It’s so encouraging to see the plant-based trend continue with full force as we’re well into the swing of January – sorry, Veganuary. Whether you’re vegan or not, anyone reducing meat consumption is helping the environment and animal welfare and it’s great to see such a positive movement being reflected in menus in restaurants – and even fully dedicated eateries, like the recently opened Vertigo on Manchester’s bustling Cross Street.
Serving up an entirely vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, the 25-cover restaurant caters for deliveries as well as eat-in meals, with dishes ranging from smoothies to sandwiches, stews to salads, to satisfy all tastes and dietary requirements. I couldn’t wait to try this place out after seeing a lot of sneak peeks on Instagram in the run up to the opening at the beginning of the month.
Walking into the fresh but cosy space, the natural tones, walls covered with green plants and copper pendant shades hanging down made it feel very Instagrammable indeed. Although only small it still felt spacious and being sat at the window (great for lighting!) it was enjoyable to watch the world go by and catch up with my friend Chyaz over a brew. With an extensive hot and cold drink menu it was nice to have so much choice; I went for a rooibus tea while Chyaz opted for a vitamin C hit with an orange juice.
A simple but tempting menu with affordable prices is exactly what these guys get right – yep, they have toasties, sandwiches and wraps but also a burger, warming bowls and small sides – all interesting while still being totally free from animal products.
The Persian Stew with slow-cooked aubergines, wholegrain rice, yogurt, shiraz, salad and sumac kale crisps had my name on it (although I could have gone for any of the other three bowls, they all sounded amazing) on a chilly winter day. And boy, was it just what I needed, a generous bowl full of goodness and wonderful aromas to really warm my body up inside. Chunky aubergine pieces smothered in tantalising Persian flavours, coupled with the cooling yogurt, nutty rice and crunchy kale worked a treat – I’d maybe swap the salad for some spinach leaves to mix in but it left me feeling full and satisfied, food for the soul.
Chyaz was keen to see how the 1/4lb Cheezeburger would fare, made up of a soy patty, pretzel bun, thousand island sauce and a side of sweet potatoes and veggies. She said it was honestly the best vegan burger she has tried, which is a bold statement considering the already-high standard she’s had in the past elsewhere – bravo Vertigo! I’m not really a burger person, veggie or not, but it did look good. There’s nothing Chyaz would change – it wasn’t greasy or too stodgy, nor skimpy or small – just the right balance of enjoyment without feeling too sluggish afterwards.
With a forever changing fresh dessert, cake and pastry counter, plus local coffee and beers, Vertigo certainly has a promising future which I think (hope) will appeal to everyone, not just vegans or veggies. It’s the sort of place you can catch up with friends over breakfast or brunch on a weekend, nip in to grab something for lunch midweek, or enjoy a meal out with your other half – a cute, friendly place with a great position being right next to the Royal Exchange Theatre. I’ll definitely be back soon to try more from the menu – thanks for having us, Vertigo!
Vertigo is open from 7am-9pm on weekdays, 9am-9pm on a weekend.