Your Friday chippy will never be the same again because the city’s first completely vegetarian fish and chip shop is now open.
A proper chippy dinner isn’t something veggies can usually partake in, unless, that is, you visit JJ’s Vish and Chips. It’s the city’s first completely vegetarian chippy and you’ll find it on Kirkstall Road. Owner Jess Jones has created a menu of chip shop classics, all made without meat or fish and served with your favourite vegan-friendly chips and sauces.
The idea was borne out of sheer frustration. Jones is a vegetarian who follows a largely plant-based diet. She couldn’t find a chippy that made veggie-friendly chips because most of them use animal fat. But Jones works in the hospitality industry, so she knows how far vegan food has come in the past few years, and she wasn’t willing to settle, so she did her research, created her own innovative recipes and opened the first veggie chip shop in Leeds.
She found the perfect venue in the former Great Yorkshireman chippy on Kirkstall Road. It was a fixer-upper, but she rolled up her sleeves and transformed it into a modern takeaway. Think green walls, oodles of plants and a statement mural by local artist Ryan Lewis. Outside, their colourful yard is filled with flowers and mismatched seating, so you can enjoy your chippy in the summer (or even autumn) sun.
So what will you order? When it comes to their vegan fish and chips, you have two options, and they’re both pretty darn tempting. You can go for ‘vish’, a deep-fried banana blossom with a slightly flaky texture similar to jackfruit, which is mixed with plant-based flavours like seaweed. Or why not try the ‘tofish’? It’s deep-fried soya bean infused with those same flavours and wrapped in a sheet of nori. They’re both coated in crispy, golden batter, just like the real thing, and served with fluffy chip-shop chips that are 100% vegan.
Don’t fancy fake fish? No problem, Jess has replicated nearly everything on your average chippy’s menu. You can get Scam-pi (deep-fried vegan prawns), Spvam Fritters (without any actual Spam) and vegan Sosage (battered or fried). There’s your cheesy chips too, and they even do a vegan version. And if deep fried cheese is your idea of heaven, they have battered halloumi and chips.
Want sauce? No problem. They have meat-free gravy, chip-shop curry and two types of mushy peas, minted or plain. You can add classic chip shop sides too – potato scallops, pickles and pea fritters are all up for grabs, along with chip butties made with Bondgate Bakery bread. And if you’ve got space for dessert, you can treat yourself to banana fritters smothered in a sweet caramel sauce and battered Oreos covered in chocolate fudge sauce.
It’s only been open a few weeks, but JJ’s Vish and Chips is already so popular that they’ve been known to completely sell out of food. So don’t hang about, get down there and see what all the fuss is about, your chippy tea will never be the same again.
JJ’s Vish and Chips, 402a Kirkstall Road, Kirkstall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2QD.Cover image credit: Bokehgo