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A vegan on holiday - eating in Devon

I love holidays, you love holidays, everyone loves holidays. It's the law.

But if you're a vegetarian or a vegan, going on holiday to places you know aren't veggie friendly can fill you with culinary trepidation.

Living in London, I'm spoilt for vegan and vegan-friendly eateries and shops that sell animal-free food. But, packing my bag for a holiday in small town Devon, I wasn't entirely sure if a vegan glutton like me would be in for a treat or for a week of cooking at home.

The small town in question was Brixham, near Paignton - and I'm happy to report that it was way more vegan-friendly than I was expecting.

Brixham has its own veggie cafe, the Black Cat. It's a small place with a limited menu, and thanks to a black board outside with no mention of its vegetarianism, you'd be forgiven for blinking and missing it.

We stopped in for breakfast - a full English was in the offing for  both me and my boyfriend.  The brekkie isn't vegan by default, but the Black Cat's cook was happy to veganise it for me - the tomatoes and mushrooms were grilled rather than friend in butter, and instead of the veggie option of toast and butter, there was toast and marmalade for the vegan (the sweet element gave it a two course main-plus-pudding feel. Result!)

Sure, it wasn't anything you couldn't make at home - Linda McCartney sausages, hash browns from a packet - but the cafe was cheery, the service friendly, the coffee good, and the breakfast well cooked. And, more importantly, vegan - I don't often get a vegan brekkie in London, so it's pretty exciting to get an unexpected (and tasty!) one in Devon.

The other place that we checked out was another cafe called Lemon Heaven. While it does serve meat and fish, it also loudly and proudly announced both vegetarian and vegan dishes, and a menu labelled accordingly.

I chose cashew and sunflower seed nut roast, the other half went for butternut and lentil curry.

The nut roast was a bit on the stodgy side (even for me, a confirmed stodge lover) and a little bland, served with readymade potato wedges and undressed salad. It was given a bit of life by some horseradish, chutney and mustard, but the end result was fine, if uninspiring fare.

The curry meanwhile was a definite winner - lightly spiced and creamy with lentils. If I thought I could have pulled a switcheroo on the two plates and got away with it, I would have given it a go. As it was, a few cheeky forkfuls under the aggrieved eyes of my boyfriend were all I could manage.

The carb fest that was the nut roast left me too full for pudding, but it's worth mentioning there were two (count them, two!) vegan puddings on the menu - crumble and sticky toffee pudding. DUDE! If I thought I wouldn't have needed a stomach pump, I would have tried the latter, but the nut roast had done for me - what it lacked in zip, it made up for in bulk. Still, two vegan puddings (as well as a vegan flapjack) on the menu gets nothing but high fives from me.

Brixham - you rule! Thanks for giving this vegan a good feed and proving it's not just London that can do vegan food well!

The Black Cat Cafe
Beach Approach
01803 411 834

Lemon Heaven 
40 Middle Street
01803 858 444

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  1. Oh, I get it. We were on a road trip once and asked a hotel manager where we could eat some vegetarian food. He said, "You do know you're in Wyoming, don't you?" Yipes. Even the Chinese restaurant didn't have tofu. California, we're coming back! Glad you found some good eateries.


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