This week on SouthseaFolk, Lou suggested shining a light on the Vegan possibilities in Portsmouth. As the resident vegetarian on the team with a passion for all food, I was happy to investigate further and chat with some of my friends who are vegan about where they go to eat. Whilst being vegetarian and vegan has certainly gotten easier and more commonplace, it’s still difficult to feel spoilt for choice with a menu and very often we’re stuck having “the V option”, especially my vegan pals. So I thought a good way to kick off this little celebration of all things plant-based would be to highlight 5 businesses that cater specifically for or at least VERY well, for vegans on our island. I also know a few places further afield, so maybe at a later date, I’ll do a guide for those who want to plan a visit purely based on places they want to eat (like me).
Anyway, back to business. Here are 5 places in Portsmouth to visit if you’re a plant-based diet fan, a true blue vegan or a curious meat eater who wants to know what the heck seitan is and how vegan mayo exists. These are in no particular order because there was no way I could rank the deliciousness on offer.
1) Hunter-Gatherer – Portsmouth’s only, fully vegetarian coffee shop. Located at 249 Albert Road, Lou recently discovered vegan pastrami (sourced from SGaia) and was blown away. I’ll be taking myself along soon for a deli sandwich after her rave review! They also offer a variety of beautiful smoothies and juices, cakes, fresh and delicious food as well as a small creative shop at the front of the store where you can purchase the work of local artists. Hunter-Gatherer hosts special nights from dance and DJ’s to an upcoming tasting evening of lesser known Spanish wines. Keep an eye out, there’s always something interesting going on.
2) Need Street Food – Tastes good and does good. Need has a neat and tidy menu of ‘the best bits’ as I like to call it; a select amount of dishes done really well with a dedicated vegan section that any meat eater would be happy to try. Hot dogs, seitan chicken burgers and an array of sides including Kentucky fried cauliflower and vegan buffalo soldier fries. Every time you eat with Need, you’re funding packets of life-saving food to malnourished children. Not ONLY all of that, it’s located in The Merchant House on Highland Road, so grab yourself a drink and tuck in.
3) Simply Wholesome – I’ve not been here myself, but from a good ol’ Instagram stalk and Facebook awareness it looks delicious. A tasty takeaway using gluten-free, plant-based and mostly organic ingredients to make fresh, plant-based dishes with love. Savouries available include ‘simply soups’ or ‘wholesome bowls’ as well as a fridge stocked with sweet treats, cakes and chocolate. Hot drinks can be enjoyed with plant-based milks and as much effort as possible is made to reduce any impact on the earth; recycling, using eco-friendly cleaners, composting and ensuring their take away containers are completely compostable or recyclable. Find them on Marmion Road.
4) Southsea Coffee – If you’re vegan or vegetarian in Portsmouth, you should already know about Southsea Coffee on Osborne Road. Always coming up with innovative dishes that reflect the seasons with an array of raw cakes, bites and the best cinnamon buns in the city (vegan!) against a backdrop of excellent coffee and community, their menu changes but the staples remain; smashed avo with customisable options and tostadas with different toppings. Sandwiches and Buddha Boards featuring homemade goodies are on the menu and coffee, smoothies and granola can be made using plant-based milks. Vegan waffles will be a regular Sunday feature, hooray!
5) Wild Thyme Wholefoods – An organic grocery store, co-operative and café all in one serving wraps, soups, burgers, juices, cakes, bites … you name it and they probably make it, releasing a weekly menu so you can plan a visit around your favourites. Located on Palmerston Road they offer the widest range of organic and natural products in Portsmouth. The food is homely, satisfying and made with confidence, ensuring that vegan customers are well nourished; pulled BBQ jackfruit wraps, hearty tagines and quiches. There is a small area to sit and eat or food can be taken away. Wild Thyme also host events including a monthly burger kitchen as well as recently teaming up with No6 Cinema to provide catering for a screening of Isle of Dogs.
Pop along, check out these local businesses and be confident knowing you’re going to be fed VERY well. Vegan week continues with a few more reviews, recommendations and a run-down of an amazing supper club I went to.