Stanningley’s first ever plant-based cafe has opened – Alternatively Vegan is a completely meat-free eatery with an interesting backstory.
Alternatively Vegan is more than just a cafe, it’s the realisation of a life-long dream for owner Angi Haist and comes off the back of an incredibly tough two years. She nearly lost her son when he tried to hang himself in March 2017. He survived but was left with a hypoxic brain injury that requires extensive rehabilitation and care. It was a massive turning point in their lives and it encouraged Angi to make the most of every day.
“After nearly losing my son I decided to follow my dream,” Angi told us. “Life really is too short. I’d wanted a cafe for a long time and as a vegan myself I knew how difficult it was eating at places to make sure the options I chose were fully vegan. So I started thinking about opening a plant-based cafe. I left my job in November and opened the cafe in January.”
Angi has taken over a new unit in The Arches, a historic building in the heart of Stanningley. From the Yorkshire stone facade to the low beamed ceilings and rustic furniture, it’s full of character, which makes it a welcoming spot to grab a bite to eat. The menu is only small, but there’s plenty to tempt you in.
If you need a hearty start to the day, you can go for their Big Fat Breakfast, a heaving plate loaded with two sausages, two hash browns, scrambled vegan eggs, mushrooms, beans and tomatoes with a slice of toast. Need something lighter? There’s Balsamic Mushrooms on Toasted Sourdough, Peanut Butter on Toast and Smashed Avocado on Sourdough.
The menu changes at lunchtime when there are just three options. You can go for a Chilli Bowl, a mighty pile of sweet potato & mixed bean chilli, served with wholegrain rice, tortilla crisps, guacamole and sour cream. Or why not try the Buddha Bowl? It sees sweet potato and seasonal vegetables loaded onto mixed greens, salad, falafel, spicy chickpeas, hummus and pomegranate. Prefer a sarnie? Go for one of their Toasted Ciabatta Rolls – falafel, hummus and pomegranate gets our vote.
On Fridays and Saturdays, they stay open later with an evening menu of burgers and pizzas. The burgers change on a regular basis, but their favourite is the Pulled Jackfruit Burger, marinated in a homemade BBQ sauce using maple syrup, tomato purée, molasses and plenty of delicious spices.
They make their own pizza dough fresh in house and top it with their own blend of tomato sauce and vegan mozzarella. Each topping is inspired by a different part of the world. The Italian is a classic finished with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and a green pesto drizzle. Or you can try something more exotic, like The Oriental, which comes with crispy duck, chopped spring onions and drizzled in a hoisin sauce.
All of their produce is sourced locally – their baked products come from Leeds Bread Co-op, their fruit and veg is delivered by Sutcliffe’s and their dried goods are suppled by Suma. The same goes for their drinks offering. You can get a cracking brew here, whether you fancy a Leodis coffee or a Tea Pigs cuppa. And if you want soft drinks, they have a range of Fentiman’s fancy bottles of pop.
Alternatively Vegan is living proof that good things can come out of the bad. So head to Stanningley, tuck into tasty vegan eats and give Angi’s independent dream a helping hand – god knows she deserves it.
Alternatively Vegan, 118 Richardshaw Lane, Pudsey, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 6BN. It’s open 10am to 5pm Wednesday to Thursday, 10am to 10pm Friday and Saturday and 10am to 2pm Sunday.