice of homemade vegan chocolate cake will cost you the grand total of £2.60. Best of all is their vegan take on the ultimate Staffordshire delicacy: oatcakes. Oatcakes, for the non-initiated, are like oaty pancakes and are served with savoury fillings such as vegan cheese, mushrooms and beans.
With its community focus, Cultural Squatters is the perfect place for meeting local creative types taking part in activities such as poetry sessions. There’s a free ping pong table too, in case you want to give it a try in between eating hearty Staffordshire lobby, made with the café’s home-grown vegetables.
The Black Horse
381 Leek Road
My family favoured country pubs for meals out when I was growing up (the more rustic the better) so I feel right at home in The Black Horse, located on the outskirts of the city and a perfect pit stop for lunch if you’re heading for an afternoon walk in the nearby Peak District.
There’s a range of tempting starters, mains and desserts on their vegan menu, including pub classics like their vegan take on lasagne. I love their falafel burger, which comes with chunky, home-cooked chips, while my partner enjoys their vegetable burrito.
1-2 Silverdale Road
This is where I take people who tell me they ‘can’t stand tofu’ to show them how it’s done properly! Peaches is a cosy Chinese restaurant with knowledgeable staff, and the best way to experience it is to order from their table service ‘Eat as much as you like’ menu.
There is everything you’d expect from a good Chinese restaurant: crunchy, salty seaweed, spring rolls, vegetable samosas, and various tofu dishes (I usually go for sour version). Peaches is a popular spot so do book ahead to ensure you get a table.
Where to Stay
Located just outside of Stoke in the market town of Leek
The White Hart Tearoom and B&B provides overnight accommodation in comfortable rooms and is a perfect base for exploring the Peak District. Their tearoom is open seven days a week and offers a variety of vegan options, including all-day breakfast.
4 Pool Dam
Vegan pizza is really having a moment, with the likes of Pizza Hut and Papa John’s creating dairy-free options. Pizza Triangle does, in my partner’s words, ‘the best pizza in the country.’
They have their own vegan mozzarella and, as well as the usual vegetable toppings, a range of faux meats to choose from. If you prefer a stripped-back pizza, the Marinara option simply consists of tomato sauce, sliced garlic, oregano, fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil. As well as a small restaurant space upstairs, Pizza Triangle blessedly offers local delivery for those Netflix nights in.
Caroline Butterwick is a freelance writer based in North Staffordshire who loves nothing more than finding a cosy corner in a café and relaxing with a soya latte and her notebook. Visit her website at www.carolinebutterwick.com.