Every so often I meet with a cycling pal, Linda for a bite to eat and a good old natter. It seems whenever I choose the vegan option (in a non-vegan establishment) she takes one look at it and gets food envy. A lot of the time my meal looks much prettier and more appealing. The dish has perhaps been thought through a little more, giving it lots of colours, ingredients and flavour, (not just thrown together), especially if the restaurant/cafe is vegan only. So the last couple of times we’ve met up we’ve visited vegan eateries. Neither of us are vegan and you don’t have to be to enjoy the food, even my husband has it now and again. Recently I was in a cafe and a customer asked if any of the vegan carrot & walnut cake was left. “No” the owner replied, “all the non-vegans keep eating it”. I had to look away, feeling rather guilty.
We met in Chichester for lunch at BBVegan, a plant-based kitchen inside Draper’s Yard. Within the yard are several ‘sheds’ containing small independent retailers. The sheds can be rented by the day, week or month. Some of the business are permanent, some pop-up now and again, so it’s ever changing.
This is such a good idea, especially with the prices of rent on the High Street – which sadly now seems to be dying. We’re already seeing a huge impact in Portsmouth as we’ve almost lost our town centre completely with M&S and other well-known shops closing. Now poor Southsea is going the same way losing Knight & Lee and Debenhams.
It’s lovely to see a little enterprise like this not TOO far away and easily reachable by bicycle.
Anyway, back to BBVegan which was already on ‘my list’ (of course it was), I just hadn’t had a chance to get there yet.
There’s not a lot of seating inside the little eatery but they do have a lean-to with plastic sheeting overhead. There’s also a couple of tables on the outside, which is where we chose to sit seeing as the sun was shining and the yard appears to be a little sun trap.
We went in to look at the menu, there’s also a ‘specials’ board too, all of which are available to take-away. They have smoothies, I’m not sure if it’s just one special a day or if there’s a list from which you could choose from. I only knew they did smoothies because I saw fruit beside a blender (I’d make a good detective). ‘Tropical’ is what the smoothie was called and it was really very tasty indeed. A frozen blend of summer fruits, maple syrup, coconut milk, oat milk, topped with super seed crumble and fresh fruit served in a kiln jar with a paper straw. It was delicious.
I decided to have the special ‘sunshine’ salad. Linda went for the Moroccan bowl.
My salad contained baby leaf, summer veg, ‘feta’, buckwheat, avocado, purple slaw, seeds and a fruity salsa. It was all very fresh and I enjoyed it very much. My only criticism would be that I would have liked a little more fruit salsa. It was cut so small I really couldn’t taste any (although admittedly in this photo it does look like there’s a fair amount).
Linda’s Moroccan bowl was very nice too and she enjoyed it. Baby leaf, purple slaw, buckwheat, black rice, caramelised veggies, tofu, BBV crumble, cumin, chutney, coconut yoghurt topped with spring onion and soft apricots. Wow, I didn’t realise those were the ingredients until now, I’ll have that next time, I think.
Both salads were fresh, colourful and well presented.
The service was very good and friendly from both the owner and her mother.
We finished our meals with a cafetière of coffee and shared two cakes. Dragonfruit & rose cream and chocolate ganache.
At first I thought I’d made a mistake ordering the dragonfruit & rose cake as rose can sometimes be a bit overpowering but after the initial bite it seemed to get better and better.
The chocolate ganache was also very good. Both cakes were smooth and creamy, a lovely texture. I find it hard to choose which one I favoured to be honest. The coffee was good too.
Yes, yes, of course I took some cake home with me. I couldn’t resist. I bought the raw Snickers topped with Montezuma’s chocolate (local and dairy free). One for me, one for Geoff. They tasted amazing!
I had a very quick look around Draper’s Yard (I was pushed for time) and bought a few scoops of cinnamon and chia seeds, in paper bags from Refilled and put them into my own jars when I got home. You can take your own jar or bottle to fill with shampoo, fabric conditioner, washing liquid, beans, pulses, herbs and spices, pasta etc., I think we may have something similar coming to Portsmouth soon, Package Free Larder (fingers crossed) and vegan Wild Thyme Wholefoods in Southsea certainly sell all of the above and more.
Newly opened Outside-In Food Court, which is in a warehouse in Portsmouth, has several ever-changing eateries, some permanent (Southsea Deli),so that’s one step to helping small businesses. I for one prefer to go shopping rather than trawl the internet for hours. A good excuse to stop off at a nice cafe for coffee and cake.
Ambience – 7
Quality – 8
Value – 8
Service – 8
Return? yes, most certainly
Living life, loving vegan food