We had a kid free Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning the weekend just gone, so I finally got a chance to take Ben to Vinnie’s Eatery in Cheltenham. I’d been once before last summer with a friend when attending the very first Cheltenham Vegan Fair and had been desperate to return! I follow a mainly wholefood plant based diet and have done for a while. I went meat-free years ago, last year cut out many added sugars, cut out dairy gradually last year and finally in December and I stopped eating eggs a couple of weeks ago (though we have garden chickens so these were the only eggs I was eating and I’ve not 100% made my mind up if I’ll totally stop these).
The only animal product I currently eat is a small amount of honey and we are looking into local bee farmers/garden bee holders to get this from. I may even stop the honey as the thought of it does gross me out a little – bees regurgitating the pollen repeatedly, mixed with their saliva. Even typing it doesn’t make me want to eat it! Large honey producers are also not kind to their bees with some clipping the wings of the queen bee so she can’t ever leave. Plus the bees need the honey to survive winter and protect against illness, yet we take the honey and some farmers replace only with sugar water which doesn’t give them protection from illness; another reason why we may have a bee crisis right now. So on that basis I’m trying to find some kinder honey or won’t eat it at all. There are lots of lovely plant based syrups to choose from instead and I’m actually trying to reduce nearly all added sugars now, not just refined sugar.
Read why here: The problem with refined sugar
Anyway, waffle over as I could go on about my dietary choices for ages and the reasons behind them!
Back to Vinnie’s Eatery.
The first time I went to Vinnie’s Eatery I was obviously impressed, hence why I wanted to share it with Ben. Back then he was still eating meat and dairy on a regular basis, but I’m proud to say he decided to do a sort of Veganuary this year by cutting out meat and dairy and he’s continued! He’s had a couple of bits of fish, but for someone who used to eat it daily and say he’d never give it up, that’s amazing. It definitely helps if we’re on the same page and we can encourage the kids to eat healthier too. So I knew now was the perfect time for Ben to really appreciate Vinnie’s with his new diet. Before this he probably wouldn’t have been as impressed as I was!
I originally went to Vinnie’s with my friend Liza and back then it was all vegan plant based food. We had a Mexican dish and it was delicious. We both enjoyed it along with a delicious green juice. Times have changed since last summer and they are now serving some cheese and meat dishes which is slightly disappointing to see. Perhaps they felt like they had to compete and open up to a wider audience. Their ethos is still plant based food, however, and there is a great selection of vegan wholefood dishes to choose from.
Price points for the evening are fine, but we went for brunch and spent £40 on two vegan breakfast stacks, a smoothie each and a slice of vegan cheesecake afterwards (yep, refined sugar free!). So for a breakfast it’s a special treat once in a while sort of price. But obviously you don’t need to have the smoothie or cheesecake which would half the price if your budget is lower.
But let me tell you, it was delicious and absolutely worth trying the cheesecake!
This sort of food is right up my street anyway so it’s certainly easier to satisfy my taste buds in a place like this, but Ben was also in agreement, enjoying his smoothie and stack just as much as I did. The cheesecake was incredible. It is made with cashew nuts, dates, coconut cream and maple syrup from what I can remember when I asked. I knew they didn’t like to use refined sugar from my first visit when I questioned it, so knew the tempting cheesecakes on the counter must be safe for me to try! They were! I was so pleased to have a dessert. It’s been probably a year and a half or more since I had a slice of cake or a pudding in a restaurant. I just need someone to make me an entire cake of this for my birthday please and stuff full of dried fruit so I get some of my 5 a day!
I love the eatery itself too. It’s in the basement, but feels light and airy with large windows and fresh cream walls. There are hanging plants dotted all over the place which is my kind of style. It’s quirky, modern and oozes natural healthy living. I wouldn’t usually talk about the toilets in a review, but I commented on them to Ben so feel they’re worth a mention. They are probably the nicest smelling and cleanest toilets I’ve ever seen in a restaurant. Usually it seems toilets are overlooked and forgotten about in restaurants, but these were absolutely spotless. I love that you can use a white flannel to dry your hands and pop it into the below basket to be washed and reused. They’ve covered all bases and have stuck with an eco-conscious theme through to the bathroom as well as a £1 deposit if you takeout the juice. I didn’t ask, but hopefully this means you can return the bottle for your pound back or to reuse on your next visit. I’ll ask next visit.
We’ll definitely return for brunch another kid free day and I want to book a babysitter soon to try the vegan evening menu. There’s a selection of pastas with creamy cashew sauce and veg or a vegan pizza with cashew cheese which sounds delish.
I really hope this is the start of a new trend of wholefood plant based restaurants local to me as it will make dining out so much more of a pleasure and less of a chore for us!