Last weekend, I was all geared up for a three day trip to Belgium. Sadly, after the terrible attacks in Paris at the end of November and subsequent arrests, Brussels went on lock down! The metro was stopped, the markets shut down and all universities and schools closed. Although it did improve towards the end of the week (when we would have been there), we had to make a decision a week before we travelled in order to get a refund on our Air BnB accommodation. We made the decision to reschedule for May, which Eurostar luckily let us do free of charge!
Vegan Lunch in Canterbury: A Review of The Veg Box Cafe
So, my weekend in Brussels turned into a weekend in Canterbury with my family. Although gutted I wouldn’t be trying the all you can eat vegan buffet in Ghent any time soon, I set out to have a vegan lunch nonetheless! My search brought me to The Veg Box Cafe, situated above the Canterbury Wholefoods shop on Jewry Lane. This small veggie and vegan restaurant is kitted out with wooden benches, rustic tables and chairs. There’s even a couple of sofas for those that just want to kick back with a coffee made from locally roasted beans and a gooey vegan chocolate cupcake!
We went for an early lunch, but the place soon filled up – it’s clearly popular. We settled in, grabbing a couple of the beautifully designed menus and made our choices; one ‘posh pot noodle’ and one bean burger with a side of the ‘Buddha bowl of the day’. Everything came out pretty quickly (but long enough to know the burger was cooked from scratch and not just shoved in a microwave).
Posh Pot Noodle (£4.50) – Glass bean noodles and sliced veg flavoured with delicate shiro miso paste (vegan & gluten free).
My mum went for this option as she fancied something warming, and is gluten intolerant – not that this was her only gluten free option. The noodles and vegetables were cooked well, still with a bit of crunch which we prefer. However, it did lack a bit of… oomph, shall we say. The noodles came with a side of chilli and soy sauce to flavour the noodles as you wished, but it still wasn’t quite enough. It was pleasant, just a little bland. We also ordered a side of cornbread (pictured). I’ve never tried cornbread before, so can’t really comment on this, but we both thought it was a little crumbly. It felt (and smelt!) much more like a slice of sponge cake! Strange….
Homemade bean burger (£9) – topped with homemade chilli jam & alfalfa sprouts. Served with our delicious salad and either potato wedges or ‘Buddha bowl of the day’.
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum, my burger and Buddha bowl could not have been further away from the somewhat disappointing noodles. It was fab! The burger was a good size and held together well. It had loads of flavour and the accompanying seed-sprinkled side salad and Buddha bowl were tasty beyond belief. The bowl of the day was roasted squash, burnt orange, black olive and cashew nut quinoa – what an incredible combination! So much so, that I’ve actually attempted to recreate the dish since being back at home.. although sadly mine wasn’t quite as delicious.
I cooked one portion of quinoa with the juice of half a fresh orange and some veg stock, added some walnuts, roasted onions, oranges and garlic and some chopped, sauteed onions in a little vegan butter. Not bad, but a work in progress!
Overall, we had a lovely lunch – the coffees were great too. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a vegan lunch in Canterbury. There was also a big chalkboard advertising vegan cakes, but I was sadly too full to squeeze one in! I’m sure I’ll be back 🙂