Firefly, Hereford review: Shoreditch is calling, it wants its vegan pub back

There are few words more guaranteed to gladden my heart than 'vegan junk food'. Imagine stumbling across a pub that sells only that in the middle of a grey day in Hereford? Happiness itself. 

Me and Mr Flicking the Vs had taken ourselves off from London to spend a weekend scrambling around the muddy countryside. Well, that's what he wanted to do. I wanted to spend the weekend reading books next to the fire. Happily a compromise was reached, and we did both. I nearly lost a welly in shin-high mud, as well as myself in the woods near where we were staying, but I spent a lot of quality time catching up with my reading, so all was well.

Before we pitched up at our accommodation, we arrived at Hereford station mid afternoon hungry and forlorn as clouds gathered above us. One quick Happy Cow search later, and we decided to go make friends with Firefly, an all-vegan pub in the centre of town. 

Firefly's menu extends to hotdogs, burgers, sandwiches and sides, and it all looks really fun - there's been some effort involved to take traditional vegan junk food staples and do something more interesting with them. 

Unfortunately (for me at least, not for most people) a lot of involves seitan. I do not like seitan. I do not like its texture or its smell, I do not like it ill or well. I do not like it on my plate, I do not like it on my dish, I do not like it, no more seitan please, I wish. You get the idea. I ordered a hotdog because there was no mention of seitan. Mr Flicking the Vs ordered a meatball sub, because he doesn't have a seitanphobia. We even ordered some fries (seitan content: unknown) because we were that hungry.

Here's what arrived:

It's all rather beautiful, I reckon. Everything looks like it's been gloriously overstuffed with too much in the way of toppings (which is exactly the right amount of toppings, IMHO). My nacho dog (which was seitan, not tofu, based as I'd hoped. *wipes away a single tear*) came buried under a mountain of salsa, guac, nacho cheese, jalapenos, and crushed nachos. Some pomegranate seeds had wandered in from another cuisine, but weren't entirely unwelcome.

Mr Flicking the Vs' meatballs needed similar levels of archaeology, buried as they were beneath salad, and marinara and nacho cheese sauces. Again - that's a complement where I come from. The more food, the better.

If we'd have known that Firefly's chef was a touch on the generous side, we might have been tempted to forego the loaded fries. That would have been an error, as I think they were what I enjoyed most - a portion of crisp chips, entirely buried (you're sensing a theme here, I can tell) under chill, sour cream and jalapenos. As befits a pub, this is the sort of food that you crave after a couple of pints: hearty, messy, tasty, full of heat and flavour.

Because clearly Firefly decided to really make sure I was into love territory, rather than just a crush, it had a couple of desserts options from local vegan cake maker extraordinaire, Vic's Vegan Bakes. There were two options when we visited, a cheesecake and a banoffee pie, Mr FtVs suggested we share the latter, and given he has an amazing talent for always finding the best thing on any menu, I agreed.

The pie was nothing like the traditional arrangement you might expect, rather than the traditional damp creamy mess, this was more leaning towards cakehood. The Firefly version borrowed the creamy topping and bananas (of course!) from the typical banoffee pie, and crossbred it with a sponge, to make a lighter cakier offspring. Yep, it was good too.

With its great music, pleasing craft beer selection and hearty vegan junk food, Firefly looked like a pub that had escaped from one of East London's more hipster quarters and made its up way to Hereford. If it ever fancies making the return journey, I'll be there to welcome it with open arms.

16 King St
01432 358252


  1. Wow that is a loaded hotdog - I agree with you about seitan but can just about cope when it is buried in lots of good stuff. And your holiday sounds really lovely - esp as you escaped with both wellies!

  2. I used to love seitan, just about any way it was served. I made it, I bought it, I ordered it at restaurants. Now that I can't eat gluten without getting - never mind - I feel as you do when it's the vegan food of choice in a restaurant. Now I'd rather have tofu. Have you had the Beyond meat sausage? I haven't but I keep reading about how good it is.

  3. I feel for you Joey, I do like experimenting with vital wheat gluten and making seitan, but I am still squirmish about the texture, but my husband doesn't mind it so I do use it now and again. I do know what you mean, its dominating everywhere in the UK now and I think its too much. PS I wish you had written this review last Friday over a week ago, as we went to Ledbury and Ross on Wye last Saturday whcih are that that far from Hereford, and if I had known Firefly was there, I would have paid a visit - I will next time, the food does look good.

  4. Muddy walking plus fireside reading plus meals like this sounds like a perfect weekend!


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