Thursday, 16 February 2012

Vegan in Reading

A couple of weekends ago I went to Reading to visit my oldest bestest friend Jude. Jude's brilliant and I was super sad when she moved away from Brighton last year. In one of her many jobs she works at The Reading International Solidarity Centre which coincidentally serves great vegan Ethiopian food at their Global Cafe. The kitchen at The Global is rented out by Tutu's Ethiopian Table every day except Sunday & Monday & they have a vegetarian section on their menu where everything is 100% vegan. Unfortunately we drank quite a lot of cider & sloe gin before going out to eat which meant that I forgot my camera & my phone. I'm a real winner! You'll just have to trust that it's well worth the trip.

I ordered the special vegetarian platter which comes with injera or rice & any three vegetarian dishes. I went for the Injera with Ater Wot, Difen Misr Wot and Tikel Gomen and Jude ordered Injera with three other veggie dishes so that I could try all of the vegan stuff, this is one of the many reasons she's a great bff! Everything was flavourful and delicious (although a little on the spicy side for me!) and I think the Ater Wot was my favourite.

We visited The Global again over the weekend to play Jenga & drink coffee. I remembered my camera that time!

I like everything about the global, it has a great community atmosphere, lovely people, great food, good booze & fun board games. Perfect.

The next day we went for lunch at Tampopo, a small chain of East Asian restaurants. The set up at Tampopo is very similar to both Wagamama and Pho which I like but Tampopo also label vegan options right there on the menu.

As soon as I saw the menu I decided that I had to have the Vegetable Tempura. I see tempura on a lot of menus but it's never usually vegan so I was pretty excited.

This was delicious, I really loved the shiitake mushrooms & the broccoli and the batter was perfectly light and crisp. It came with a side of plum sauce which went perfectly with the crispy fried vegetables.

To stick with the Japanese theme I went with the Yaki Udon for my main course.

This tasty dish is described on the menu as 'Chunky udon noodles with leek & red pepper, wok fried in soy & rice wine', I was pretty surprised when the dish arrived and also contained mange tout, mushrooms, bean sprouts and shredded nori. For me these were definitely pleasant surprises & it was even better than I'd expected.

Other dishes I spotted that sounded pretty great were the Vietnamese Com Hué, Korean Chap Chae & Indonesian Tahu Goreng.

Tampopo have a pretty great vegan friendly dessert section which is quite surprising for a chain place.

I really don't like ricey creamy desserts or bananas though so I got the mango sorbet!

This was a great sorbet, full of real mango and no horrible ice crystals.

Another great surprise was vegan LUSH soap in the bathroom, I love touches like this, it's so much nicer than the usual nasty hand soap.

Tampopo have locations in Manchester, Leeds, Reading & Bristol and I would love it if they'd come to Brighton. Hopefully I'll be able to eat at Tampopo again soon, I've been wanting to go to Manchester for ages so perhaps I should hurry up & make that trip.

On my way to the station on Monday morning I decided that a burrito was clearly an amazing breakfast option so I stopped off at Mission Burrito. Mission Burrito are a sponsor of Bristol Veg Fest so I thought they'd have some vegan options & I wasn't wrong.

I chose a burrito with rice, black beans (the pinto beans contain meat), the vegetarian filling which consisted of sautéed mixed peppers and red onions, guacamole & salsa verde. The staff were super friendly and helpful when I explained that I was vegan and I really liked that they had all of the salsas on the counter with chips to dip so that you could test them.

I did take a picture of my burrito but burrito's always look terrible in photos so I'll just let you imagine! Mission Burrito have locations in Bristol, Bath, Oxford & Reading and are currently looking into places to open their next location, Brighton please!

One other place I stopped off at in Reading was a little cafe called Picnic, they do a great soya latte & it was super cosy inside. I'd never realised how vegan friendly Reading was & I'll definitely be heading back there soon.


  1. That tempura looks so good!
    And it's so lovely they have lush soap there!

  2. Thanks for the visit and including us in your post. Hope to see you in Brighton soon!

  3. Ha! I went to one of the Manchester Tampopos last night! It started here about 10 years ago, I didn't realise it had spread to so many cities! I always have the Yaki Udon but I branched out and tried the Tahu Goreng which was good too. The coconut black rice pudding is well worth a try from the dessert menu as well.

  4. What a fun day visiting! All of the food looks delicious! I just played Jenga for the first time over the holidays, that's so cool you can play while enjoying a coffee. :-)

  5. Looks like you had an awesome time!

    About 5 years ago I lived in Reading, and I remember the global cafe being a lovely place to eat. Great to hear about all the vegan options.

    I now work in Oxford, and looooove the Mission! Such amazing burittos!!!

  6. Good to know about Tampopo. Always walked past, might give it a go now - tempura makes me happy!

  7. Can't believe I didn't know how vegan friendly reading was!! Last few times I've been, we went to wetherspoons and that's it! haha.

  8. The tempura looks great! One of my favourite dishes!

  9. I used to live in Reading when I was studying full time - good to see it has some delish vegan options! Sadly I'm also coeliac (I know, I know, I'm pretty difficult to cater for) so tempura is probably off the cards, but I'll have to try some of these yummy dishes :D

    The Global is great! I'll have to try some of the new establishments like Tampopo and Mission... best thing is, I live full-time in Bristol, and they have branches there too.

    Cheers for the heads up on all the delish nosh <3


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