36 vegan hours in Glasgow

mono-glasgowIt’s been over ten years since I left Glasgow (eek!) – the city I see as my second home. Despite growing up in Edinburgh I feel a greater infinity with this vibrant, friendly city than my hometown. Given that it is also one of the top spots in the UK for vegan food it only makes sense that I rejoice every time I’m there.

There’s been a lot of noise lately about vegan options in Glasgow including this recent BuzzFeed post. When vegan pal Tsouni (@yesitsallvegan) recently went to Glasgow I sent her a huge list of recommendations but realised so many new places have opened since I had left and I should start to rectify this on my next trip.

On this visit I had just over 36 hours to rattle round my former home. Alongside seeing all my Glasgow besties I managed to check out several new-to-me places as well as revisiting my old fave, Mono.

MONO, 12 Kings Court, Glasgow, G1 5RB

I first fell in love with Mono during my student years of Saturdays touring around Glasgow’s record shops – of which Mono doubles up as one. Despite being veggie since the age of 8 I didn’t have much of a concept of veganism beyond the stereotypical image of angry people who ate a lot of lentils. Mono changed that. The menu introduced me to food like soya vegan burgers topped with mountains of vegan cheese, fried onions and hummus. It is where I had my first experience of tofu cheesecake and where I learnt that not all beers and ciders are vegan-friendly. Plus I realised that most vegans just really like nice cardigans and board games. In Glasgow anyway.

So when I was back in Mono this weekend I was super happy – not only was I with my best mates but I hadn’t been since prior to turning vegan two years ago. The menu was even more interesting than I remembered thanks to vegan head chef Vic Henderson who creates dishes that appeal to everyone – not just vegans.

As any vegan will understand being presented with an entire menu you can eat causes a challenge. I was drawn to the pizza crunch (deep-fried battered pizza, just cause) – something I’d not had since a child, let alone since being vegan. It was a no-brainer. Being curious (ok, greedy) I also got the artichoke fritters. Us Scots do love to deep-fry shit and this was a rather random ingredient to batter but it worked so well. Even my diehard meat-loving, food snob pal Iain was impressed 😉 Other choices include a seitan burger, tofu banh mi, buffalo cauliflower pizza, macaroni cheese, hot dog, rainbow salad and a Sunday roast. I could spend a whole week just in Mono.

Desserts were had all-round apart from me who chose a Bloody Mary over a cake as I was double greased out. And not working Monday. That didn’t stop me having a wee mouthful of the chocolate and avocado cheesecake, the coconut sponge with ice cream and the apple pie. All top notch!

I could wax lyrical about Mono until the happy cows come home. But I reckon you get my vibes on it so I’ll move on.

RANJIT’S KITCHEN, 607 Pollokshaws Rd, Glasgow G41 2QG

I arrived in Glasgow late on Saturday night so when Kim suggested we pick up some food from the Kitchen on the way home I couldn’t have thought of a better idea.

Family-run Ranjit’s serves up the most authentic, flavoursome Indian food that I have ever had in Glasgow. Proper home-cooking that reminds me of my dad or his family back in India. Everything is vegetarian and for the most part vegan apart from the paneer dishes and some desserts. Just let them know and they’ll ensure no dairy is used in your food.

I went for the daal of the day which was kala chana (black chickpeas). The idea of having leftovers quickly went out the window as soon as I tasted it – the whole tub was instantly devoured. Mopped up with a roti and accompanied by the special mixed vegetable pakora with chutney I was in home-comforts heaven.

The menu is almost ludicrously cheap but it is testament to Ranjit and her family that their priority is providing delicious, authentic food at affordable prices so that more people can enjoy it. It is no wonder it is gaining a reputation as one of Glasgow’s and Scotland’s top eateries.

ROSE AND GRANTS, 27 Trongate, Glasgow, G1 5EZ

As soon as I heard about the vegan square sausage at Rose and Grants I knew it would be my number one pit stop on my next visit. This city centre omni café started off life in the posh West End and has since taken notice of the commitment of vegan customers and developed a vegan-specific menu. For breakfast and brunch you can choose from various filled rolls, the vegan breakfast, French toast and Cool Jerk vegan pies. Lunch offering include salads, sandwiches, soup, daal and Indonesian nasi goreng – one of my dad’s favourite dishes to cook.

