National Vegetarian Week – Roots Cafe, South Shields
Open between 10am and 3pm Mon-Fri, Roots Cafe is located just outside the town centre on Westoe Road. Not being overly familiar with the area I had to rely on the sat nav to get me there. In an area with a KFC drive-thru a stones throw away, it’s not somewhere you’d expect to find an eatery dedicated to providing meat-free dishes like this. Having reviewed Super Natural, Painted Elephant, Bojangles and Sky Apple, I’m no stranger to this concept. I was intrigued by what others thought of this new cafe in Shields and its philosophy.
Reading their Facebook page, it seems the initial craziness after opening has died down and they now have a steady flow of customers through the day. As it is a small cafe, I listened to the conversations of the other diners – a table of ‘ladies what lunch’. The group was a mix of vegetarians and those who wanted to eat more consciously, and it was interesting to hear their thoughts on the food while they ate. They were extremely positive, which boded well for my lunch.
The menu features quite a few vegan options, which I decided to try out in Mr. Canny’s absence. I’m sure he’d love their Veggie Burger, which is topped with vegan mayo. They really have thought of everything. I ordered Suppli – a tomato rice ball served like a fish cake. It was good, and at £3 was fantastic value for money. I also tried their Skinny Pizza, which I chose to have topped with spinach and onions. There is the option to have ‘normal’ cheese, but I asked for the vegan kind. Again, this was just £3.
The pizza on its own would be a great lunch, but I was particularly hungry so had the two dishes together. The chef could be seen creating the pizzas in the kitchen, proving that everything is handmade using fresh ingredients as opposed to processed and pre-prepared elements. I was very impressed, especially at the price.
I’d read about ‘Notella’ cupcakes (£1) and cookies on the Facebook page, so was looking forward to giving it a try. They weren’t pretty, but they were very tasty. The chef has created his own dairy-free chocolate spread, which is so much better than some of the versions we have tried since Mr. Canny became vegan. He should jar it 🙂 Unfortunately they had sold out by the time I had tried mine, so couldn’t buy extras to take home. The Teen in particular was upset not to get treats.
My only disappointment with the cafe stems from its opening times/days, which are restrictive if you work through the week. There would have been an earlier review from the Canny Food family had Roots been open on a weekend, and was told there’s a tentative plan to open on an evening once or twice a week. I appreciate it’s difficult opening all the time, but there are no offices around to benefit from a weekday lunch trip. It’s also not a town centre location to pull people in naturally. Painted Elephant have recently expanded their opening hours beyond evenings to capitalise on the growing popularity of the plant-based diet, so it’s clearly lucrative to do so. We’ll see what transpires, and I have my fingers and toes crossed its a success.
Thanks for reading,