This week, we were kindly invited along to River Beat on Wednesday to try their Vegan Tapas menu. The venue is located on the Gateshead side of the river, just down from the Hilton hotel. We had walked past a few times on our Quayside explorations, but never went in. Since we both went vegan, we have been increasingly hesitant to try new places in town, unless they have been recommended to us by vegan friends or on the North East Vegan and Vegetarians Facebook Group. Up until now, we had no idea that River Beat not only catered to vegans, but had an entirely vegan page in their menu. In fact, they offer 3 for £10 on all vegan tapas on a Wednesday night – a midweek treat you’d be mad to miss.
Over the last year, we’ve noticed Newcastle’s meat-free offering has grown at an exponential rate, which is great for us as we have transitioned from meat-eaters to vegans over the course of 12 months. Karma Kitchen is one of the jewels in the North East’s plant-based crown. The mother-daughter-run business operates from an Indian restaurant in the unlikely location of Newcastle’s famous Bigg Market and offers a menu of entirely vegan curries and side dishes delivered across the North East.
One year ago this month, I decided to give up red meat. After chatting with vegan friends Michael and Maisie (Obviously Vegan), and watching documentaries Cowspiracy and Earthlings, both myself and Craig felt like a curtain had been lifted and, within a matter of days, our bacon-eating days were over. At first, I figured being gluten free and vegetarin would be too difficult so I kept eating chicken until October last year. Craig, however, cut out all meat last April, and he has been proudly vegetarian since.
I kicked off my pledge to go plant-based with a visit to Newcastle’s only fully-vegan pub, The Ship Inn. Located opposite Ouseburn Farm, The Ship Inn seems like any other trendy pub. Branding itself as a ‘superfood pub’, this place serves exclusively vegan food – but without the label. To me, this is pretty cool as sometimes the label ‘vegan’ can turn people off or make people think of bland, tasteless food – The Ship Inn is anything but!
It’s been awhile since I posted a recipe. Since giving up meat for good, I have to admit I have fallen into the habit of eating the same thing most weeks. Experimenting with food can be hard when you have spent six years nailing what you can and can’t eat but every so often I do give a new dish a go! I threw this curry together for lunches this week – I’ve called it Thai-inspired as it’s not a thai recipe (it’s not a recipe at all, so apologies for the rough quantities) but it’s a good example of how gluten free vegetarian food can still be exciting – in fact this one is even suitable for vegans!