I managed to resist the full breakfast as I was tactically eating smaller meals so I could try out more places in my last five hours in Glasgow. I’m a pro at this eating malarky. I opted for the vegan special roll: square sausage, garlic mushrooms and Sriracha mayo and added a tattie scone cause it would be absolutely rude not to. I had never tasted a meat square sausage but I absolutely LOVED the vegan version. A bit like a Linda McCartney one but more juicy. The mushrooms, tattie scone and mayo all perfectly complemented each other. I could have easily wolfed down two – if I didn’t have a vegan mission to attend to.

I also picked up an almond croissant for the next day’s breakfast and a seed and nut cake bar – initially for Tristan but I reckon we’ll share it!

GORDON STREET COFFEE, Glasgow Central Station, 79 Gordon St, Glasgow, G1 3SQ

I met friends for a coffee in Gordon St Coffee by Central Station as I knew they did vegan treats. They stock Vegan Burd chocolate bars but much to my dismay they were all sold out. As was Quality Vitamins & Herbs. I’ll just have to get them via Etsy!

Gordon St Coffee also stocks donuts by Big Bear Bakery and empire biscuits. They were also out of donuts and when I went in a second time I didn’t really fancy the biscuit as I’d already picked up enough other treats elsewhere. Clearly I now wish I had more cake.

RIVERHILL COFFEE BAR, 24 Gordon St, Glasgow, G1 3PU

A little further along Gordon St is Riverhill which also has vegan cakes plus a few savoury options including soup and sandwiches. I picked up maybe the best chocolate brownie I have EVER had. Vegan or not vegan. Perfectly soft and moist with a bit of a crunch on top and a swirl of tahini (whoever thought of that is a genius) I didn’t want it to ever end. I’m quite glad I don’t live nearby otherwise I would have serious issues.

THE FLYING DUCK, 142 Renfield St, Glasgow, G2 3AU

Owned by the same dude that’s behind other vegan haunts Mono, Stereo and The 78, The Flying Duck does more of the same – generous, good value, imaginative vegan grub that will challenge anyone to say the being vegan is boring or just all about leaves. The menu is quite overwhelming with choices including various ramen, burgers, dogs, subs plus smaller plates of jackfruit tacos and even macaroni burritos (double carbs is a food commandment in Scotland). I still can’t get over the £2 side portion of macaroni cheese that is probably the same size as what you get at Temple of Hackney in London but at less than half the price. I was intrigued by the Buckfast BBQ jackfruit tacos as something a bit different. I was a bit disappointed that they came in hard-shelled tacos, not the light fluffy ones that Club Mexicana fans will know and love and I can’t say that I tasted any Buckfast. Maybe I have too high a threshold!

PICNIC, 103 Ingram St, Glasgow G1, 1DX

Despite following them on Instagram and having done my research in advance I was still taken aback when the lovely lady in Picnic announced that everything was vegan. I had been confused by the menu of pesto, cheese and meats. I do actually really like when places don’t plaster the fact they’re vegan over the shop. They aren’t hiding it, but it makes people try things out with less judgement.

The selection includes pre-made sandwiches, salad, soup, curry and so many cakes. I opted for the Sgaia Mheat’s pastrami sandwich with cashew cream, sauerkraut, tomato and spinach as a good takeaway snack for my train ride home. Oh, and a coconut snowball for Tristan (hence why we’re sharing the seed bar from Rose and Grants).

TEMAKI, 113 Hope St, Glasgow G2 6LL

Just before getting my train back to London I had a last minute change of plan and decided to nip into nearby Temaki to get one of their sushi burritos for the train. I figured I could keep the Picnic sandwich for the next day and I really wanted something fresh and full of veg for dinner.  Four of their sushi burritos can be veganised – just ask for no mayo. The cucumber, which I had, plus the avocado, mushroom and sweet potato tempura. The latter was tempting but I’d already had my fair share of fried goods for the weekend. They also do ramen which I’d love to try next time I’m in town.

So given I had only a day and a half, I did pretty well getting round lots of Glasgow’s latest vegan options. But there’s always more to be had. I’ve just found out that vegan magazine Vegan Connections is hosting their first vegan festival in Glasgow in August. Sounds like an ideal combination for a vegan roadtrip. Who’s in?!

Where do you like to eat in Glasgow? Is there anything missing or that you would love to see more of?

If you’re looking for other tips check out my vegan eats in Edinburgh post, vegan food around the UK and other travel posts on my travel & reviews page.


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