During our week traveling around Scotland, we ate some really fantastic food in the country. A lot of traditional Scottish cuisine is very meat, game and dairy heavy, so I did struggle to find vegetarian options, let alone vegan options, in some of the more rural parts of Scotland. However the bigger cities, including Edinburgh and Glasgow, had some amazing plant based offerings. Here are my mini reviews of some of the places where we ate.
David Bann is a small, dimly lit vegetarian restaurant with a worldly nouvelle menu. It’s also one of the only formal eateries serving exclusively plant based dishes. There are options for both vegans and vegetarians, although I’d say about 50% of its menu is suitable for vegans. The food was hearty and packed with flavour. If you eat a plant based diet, or simply just enjoy eating vegetarian / vegan sometimes, then a trip to David Bann whilst in Edinburgh is a must. I had the best bread and humous on my life there – if you try it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
DINE Edinburgh has a beautiful restaurant space, with its nicely designed interior and gorgeous indoor tree centrepiece. Just as gorgeous is the presentation of its dishes. However, that’s about as far as my praise extends.
I opted for gnocchi (which came with all of 4-5 pieces) and Joe opted for a fish dish. Our consensus was that the portions were far too small, moreover lacklustre, to justify the price. In terms of flavour, I wouldn’t say it was anything more special than bistro food, just better presented.
I regret to be negative, but I get the impression that this restaurant is perhaps attempting to be something that it is not. As soon as we got back to our apartment, we cooked up a second dinner, as we were left underwhelmed and unsatisfied.
Grassroots Cafe is a 100% plant based eatery, which I was compelled to visit when I learned that it serves vegan doughnuts. Having not had a doughnut in about 2-3 years prior, I was very keen to try the vegan ones out. I can’t recommend Grassroots enough – the doughnuts were divine and we also had a ‘pulled pork’ jackfruit sandwich that was made fresh for us. The staff were very friendly and the food was very reasonably priced.
Herdersons has both a Vegan Restaurant and Shop & Deli. We headed over for a spot of brunch at its Deli, which is described as “original farm shop serving freshly grown organic produce from Janet Henderson’s East Lothian farm”. The first thing we noticed was now wonderfully vegan friendly it is. It’s one of those rare places that serves up a wide array of vegan pastries, including scones and cakes. We opted for some smashed avocado bagels, which were lovely. I’d highly recommend Hendersons and I’ll definitely be visiting again next time I’m in Edinburgh.
Rose and Grants serves up a full vegan Scottish breakfast, complete with tattie scones and square sausage. It’s great place to eat the vegan version of one of Scotland’s famous dishes. They source their ingredients from local vendors and the cafe has a casual, laid-back vibe to it.
I found out about the Ubiquitous Chip when I was flicking through some Scotland guidebooks. Known by the locals as ‘The Chip’, it has a wonderful airy feel, with natural light pouring in and foliage all around. Much to our delight, they serve vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties, which I was eager to try whilst in Scotland. I’d say that a trip to the Ubiquitous Chip is a must when in Glasgow.
Joe and I can never go too long without eating some Oriental food, as it’s our favourite. Serving Dim Sum and Oriental-fusion dishes, Opium is right up our street. It’s restaurant space is dimly lit and slick – it’s a perfect date night venue. They serve some delicious homemade tofu, which we adored as much as the clay pot mixed mushrooms that we had for main.
I thought I’d throw in a couple of decent cocktail recommendations for good measure. The Salon cocktail bar at the Blythswood Square Hotel is a smart and leisurely place to enjoy and tipple or two. The cocktail menu consists of inventive options and some classics. I would say The Salon is a highlight of Glasgow’s city centre nightlife.
I loved the atmosphere at the 158 Club Lounge – the deep forest green velvet booths, candlelit dark wood and marble interior all work together to create the perfect setting for cocktails. Also, we were chuffed when we found out that cocktails are just £5 from Sunday-Friday, which is a steal!
The Mono is an ultra casual vegan eatery with a real hipster vibe to it. There’s plenty to choose from on its menu, which is one of the things that I love about dedicated vegan restaurants, the variety. The smoked tofu banh mi was my favourite, as I’d never had one before, and was just as good as I’d hoped.