An hour away from Newcastle by train is the beautiful city of York, somewhere we’d been meaning to visit for a while. Discovering that the city had a fair few vegan-friendly options sealed the deal for us so we popped down on a quiet Sunday to sample what was on offer. York may be small in comparison to other cities, but it has plenty to offer on the eating front.
We’d recommend taking a trip to the top of York Minster while you’re there. Even a scaredy cat like me managed to walk up the winding tower of 275 steps to enjoy the beautiful views from this unique vantage point. Admission also gives you a years’ pass for the cathedral, which is great if you intend to visit again in the not too distant future.
Food is always the big draw for Canny Food, but we thought we’d share a few of our photos (taken on an iPhone 6s) so you can appreciate how spectacular it was. I’d definitely worked up an appetite once we’d reached the top!
Goji Cafe, 36 Goodramgate
One of the reasons I was personally keen to visit York was hearing that Goji, one of York’s vegetarian cafes, served up a Sunday Roast (£9.95) complete with vegan Yorkshire puddings. It wasn’t apparent that this was on offer until we saw the specials on a board, and feel this is something that should be shouted about!
Of course, I had to see how they compared to our own version (see recipe here). You can’t reserve a table and it tends to get quite busy, but we only waited about 15 minutes during peak lunch service to park our bottoms and wait to be fed.
Other dishes were available on the standard menu, but we felt we had to give it a whirl as so few places serve up a Sunday lunch with Yorkie puds. Unfortunately they were a little disappointing, as you can see from the photos, but it was still good to have them included. The texture was more like a cake than a traditional crispy pudding.
We’d have loved more gravy – yes, we’re very Northern – but didn’t think to ask on account of how busy they were. The ‘black pudding’ was also more like stuffing in taste, although that’s not a bad thing.
Goji had a selection of cakes available, including vegan options, but we decided to give it a miss on account of our dinner plans at El Piano. Once I’d started to walk up the Minster I was pleased not to be carrying the extra bulk, it has to be said! Well worth a visit if you’re in the vicinity.
El Piano, 15-17 Grape Lane
Where to start with El Piano! I think we have to say upfront that its probably not our cup of tea. We’d read reviews and seen people rave about this bohemian institution, housed in a medieval building with a quirky take on interior design. Our own experience certainly wasn’t as warm or as faultless as others.
With a menu that’s wholly vegan and gluten-free isn’t the easiest sell, especially for those who aren’t coeliac. The bun on the Bob’s Best Burger was not for me as it was almost spongy. The burger patty fell to pieces as soon as I picked it up and was bland in flavour.
Pip opted for the Taster Plate, which featured every type of salad imaginable. It was topped with fresh falafel and sweet potato pate, which were the highlights of the dish for her. We’re not adverse to salad, there just seemed to be a lot of it to plough through.
If you’re a fan of whole foods then you will likely love this restaurant. Before we have this levelled in our direction, we don’t feel every meal needs a substitute product. We both agreed the dishes we ordered lacked flavour and would possibly turn some away from the idea of veganism. We know how good meat-free food can be, and on our visit El Piano failed to deliver on its award-winning promise. Would we return? If we did it would be for coffee and cake rather than a full meal.
Thanks for reading,